HC Deb 01 February 1993 vol 218 cc2-5
2. Mr. Richards

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales when he will be in a position to announce the capital programme for 1993–94; and if he will make a statement.

The Secretary of State for Wales (Mr. David Hunt)

I am pleased to announce that in 1993–94 the planned gross capital expenditure in respect of my Department's programmes will total approximately £1,500 million for the first time ever. With permission, Madam Speaker, I shall arrange for details to be printed in the Official Report.

The information is as follows:

  1. 1. Planned gross capital expenditure for 1993–94 in respect of all programmes within my responsibility totals some £1.5 billion.
  2. 2. The expenditure plans of my Department, including those public expenditure programmes with capital components, will be set out in the Departmental Report to be published in February.
  3. 3. The provision of £1.5 billion covers a range of Welsh Office capital programmes.

The main components are:

£ million
(i) Local authority gross capital expenditure 620
(ii) Central government roads and transport 180
(iii) Central government health (including NHS Trusts) 138
(iv) Housing for Wales 130
(v) Welsh Development Agency 124
(vi) ERDF grants 70

4. Lists of major projects included in the programmes are as follows.

Major capital projects in progress include:
Estimated Total Spend £ million>
Central Government Roads
A55 Pen-y-Clip Tunnels 121
M4 Earlwood—Lonlas 59
M4 Briton Ferry—Earlwood 60
A487 Port Dinorwic Bypass 14
M4/A4042 Brynglas Tunnels/Malpas Road 69
A483 Welshpool RR 16
M4 Baglan—Briton Ferry 37
A55 Aber 11
A465 Glynneath—Aberdulais 84
M4 Link to 2nd Severn Crossing 53
Transport Grant Schemes
A472 Maesyowmner—Newbridge 36
Talbot Green Bypass Extension 11
Pontypridd Inner relief road 35
Butetown Link 132
Ysbyty Maelor, Wrexham 20
Ysbyty Gwynedd II 9
Morriston IV 33
Torfaen Community 6
Arts and Libraries
Museum development of Cathays Park building 21
WDA Land Reclamation Schemes
Bargoed Colliery and Tips 11
Oakdale Colliery and Tips 8
Pentre Colliery Tips 5
Phurnacite Works, Abercwmboi 3
Georgetown Cyfarthfa Tips 3

Major capital projects planned to commence in 1993–94 include:
Estimated Total Spend £ million
Arts and Libraries
Provision of third library building 11
Central Government Roads
A4042 Llantarnam By-Pass 18
A5 Glyn Bends 11
A470 Pentrebach-Cefn Coed 58
A483 Llandeilo Eastern By-Pass 18
Transport Grant Schemes
A4048 Tredegar By-Pass 9
A4067 Swansea Valley Dualling Stage 1 16
Singleton Theatre/SDU Development 9
West Mon Community 7
Barry Neighbourhood 8
Cardiff Neighbourhood 7
Other Environmental Services
Cardiff Bay Barrage (subject to Parliamentary approval) 147
WDA Land Reclamation Schemes
Maerdy Colliery Tips Phase 2 2
Brymbo Steelworks 10
Barry Marine 13
Mr. Richards

Will my right hon. Friend confirm that that represents an 8.5 per cent. increase in spending in the last year? Will not those record figures accelerate the transformation of the Welsh economy that we have seen in the past 13 years, particularly in view of the new industrial projects which I understand are to be announced today?

Mr. Hunt

I am, indeed, pleased to confirm that seven new industrial projects, involving investment by companies of more than £13 million, the planned creation of 614 new jobs and the safeguarding of more than 260 others are being announced today. That is very good news for Wales and, in particular, for the county of Clwyd. As well as the projects in 1992, my Department has been able to give regional selective assistance to help to create a total of 12,690 jobs in Wales.

Mr. Rogers

Does the Secretary of State accept that we need a garden festival every week in Wales to recover from the industrial dereliction of the past? The present programme of capital funding is by no means adequate to deal with the problems in the south Wales valleys. When will he give special treatment to the valleys so that they can recover from the situation caused by the decline of heavy industry?

Mr. Hunt

I recognise that the hon. Gentleman constantly pleads the cause of his part of the valleys, the Rhondda, but I hope that he will recognise that since my predecessor announced the programme for the valleys in 1988 there has been a remarkable transformation of those valleys—[Interruption.] Of course there is much more to be done. That remarkable transformation, which came about as a result of a positive partnership between local authorities and the Welsh Development Agency has resulted in the largest land clearance programme anywhere in Europe and has attracted an enormous amount of private sector investment. I hope that from time to time the hon. Gentleman will pay tribute to my predecessor for having initiated such a successful programme.

Dr. Spink

Do the figures given by my right hon. Friend include the second Severn river crossing, and what impact will those excellent figures have on jobs in Wales?

Mr. Hunt

The figures that I have announced today do not include the £300 million project for the second Severn crossing, which is a private-sector-led project. The record level of capital programme in Wales invested by the Welsh Office, combined with the enormous projects such as the second Severn crossing, will involve the biggest capital spend ever seen in Wales. That is good news for Wales.

Mr. Wigley

Will the Secretary of State clarify whether the capital investment programme is a deliberate strategy aimed at cracking the unemployment problem, particularly the black spots in Gwynedd, Dyfed and the valleys of Glamorgan, where thousands of young people are unemployed and where construction workers are looking for work? There is work to be done on schools, hospitals, housing and roads, but we seem incapable of bringing the two together and cracking the problems.

Mr. Hunt

Of course, I recognise that parts of Wales need capital investment and I shall do my best in terms of housing, education and the Welsh Development Agency. Where possible, all capital programmes will be directed in the best possible way to secure, among other aims, growth. The Welsh economy is already at the forefront of the economic upturn in the United Kingdom and I am confident that there will be many more job announcements in the coming months and many more job opportunities in Wales. I agree that we need to ensure that we do everything possible to reduce the difficult rise in unemployment throughout Wales, but we must recognise that we in Wales are doing better than the rest of the United Kingdom, Europe and many other parts of the world.