HC Deb 11 May 1992 vol 207 cc360-2
5. Mr. Flynn

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what new initiatives he intends to introduce to safeguard high-tech jobs in Wales.

Mr. David Hunt

Through initiatives such as IT Wales and Imperial Park, we shall do our best to ensure that Wales continues to maintained its impressive record of attracting high-technology jobs.

Mr. Flynn

Has the Secretary of State not noticed that the Wales high-tech industry is dying from the head down? On Friday, I watched a £1 million instrument being dumped into a skip at the INMOS—International Metal Oxide Semiconductors—works. That instrument was in production five weeks ago. The managing director has told me that the only reason for the precious 400 high-tech jobs producing the miracle transputer being exported to France and Italy is that the Government have failed to reach a partnership investment deal with the company. When will the people of Wales be able to compete for high-tech jobs like the people of France and Italy? When will he do something to protect the transputer, which is British-made and British-invented but which will be produced in future in France and Italy?

Mr. Hunt

Discussions are continuing with INMOS and I hope that they will reach a successful conclusion. In reply to the hon. Gentleman's general point, I hope that he will visit the constituency of my hon. Friend the Member for Vale of Glamorgan (Mr. Sweeney) and other constituencies throughout Wales to see the number of high-tech and other jobs, such as those provided by British Airways and General Electric, that are coming to Wales. Those jobs are due to our positive partnership with all the relevant authorities which have come together to attract a high level of inward investment. Since IT Wales started nine months ago, there have been 10 new projects with 2,000 new and safeguarded jobs. That is an excellent record and the hon. Gentleman should not seek to decry it.

Mr. Richards

Does my right hon. Friend agree that Pilkington Communications in my constituency has an outstanding record in this field?

Mr. Hunt

I am glad to have this opportunity to welcome my hon. Friend the Member for Clwyd, North-West (Mr. Richards) and congratulate him on his impressive victory. He is right to highlight the achievements of Pilkington Communications in winning the Queen's award for technology. I also congratulate Peboc of Ynys Mon on its Queen's award for technology. The House should take pride in these achievements.

Mr. Barry Jones

Why does the Gracious Speech make no reference whatever to unemployment? I remind the Minister that 125,000 people in Wales are out of work. There are many high-tech mining jobs in north and south Wales, but the Government plan to privatise the industry means that jobs will come under severe pressure.

Mr. Hunt

I am pleased to be able to announce 10 new industrial projects which are forecast to create more than 460 new jobs involving investment of more than £18 million. That means that during the past week, I have been able to announce 1,000 new jobs for Wales in businesses ranging from automotive components to food processing. I hope that the hon. Gentleman will pay attention to such good news and stop trying to perpetuate the general election campaign in which he so miserably failed.

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