HC Deb 20 January 1986 vol 90 c10
8. Mr. Ray Powell

asked the Secretary of State for Wales how many jobs have been lost in the mining industry in Wales since 5 March; and how many pits have been closed.

Mr. Nicholas Edwards

Between 5 March 1985 and 11 January 1986 the number of men on colliery books fell by 5,691. Nine pits closed, and there were two mergers.

Mr. Powell

Does the Secretary of State now accept that it was not a miners' strike, or a "Scargill strike'', but that it was a miners' strike supported by miners, particularly those in my constituency, who knew that if they were not prepared to fight for their jobs they would lose them? Since they went back to work in March we have lost 5,000 jobs, 1,500 of them in my constituency. Will he now tell me that he will ensure that the National Coal Board at Cardiff will not put further pressure on those still left in my constituency at the Coedely colliery by using, as my hon. Friend the Member for Neath (Mr. Coleman) said, industrial blackmail to force them to accept redundancies and closure at that colliery otherwise no investment will be put into the Cwm colliery? Will he take that matter up with the board?

Mr. Edwards

What is absolutely clear is that many of the south Wales pits have been uneconomic for a long time. As the hon. Gentleman knows, closures have continued under successive Governments. What is equally clear is that the Scargill strike, which he so strongly supported, has led to an acceleration of that programme of closures and to more job losses in the time scale than would otherwise have taken place.

Mr. Gwilym Jones

Does not my right hon. Friend agree that it would be worth while for all right hon. and hon. Members to go to the Upper Waiting Hall at 4 o'clock this afternoon to see the exhibition of NCB (Enterprise) Ltd.? They will see there the excellent efforts made and the worthwhile results achieved, and will realise that NCB (Enterprise) is now being viewed as a most creditable achievement by Her Majesty's Government.

Mr. Edwards

As I have already pointed out, it is doing some valuable work—56 projects worth some £10 million, to which it has provided aid of some £1.25 million already. When I gave my earlier answer, I referred to £10 million. That is the total value of those projects. The company is also supporting enterprise agencies and helping to create 1,400 or more jobs in projects that it has already announced in Wales.