HC Deb 24 November 1975 vol 901 cc462-3
5. Mr. Wigley

asked the Secretary of State for Wales what progress has been made in relation to the establishment of the Welsh Development Agency; and in how many projects the powers of the Welsh Development Agency Act 1975 are being actively used.

Mr. John Morris

I announced on 18th November that Sir David Davies and Mr. T. S. Roberts had been appointed Chairman-designate and Deputy Chairman-designate respectively of the Welsh Development Agency. I propose to lay before the House an Order naming 1st January 1976 as the appointed day on which the Agency will become operational.

Mr. Wigley

May I welcome the news that the Government are moving ahead with the Agency and offer congratulations to the chairman and vice-chairman? May I ask the Secretary of State to indicate that in the interim period to 1st January the powers under the Act are in fact vested in himself? Will he use those powers to alleviate the situation in Caernarvon, where the aero factory is now becoming empty because the company is closing down, a factory with many skills that could be used in the industrial structure in Wales and elsewhere?

Mr. Morris

I thank the hon. Gentleman for his congratulations. Of course, we have been very speedily off the mark in that Royal Assent was on 12th November and the appointments of the chairman and deputy chairman were announced on 18th November. In the meantime, of course, I operate under my existing powers.

Mr. Kinnock

Recalling earlier Questions that I put to my right hon. and learned Friend and indeed his ministerial colleagues, will my right hon. and learned Friend give an undertaking that, apart from Sir David Davies, who is of course a retired trade unionist, there will be people concerned with the Welsh Development Agency who will have current practical experience on the shop floor, of trade unions, trade union decision-making, and the attitude of workers to the development of this very welcome body?

Mr. Morris

I am sure that my hon. Friend will agree with me that Sir David Davies has a very deep and detailed knowledge of activities on the shop floor generally and is widely respected on that account. I shall certainly, having regard to the terms in the Act, take full account of the need for a body which is representative of the basic needs of Wales, including trade union activities.

Mr. Cledwyn Hughes

Will my right hon. and learned Friend also confirm that the various parts of Wales will be adequately represented on the Agency and that there will be an office in North Wales, so that North Wales will be brought fully into the advantages that will flow from the existence of the Agency?

Mr. Morris

That is always the jigsaw puzzle that I have to face—first, the disciplines and, secondly, the geography. My right hon. Friend will be aware, of course, that the deputy chairman hails from Ruabon in North Wales.

Mr. Hughes

He has been based in Cardiff for a very long time.

Mr. Morris

The fact that he has been based in Cardiff has naturally widened his experience considerably. I can assure my right hon. Friend that the Agency will have at the forefront of its mind the desirability of having a presence in every part of Wales that needs it.

Sir A. Meyer

Will the Secretary of State take this opportunity to make it quite plain, as it was made plain during the Committee stage of the Bill, that within the remit of the Agency projects in the tourist industry will equally qualify for support?

Mr. Morris

The tourist industry, of course, is the responsibility of the Wales Tourist Board. The hon. Member served on the Standing Committee dealing with the respective responsibilities of the two.

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