HC Deb 21 June 1976 vol 913 cc1078-9
5. Mr. Gwynfor Evans

asked the Secretary of State for Wales when he intends next to pay an official visit to Carmarthen.

Mr. John Morris

I have no present plans to pay an official visit.

Mr. Evans

When the right hon. and learned Gentleman next goes to Carmarthen, will he consult the railway-men and the public, who are equally apprehensive about the future of the Swansea - Carmarthen - Fishguard line, where 500 jobs are at stake, and have in the backs of their minds what happened in the 1960s, when Southern Wales was the most prosperous region in the whole of the British railway network, as it got 84 per cent. of its income from freight, and yet there were terrible closures of lines in those years?

Mr. Morris

I am sure that the hon. Gentleman will make his own representations on this matter. He will recall, if he casts his mind back, that I, with my right hon. Friend, was the author of the policy to subsidise socially necessary railway lines. That was put in the Transport Act 1968. My recollection is that the hon. Gentleman opposed the whole of that legislation and voted against it.

Mr. Kinnock

If the hon. Member for Carmarthen (Mr. Evans) is so concerned about job losses, as indeed we all are, will my right hon. and learned Friend ascertain from him why he voted against the Government on the Aircraft and Shipbuilding Industries Bill? Is it the case that, as we have always suspected, Plaid Cymru is nothing more than a platoon in the Leader of the Opposition's regiment?

Mr. Morris

I am sure that the voting record of the hon. Member for Carmarthen (Mr. Evans) and his hon. Friends will be remembered in Broughton, in Flintshire. That will, I think, serve to remind aircraft workers in North Wales of their attitude.

Mr. Nicholas Edwards

Will the Secretary of State make a point of going to Carmarthen and seeing for himself the appalling consequences of a new road programme falling further behind and the inexcusable delay in repairing culverts on the road further west, and recognise that this is an emergency situation, demanding emergency action?

Mr. Kinnock

And emergency public expenditure.

Mr. Morris

The hon. Member for Pembroke (Mr. Edwards) should know the priority that I have given to expenditure on the M4 to improve communications to within 15 or 16 miles, or perhaps less, of Carmarthen. I paid an official visit to Carmarthen on 19th March. In addition, I regularly traverse that road every two or three weeks—perhaps more regularly than the hon. Gentleman.