HC Deb 21 January 1980 vol 977 cc9-11
4. Mr. Geraint Howells

asked the Secretary of State for Wales how many advance factories in Ceredigion have not been allocated to potential industrialists and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Nicholas Edwards

Five out of 29 completed factories.

Mr. Howells

I am sure that the Secretary of State is aware that certain parts of my constituency have had the highest number of unemployed per head of population in Wales for the past 10 years. What plans has he in mind to help the area? Will he consider upgrading the area to development area status or giving extra financial aid to the Development Board for Rural Wales?

Mr. Edwards

In addition to the 29 completed factories in Ceredigion, the board is currently building a further 10 in Aberystwyth and two in Cardigan. By the middle of the year, there will be a total of 41 units in the area. The board will be announcing further factory development in its new factory building programme. A large part of the hon. Gentleman's constituency enjoys development area status at the present time.

Mr. D. E. Thomas

Will the right hon. Gentleman say how his £3 million, or one-third, cut in the funding of the development board is helpful in tenanting empty advance factories?

Mr. Edwards

I can tell the hon. Gentleman that the £6 million provision for the board this year is the same provision as that made in the public expenditure plans of the previous Government. In previous years, some additional funds were made available because of under-spending in other sectors during the year. We are planning for the next financial year on the same basis as our predecessors.

Dr. Roger Thomas

This large area of unemployment in Ceredigion extends south of the River Teify into the Carmarthen constituency. The Teify has long been affected to a certain extent by the policies of the previous Government but particularly by those of this Government.

Mr. Edwards

I am sure that the Development Board for Rural Wales will take note of the hon. Gentleman's representation. I do not think that the greater part of his constituency has such severe problems as some of those lo which the hon. Member for Cardigan (Mr. Howells) referred.