HC Deb 03 March 1999 vol 326 c1069
8. Mr. Dafydd Wigley (Caernarfon)

If he will make a statement on the percentage of the population currently unemployed in (a) Gwynedd and (b) Wales. [72460]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Wales (Mr. Peter Hain)

In January 1999, 7.8 per cent. of the population of Gwynedd were unemployed and the figure for Wales was 5.9 per cent.

Mr. Wigley

Does the Minister accept that both those figures are far too high? Does he accept also that, if we achieve objective 1 status for the west of Wales—which includes Gwynedd—and the European Union gives its highest priority to the problems of that area, the United Kingdom Government should do likewise in reviewing the assisted area map and give the whole of the objective 1 area in Wales top-level priority?

Mr. Hain

We are giving the whole objective 1 area of Wales top-level priority. Because of the Labour Government's achievements, we have the chance of delivering one of the best boosts that the right hon. Gentleman's constituency, west Wales and the valleys have ever had, by drawing down European funding.

Since Labour came to power, 300 youngsters in the right hon. Gentleman's area have been given the chance of a job with training under the new deal and £7 million of regional assistance has been provided to companies in his constituency to bring in 1,000 new jobs or safeguard existing jobs.