HC Deb 23 February 1976 vol 906 c9
7. Mr. Roy Hughes

asked the Secretary of State for Wales if he will pay an official visit to Newport.

Mr. John Morris

I did so on 16th January and before that on 28th November last.

Mr. Hughes

Is my right hon. and learned Friend aware of the concern in Newport at the prejudice shown in favour of Cardiff, particularly in relation to the proposal for the dispersal of Ministry of Defence personnel and also in relation to development area status? Is it considered that only Cardiff has a problem or is the Welsh Office, like the Western Mail, experiencing difficulty in seeing over the top of Rhymney Hill?

Mr. Morris

Having been in Newport on three or four occasions during the past six or seven months, in company with my hon. Friend, I am aware, I hope, of many of the problems of Newport and Gwent as a whole. With regard to the dispersal of Ministry of Defence staff, this subject will be raised in the debate tonight and my hon. Friend's comments will be dealt with by my right hon. Friend.

Mr. Fred Evans

Will my right hon. and learned Friend and my hon. Friend the Member for Newport (Mr. Hughes) accept that as St. Mellons is only eight miles away from Newport, and the Rhymney Valley and other valleys adjacent to Cardiff are a little further, the dispersal of jobs to St. Mellons is just as likely—indeed, more likely—to benefit the people of the valley that I am talking about as it would if they were dispersed to Newport itself?

Mr. Morris

I recognise that my hon. Friends are very stout fighters for their constituencies. All I would say is that my anxiety is to get new jobs to whatever part of Wales we can get them. I would add that eight miles is perhaps an exaggeration of the distance between the two sites. It is four miles.