HC Deb 05 December 1989 vol 163 cc150-1
13. Mr. Gareth Wardell

To ask the Secretary of State for Employment if he will make it his policy to discourage the creation of more jobs in south-east England.

Mr. Eggar

No, Sir. We wish to see more jobs created throughout the United Kingdom, including in the south-east.

Mr. Wardell

While thanking the Minister for that reply, may I ask him to have urgent talks with the Secretary of State for Transport and the Secretary of State for Wales to ensure that there is a reduction in public expenditure in the London docklands to bail out speculative development in transport which is leading to overheating of the economy and the generation of inflationary pressures? In Wales we continue to suffer because we are the only country in the United Kingdom with an incomplete motorway in the form of the M4. That motorway has still not been completed after 10 years of this Government. Higher tolls on the Severn bridge have been proposed and funding for the road programme in Wales is to be cut as a consequence of EC funding reductions. Will the Minister stop overheating the economy in that way?

Mr. Eggar

I am surprised at the hon. Gentleman. Why did he not use the opportunity in his question to point out that unemployment in Wales has fallen by over 40 per cent. in the past two years? Why does he not talk to my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Wales about the vast amount of public money that is going into the valleys initiative and the redevelopment of Cardiff?

Mr. Rowe

Does my hon. Friend accept that in Kent we are perfectly willing to share our jobs with the rest of the United Kingdom? However, one of the greatest single obstacles to achieving that will be if British Rail builds a railway line that cannot carry freight wagons of the European gauge. If that happens many firms will choose to set up in Kent because it will be too difficult to get their freight through the Channel tunnel.

Mr. Eggar

I have nothing but admiration for my hon. Friend's ability to get in questions about the rail link through his constituency and mine under almost any excuse whatsoever. I congratulate him on that.

Mr. Ron Brown

Is the Minister aware that many jobs in Scotland and the north of England will go down the shute—namely the Channel tunnel—because the Government have put forward no guarantees on jobs?

Bearing in mind all the wheeling and dealing backed by Government, is it not an absolute disgrace that they have not come forward with any guarantees for the future of the people who matter? What is the Government's philosophy for the future? Will they say that the EC is all right or do the British people not matter?

Mr. Eggar

I am not sure whether I entirely followed the hon. Gentleman.