HC Deb 18 June 1997 vol 296 cc300-1
9. Mr. Flynn

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what new proposals he has to widen opportunity in education in Wales. [2602]

Mr. Hain

The Government will widen educational opportunity at every level. We will strengthen nursery provision; we will develop an improved qualifications framework which will prepare young people for employment, as well as for further study; and we will make it easier for adult learners to continue to study throughout their lives.

Mr. Flynn

I add my "croeso a llongyfarchiadau" to my hon. Friend on his new post.

New jobs are coming to my constituency from LG's investment, which was made in the certain knowledge that a Labour Government and a Welsh Assembly were on the way. Does my hon. Friend agree that although industry should provide the major part of training for new jobs, the Government must lend a hand, especially in providing for adults whose careers have been broken by redundancy and unemployment? Will he give an assurance today that there will be new initiatives from the new Government, especially in the form of a university for industry?

Mr. Hain

I thank my hon. Friend—"diolch yn fawr".

We will certainly do as my hon. Friend urges and pursue active policies to provide new skills and training opportunities. I met the senior managers of LG on Monday and we are working in partnership with them to provide the best skills base for that important investment, so that the Welsh economy in my hon. Friend's constituency and in south Wales can move forward confidently.

Mr. Dafis

I draw the Minister's attention for the second time today to the predicament of higher education in Wales and the profound concerns arising from the present and predicted cuts in the higher education sector in Wales. Does he recognise that that sector is important, not only as a provider of education but as a component in economic revitalisation? Will the Welsh Office undertake to reverse those cuts next year, so that higher education institutions in Wales can take their place within an integrated strategy for sustainable economic development?

Mr. Hain

We will review all education provision in Wales, including the sector that the hon. Gentleman mentioned. We will also propose a new way forward for Wales in school education, further education and higher education in our White Paper, which is to be published next month. I welcome the hon. Gentleman's contribution to that debate.