HC Deb 22 November 1982 vol 32 c564
2. Mr. Colvin

asked the Secretary of State for Wales what study he has made of the likely effect of the Severn barrage project on employment in Wales.

The Under-Secretary of State for Wales (Mr. Michael Roberts)

A scheme on the scale proposed would create a substantial number of jobs at different times during the construction period. It is not possible at this stage to be more precise about the job impact on any particular area.

Mr. Colvin

Is my hon. Friend aware that the economic case for the Severn barrage becomes stronger every day? Does he appreciate that the cost per kilowatt hour of the electricity produced would be comparable to that produced by new coal power stations and new nuclear power stations? Is my hon. Friend also aware that, conversely, the job creation potential of the Severn barrage diminshes with time as construction technology advances?

Mr. Roberts

Yes. I have seen several estimates for job creation as a result of the scheme, varying from 50,000, as has been suggested by my hon. Friend, to 20,000 to 30,000, as has been referred to by the Severn barrage committee. The question is whether there is an economic case for the barrage on electricity generation grounds. We are considering that.

Mr. Roy Hughes

Are not the Government dragging their feet over the question of a second crossing for the Severn? Does the Minister agree that in order to tackle an imaginative project such as the Severn barrage scheme Britain needs a Government with faith in their people, not one who are prepared to allow 4 million citizens to languish in the dole queues?

Mr. Roberts

No, Sir. Mere verbiage will not solve the problem of the Severn barrage or the crossing. The problem is that the barrage will not be where the crossing is needed.

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