HC Deb 11 April 1983 vol 40 cc532-3
3. Sir Anthony Meyer

asked the Secretary of State for Wales what is the total number of new jobs created (a) in Wales and (b) in the county of Clwyd since May 1979.

Mr. Nicholas Edwards

Comprehensive information is not available. However, for the period 1 May 1979 to 31 December 1982, projects for which offers of selective financial assistance have been accepted, or which were allocated Government factories, promised to provide 38,400 new jobs for Wales as a whole and over 7,000 in the county of Clwyd.

Sir Anthony Meyer

Would I be right in assuming that that represents only a fraction of the number of new jobs that have been created in Wales, not necessarily by Government intervention, over the past four years? Does not the brightest future for Wales lie in accelerated change in those industries that have a bright future rather than in trying to hang on to jobs in obsolescent industries?

Mr. Edwards

My hon. Friend is right to say that many projects are not supported by section 7 assistance or do not involve the allocation of Government factories, and these are, of course, additional to the figures that I have given. My hon. Friend is right about change, and he will particularly welcome the number of new industries that have come to Clwyd, of which the most recent is the United Paper Mills project.

Mr. Barry Jones

With 16,000 job losses in Clwyd in the same period, those industrial swallows do not make for a summer of content. Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that there are 25,000 jobless people in Clwyd? Has he taken any further interest in the Nissan project?

Mr. Edwards

I have no further immediate information about the Nissan project. None the less, I am sure that the hon. Gentleman will be glad to know that the UPM scheme should provide about 270 direct jobs in his area and about 1,000 elsewhere, of which about 80 per cent. are expected to come to Wales.

Mr. Wigley

Earlier, the Secretary of State said that all the indicators were pointing in the right way. Is the creation of new jobs one such indicator, and on what basis does he say that that is pointing in the right way?

Mr. Edwards

The hon. Gentleman knows enough about these matters to recognise that an upturn in the economy always precedes an upturn in employment and a fall in unemployment. I shall not forecast how long the lag will be on this occasion, but I am sure that the hon. Gentleman will join in welcoming the improvement that has been shown recently and the forecast that has been made by the CBI and others that such trends are likely to continue.

Mr. Coleman

The right hon. Gentleman has been somewhat coy in his answers this afternoon. How many jobs have been lost in Wales during that period? On a subject that he need not be so coy about, how many jobs were created between 1976 and 1979?

Mr. Edwards

I do not have the numbers of jobs lost, but I can certainly answer the hon. Gentleman's second question. Between May 1975 and April 1979, 26,000 jobs were created by the Labour Government, which was substantially less than the figure of 38,400 that I have just given to the House.