HC Deb 10 November 1980 vol 992 cc4-5
2. Mr. Knox

asked the Secretary of State for Wales if he will make a statement about progress being made towards the creation of an enterprise zone in South Wales.

Mr. Nicholas Edwards

Discussions with the local authorities involved in the Swansea area have reached an advanced stage, and I hope to make a further announcement soon.

Mr. Knox

Does my right hon. Friend agree that the enterprise zone will be a great asset to South Wales, and that the sooner it is established, the better?

Mr. Edwards

I believe that that is right. I welcome the support that the local authorities are giving to the project. I hope that we shall be able to announce the firm go-ahead later this month.

Mr. Alan Williams

Does the Secretary of State realise that the local authorities in West Glamorgan would sooner have the enterprise zone than have nothing but that they regard it as very poor compensation for the loss of development area status, when nearly 30 firms within the county have declared redundancies? Is he aware of the type of protest that we are now receiving? For example, one company already producing in Swansea protests that one of its competitors, which fortuitously is within the area that will be an enterprise zone but which is mainly an importer, is now to be put at a competitive advantage.

Mr. Edwards

I have of course received representations about development area status generally for that part of Wales. We have undertaken to keep the position continually under review. As to the boundaries of the zone, I am awaiting recommendations from the local authorities before taking final decisions. There are certain proposals to include places adjacent to the area so far proposed, and we shall consider the final recommendations from the local authorities.

As to the effects elsewhere, any selective policy—this applies to regional policy generally—may have some adverse consequences on firms outside. We have therefore said that we shall monitor the scheme very carefully. Our conclusion is that the boost that it will give to the area generally far outweighs any possible individual disadvantage for particular firms.