HC Deb 05 February 1973 vol 850 cc11-2
10. Mr. John

asked the Secretary of State for Wales what steps he proposes to take to encourage the dispersal to Wales of Government offices.

Mr. Peter Thomas

The needs of Wales are being fully considered in the context of the Government's current review of dispersal policy.

Mr. John

No doubt the Secretary of State appreciates that with the imminent submission of the Hardman Report the day of decision is at hand. Does he realise that Welsh school leavers lack not only jobs but variety of job opportunities? Does he appreciate that one way in which he will be judged is in terms of the number of office jobs he secures for Wales and that we shall expect him to pull his full weight in the Cabinet decision?

Mr. Thomas

The dispersal review is going ahead speedily under the direction of Sir Henry Hardman, and I assure the hon. Gentleman that the claims of Wales are being strongly pressed. I hope that several thousand jobs will be established in Wales in the next few years.

Sir A. Meyer

Is my right hon. and learned Friend aware that I have just led a delegation of clerks from the Flintshire area to see his colleague in the Civil Service Department to establish the peculiar needs and suitability of North Wales to cope with the dispersal of Government Departments?

Mr. Thomas

I know of the need, and, I appreciate that my hon. Friend takes a close interest in these matters. I am also aware of the discussions he has had with my hon. Friend.

Mr. Gwynoro Jones

Is the Secretary of State aware that the service sector of industry is the fastest growing employment sector in Wales and throughout the whole of Britain? Is he aware that the figures over the last two years show that the vast majority of new employment projects has gone to the South-East? Will the Government now recognise that they can create new service sector jobs in the Principality in the next few years possibly in the regional context of giving greater assistance to attract such jobs?

Mr. Thomas

I recognise that many areas in Wales have claims on dispersal. However, we must have regard to availability of labour for Civil Service work and the need to expand where sensible and practical to do so on the existing base of Civil Service employment.

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