HC Deb 16 July 1979 vol 970 cc1012-3
13. Mr. Alan Williams

asked the Secretary of State for Wales if he will make a statement on the implications for Wales of the current review of regional policy.

Mr. Nicholas Edwards

Regional policy is the responsibility of my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Industry, who will be making a statement in the House tomorrow afternoon.

Mr. Williams

How does the right hon. Gentleman reconcile the pledge that he made on television prior to the election that there would be no cuts in regional support for Wales with the fact that there has already been a cutback in the Welsh Development Agency finances, and an announcement about the abandonment of the office development permit and that tomorrow we shall hear of further cuts in regional policy? The right hon. Gentleman will not be answering questions again until November. Will he therefore consider changing Wednesday's Welsh Grand Committee debate from a discussion on the highly important issues of the Welsh water authority to one on the repercussions of tomorrow's announcement on regional policy for Wales?

Mr. Edwards

I have never given a pledge that there will be no cuts in regional policy and the right hon. Gentleman is wrong to suggest that I have. It is likely that there will be an opportunity to debate these issues on the Floor of the House next week, which would be the appropriate time.

Mr. Best

Will my right hon. Friend have discussions with his right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Industry to try to ensure that special development areas such as my constituency of Anglesey will receive favourable treatment?

Mr. Edwards

I do not propose to anticipate the statement that will be made tomorrow by my right hon. Friend.

Mr. Wigley

In view of the announcement about Shotton and other serious employment problems in Wales, has the right hon. Gentleman made any representations to the Secretary of State for Industry concerning cuts in regional help for Wales?

Mr. Edwards

I have drawn to the attention of my right hon. Friend the particular problems facing Wales and we have announced that special consideration is being given to upgrading the Shotton area.