HC Deb 07 February 1983 vol 36 cc617-8
7. Mr. Roy Hughes

asked the Secretary of State for Wales what is the latest figure of the number of males unemployed in Newport, Gwent; and what percentage of the male working population in Newport this represents.

Mr. Nicholas Edwards

On 13 January male unemployment in the Newport travel-to-work area totalled 10,650, or 18.8 per cent.

Mr. Hughes

As the Secretary of State read out those appalling figures, should he not have been hanging his head in shame? Does he appreciate that he is talking about Newport, which is literally the industrial capital of Wales? It has a favourable geographical position and excellent communications, but it has been brought to its knees solely by the Government's monetarist policies. Should not the Secretary of State resign?

Mr. Edwards

I share the hon. Gentleman's anxiety about unemployment problems in the area. However, one would not have gathered from his question that the area is particularly well placed to attract new industry. At present, Mitel is recruiting absolutely flat out at Caldicott; Inmos is also recruiting flat out; AB Electronics has recently taken an investment decision that is of importance to the area; Avana Bakeries is also engaged on a major expansion project, and most recently we have information of interest from a continental high technology company for the Gilwern site in north Gwent. Gwent is particularly well placed at the moment and there are a great many exciting projects building up to full employment.