§ 13. Mr. Barry Jones
asked the Secretary of State for Wales by what amount, and by what percentage, unemployment has risen in Wales. Clwyd and the Deeside travel-to-work area.
§ Mr. Nicholas Edwards
I refer the hon. Gentleman to the reply that I gave him on 31 October, but would add that since September 1983 the number of unemployed claimants in Wales, Clwyd and the Shotton travel-to-work area has, in fact, gone down.
§ Mr. Jones
The unemployment rate in north-east Wales is very high and clearly makes the arrival of the deputation from Clwyd county council tomorrow of the highest importance. Does the right hon. Gentleman understand our deep anxiety about the delay in launch aid for the Airbus A320, which would underpin 2,000 local jobs? Bearing in mind the availability of excellent sites throughout Wales, what can he tell the House about the Nissan project?
§ Mr. Edwards
The Government are giving the closest consideration to the representations that have been made about the A320 Airbus project and have been analysing all the information that has been provided recently by companies. There is no fresh information about the Nissan project. I am sure that the hon. Gentleman will welcome a number of new investments that are occurring in northeast Wales, not least the recent decision of the Cooperative Wholesale Society Ltd. to locate its new multimillion pound factory in the hon. Gentleman's constituency, which will provide at least 150 new jobs.
§ Sir Anthony Meyer
Has my right hon. Friend seen the information that was released at the weekend by the Clwyd county council to the effect that one quarter of manufacturing jobs in the country are in firms that have their headquarters outside the United Kingdom? In view of that, will it be useful to obtain from the Labour party a final renunciation of its proposal to withdraw from the EEC in view of the sensitivity of those jobs to such a threat?
§ Mr. Edwards
During my recent visit to the United States I discussed the investment projects to be conducted by a number of United States companies which were considering setting up projects in Clwyd. They were all doing so on the ground that this would be a base for operating in the European Community as a whole.
§ Dr. Marek
Is the Minister aware that recently one of my constituents wrote to me asking how he could get a job, but, before I received the letter, the Wrexham Conservative association stepped in and managed to find him one? Will the right hon. Gentleman advise and help the Wrexham Conservative association to find jobs for the other 9,999 people in the Wrexham area who also want jobs?
§ Mr. Edwards
I am glad that the people have recognised that it is more sensible to go to the Conservative association than to their Member of Parliament. I hope that the hon. Gentleman will remember that in any single month between 15,000 and 30,000 people go on and off the register of unemployment in Wales. There is a rapid turnover of jobs. That underlies the unemployment statistics, which we all regret are still too high.