HC Deb 12 November 1973 vol 864 cc12-3
9. Mr. Roy Hughes

asked the Secretary of State for Wales whether he has had any recent discussions with the British Transport Docks Board.

Mr. Peter Thomas

No, Sir.

Mr. Hughes

Does the right hon. and learned Gentleman appreciate that the South Wales ports have the best profit record of any group of ports in the British Isles over the past decade? Does he not feel that that constitutes a considerable argument in favour of a major port development at Uskmouth, particularly in view of the need to make the Spencer Works, with its iron ore handling facilities, fully integrated? Does he agree that the only thing that is standing in the way of such development is the political prejudice of the Government, as they were so anxious to authorise the development of the port at Bristol?

Mr. Thomas

I agree with what the hon. Gentleman says about the profitability of the South Wales ports. Any proposal for a major new port development in South Wales is primarily a matter for the British Transport Docks Board. The hon. Gentleman is totally wrong when he suggests that the only thing standing in the way of new development is Government prejudice. I believe that the hon. Gentleman has been in touch with the board and that it has explained fully its views to him in a letter from its chairman.

Mr. Gower

Will my right hon. and learned Friend treat this matter with some caution? I have met some people who have long experience of the South Wales docks. They have great doubts about the Uskmouth proposal and prefer Barry as a site for this sort of venture.

Mr. Thomas

The British Transport Docks Board is fully aware of the conflicting views which are held about this matter.

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