HC Deb 02 March 1981 vol 1000 cc13-4
13. Mr. Geraint Howells

asked the Secretary of State for Wales how many persons are employed in his agricultural department in Aberystwyth; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Michael Roberts

Including Trawsgoed and Pwllpeiran, 142 permanent staff and 12 casual staff are employed.

Mr. Howells

Is the Minister aware that the headquarters of the agriculture industry in Wales has been in Aberystwyth for the past 60 years? In view of the representations made to him by local representatives, is there anything that we can say or do to persuade the Minister to change his mind and not to transfer many of the top jobs to Cardiff?

Mr. Michael Roberts

I have received deputations from Ceredigion. It has put its case splendidly for the retention of Civil Service posts in Aberystwyth. I shall be reporting to my right hon. Friend and he will make a decision in the best interests of Welsh agriculture.

Mr. D. E. Thomas

Will the Minister explain why the proposal that essential Civil Service jobs should be transported from the centre of rural Wales to Cardiff was made in the first instance? Do the Government believe in the decentralisation of Government offices where that is possible?

Mr. Roberts

The purpose of the proposed move is to bring together policy work on commodities and EEC matters and other policy work on consumer health.