§ 2. Mr. D. E. Thomas
asked the Secretary of State for Wales what is his estimate of the number of jobs required to replace employment lost as a result of proposed pit closures in Wales.
§ The Secretary of State for Wales (Mr. John Morris)
Of the two collieries in Wales subject to closure proposals, Brynlliw is to continue production pending a further review and Ogilvie is the subject of further representations now being considered by the National Coal Board. I cannot, therefore, at this stage anticipate the number of jobs that may be lost.
§ Mr. Thomas
Will the right hon. and learned Gentleman assure us that his Department will produce job predictions and the estimated shortfall in employment in Wales over the next 10 years? Will he also say whether he accepts the projection of a shortfall of 132,000 male jobs by Professor Graham Rees, of the research department of the Commission on the Constitution?
§ Mr. Morris
That is a very broad question. If the hon. Gentleman will put down specific Questions on it, I shall seek to deal with them. However, he will be relieved to know, as regards the coal industry, that there are 1,300 vacancies to be filled in the South Wales coalfield alone.
§ Mr. Kinnock
Will my right hon. and learned Friend take note that the news that a further review is to be conducted by the National Coal Board of Ogilvie colliery is received with some gratitude, that the necessity for maintaining the coal industry remains as it always was, and that it is contributed to by giving an assured future to the coal industry in general which in turn will attract men back into the industry and into it for the first time?
§ Mr. Morris
That must be right, and I am grateful for my hon. Friend's remarks. As he knows, I have been associated with my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Energy in the issues which have been raised. As regards the industry as a whole, however, the best indication of the future is the current investment plans, especially the £3 million which is to be spent in the main drift at Betws, the further investment at Cynheidre and that at Taff Merthyr and Point of Air. These are obviously of great importance to the coal industry of Wales.