§ 9. Mr. Roy Hughes
To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what was the male unemployment rate in Newport and Gwent at the latest available date.
§ Mr. Redwood
The male unemployment figure in September 1994 for Newport travel-to-work area was 12.6 per cent. and for Gwent 13.2 per cent. That compares with 15 per cent. for Gwent a year earlier and 14.1 per cent. for Newport—a very good result.
§ Mr. Hughes
Does the Secretary of State appreciate that those figures are still very high, particularly for a town like Newport which has such favourable geographical advantages? Does he further realise that the whole area will be blighted if he gives the go-ahead for the proposed Browning Ferris waste disposal plant? Why does not he veto that application without delay and join Newport and Gwent in their quest for new jobs?
§ Mr. Redwood
I am happy to join in the quest for new jobs. Indeed, I do that every working day when I go about my business for Wales. I am pleased to see unemployment falling and I think that the hon. Gentleman was a little churlish in not recognising an extremely good fall when we see one, but of course I agree with him that there are still too many people out of work. I will take on board his representations on the issue, but he will understand that I cannot answer them across the Dispatch Box and that I have to take into account all the representations and issues in that particular case. He can rest assured, however, that we are working hard for Newport and for Gwent, as we are for the rest of Wales. He and other hon. Members might like to know that by 7 November we want proposals in to the Welsh Development Agency for a new freight terminal in south Wales which could help business throughout that area.