HC Deb 12 December 1983 vol 50 c666
15. Mr. David Knox

asked the Secretary of State for Wales how many new factory units, and how many square feet of factory space, have been built by the Welsh Development Agency since its inception.

Mr. Nicholas Edwards

Between January 1976 and November 1983 the Welsh Development Agency completed 1,159 advance factory units, 12 bespoke factory units and 74 factory extensions totalling in all more than 8.8 million sq ft.

Mr. Knox

Does my right hon. Friend agree that this additional factory capacity will facilitate a substantial expansion in Wales in future?

Mr. Edwards

That is true, especially as in the first 11 months of this year the WDA has allocated over 280 factories and 1.4 million sq ft of floor space to firms that are forecasting over 5,300 jobs. That is already more than the total for last year.

Mr. Joan Evans

While we welcome the additional factory space provided by the Welsh Development Agency, which was created by the previous Labour Government and opposed by the then Tory Opposition, may I ask how much factory space has been made available to let since the Government took office because of closures, liquidations and redundancies?

Mr. Edwards

Since May 1979 the WDA has allocated about 900 units and 7.1 million sq ft at a time when 220 units and 4.4 million sq ft, often in the form of older factories, have closed down. Substantially more new factories have been allocated and substantially more new factory space has been made available than is involved in the closures that have taken place. I am glad to inform the House that the WDA's expenditure on the programme has been £280 million, of which £220 million has been expended under the present Government.