HC Deb 19 February 1996 vol 272 c13
13. Mr. Roy Hughes

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what is the figure for male unemployment in (a) Newport, Gwent and (b) Wales, at the latest available date; and if he will express the figures in percentage

terms. [14170]

Mr. Gwilym Jones

As at January 1996, the respective figures were 6,161 and 86,544, or 10.9 per cent. and 11.6 per cent.

Mr. Hughes

May I remind the Minister that in the next few months the opening of the second Severn crossing will provide tremendous opportunities for the Welsh economy? To coincide with that, what new initiatives will the Welsh Office take to bring new jobs to our hard-pressed communities?

Mr. Jones

I can confirm that the second Severn crossing will be opening shortly. Had the hon. Gentleman asked me, I would also have confirmed that it is a tribute to the Government's private finance initiative, which has enabled economic capacity in Wales to expand far more quickly than with traditional financing arrangements. I should also like to confirm the hon. Gentleman's welcome for the new jobs which have been announced in his area recently. I have given the example of the merger of Sumitomo and Surface Technology Systems Ltd.—a £5 million expansion creating 100 new jobs in Newport. Where is the hon. Gentleman's welcome for that and for the way in which the Welsh economy is moving forward?