§ 6. Mr. Nicholas Edwards
asked the Secretary of State for Wales how many new jobs he estimates have been created in Wales since the passing of the Industry Act.
§ Mr. Peter Thomas
The information is not available in the form requested. I estimate that projects approved since March 1972, when regional development grants were introduced, and projects currently under consideration are likely to provide 27,000 jobs in manufacturing industries.
§ Mr. Edwards
With this clear evidence of the success of these policies, will my right hon. and learned Friend resist any pressures to cut down on Industry Act incentives and instead take full advantage of the new EEC regional fund, when it becomes available, to reinforce the success so far achieved?
§ Mr. Thomas
As my hon. Friend knows, the provisions in the Industry Act are to be made available until 1978. Industry had been looking forward to a continuation of this measure. I agree that we can hope to benefit from the EEC regional fund. As my hon. Friend knows, unemployment in Wales is now at a low level compared with earlier figures. The November figure is the lowest for any month since September 1966. Since March 1972 the number of unfilled vacancies has more than doubled and the current figure is the best total for 20 years.
§ Mr. Alec Jones
The right hon. and learned Gentleman talked about success. May I ask him how many jobs have been lost to Wales following the withdrawal by the Government of investment grants?
§ Mr. Thomas
If the hon. Gentleman will table a question on unemployment I shall be delighted to give him a straight answer, particularly at the present time.