§ 12. Mr. Nicholas Edwards
asked the Secretary of State for Wales how many square feet of space in Government factories in Wales has been allocated this year; and how many square feet of space in Government factories in Wales is currently standing vacant.
§ Mr. John Morris
163,500 sq. ft. has been formally allocated, and we are currently seeking tenants for 695,000 sq. ft.
§ Mr. Edwards
Does the Secretary of State recall that on 23rd October he boasted that since coming into office he had approved over 900,000 sq. ft. of new factory space? Do not these figures indicate that only about a quarter of that amount has been built, that 700,000 sq. ft. of factory space is standing empty and that the rate of allocation is the lowest 472 for many years? Do not these facts give his recent boasts a hollow ring?
§ Mr Morris
No, they are not hollow at all, as the hon. Member should know. Of the accommodations for which we seek tenants nine are in an advanced state of negotiation, totalling 270,000 sq. ft. That is the on-going business of getting tenants, and we are in the middle of a recession as everybody else is. I firmly believe that our job now is to plan and prepare for the future and to announce and build advance factories, which will be needed in good time for new industry.
§ Mr. D. E. Thomas
What progress has been made in repossessing the empty Forgings and Fasteners advance factory in Blaenau Ffestiniog, which has been lying empty now for over two and a half years, and why has the process of repossession by the Department taken over five months?
§ Mr. Morris
I cannot give a detailed answer now, but I shall write to the hon. Member. He is aware that I am deeply concerned about getting a tenant for this factory, and I shall spare no effort to that end.