HC Deb 23 May 1977 vol 932 c995
7. Mr. Roy Hughes

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

Mr. John Morris

I have no immediate plans to do so.

Mr. Hughes

Will my right hon. and learned Friend direct his attention once again to the closure of the Westinghouse factory and the bus depot at Newport, and also, now, to another brainwave on the part of the management of the British Steel Corporation, to close the pipe mill at Llanwern? Is it not time for the Welsh Office to counteract these measures by urging development area status for Newport, bearing in mind that for a very long time other industrial centres in Wales have had relatively better unemployment figures?

Mr. Morris

I respect the advocacy of my hon. Friend, over a long time of development area status for Newport, but it is a matter for my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Industry. Obviously the closure of the pipe mill is a matter of great concern, but I understand that if the closure is confirmed every effort will be made by the BSC to find alternative jobs in the area and in other parts of the tubes division. Any closure hurts, and no one other than my hon. Friend is more concerned than I to ensure that new industry goes to the area.