§ 7. Mr. Gareth Wardell
asked the Secretary of State for Wales how much Wales received in the form of regional development grants in 1979–80 and 1985–86.
§ Mr. Nicholas Edwards
Payments of regional development grant in Wales were £50.7 million in 1979–80 and £84.4 million in 1985–86.
§ Mr. Wardell
Will the Secretary of State confirm that the effect of regional development grant has been reduced in terms of the areas of Wales that now benefit from it? Will he also confirm that the Government are the only Government in the EEC who block any firm or enterprise from receiving aid under article 15 of the European regional development fund?
§ Mr. Edwards
The effectiveness of regional assistance has not been reduced. It has been improved. The Welsh share of regional assistance rose from 17 per cent. in 1972 to 22 per cent. in 1985–86, showing that Wales has not suffered from the changes. Over the weekend, the shadow Secretary of State for Scotland complained that Wales was getting a greater share of grant than Scotland even though its working population is half that of Scotland. Clearly, Wales is doing extremely well out of these arrangements.
§ Mr. Harvey
Will my right hon. Friend consider re-extending development area status to Denbigh in view of the closure of North Wales hospital?
§ Mr. Edwards
I know that my hon. Friend is concerned about the proposal by the area health authority to close a hospital there. He will also know that consultations about that proposal is at an early stage. Clwyd county council is organising consultation with a wide body of interests, including the Welsh Development Agency, about the way of dealing with the situation if the hospital closure goes ahead.