HC Deb 17 June 2002 vol 387 cc15-6
12. Mr. Simon Thomas (Ceredigion)

What opportunities he has examined for a future role for the Defence Diversification Agency at Aberporth. [58682]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Defence (Dr. Lewis Moonie)

The Defence Diversification Agency has held a number of discussions about its role at Aberporth, where it currently provides a part-time technology diversification manager. The post is funded by the Welsh Development Agency, which recently invited us to make a proposal for expanding the service, as we shall now do.

Mr. Thomas

I thank the Minister for his reply. He will know of the difficulties caused by the withdrawal of funding for MOD apprenticeships at Aberporth earlier this year, but he may not be aware of the threat to 450 jobs at Dewhurst in Cardigan. Does he therefore agree that the progression of the Aberporth scheme under the technology diversification manager is essential to realise its assets and that the appointment of a full-time manager would help enormously in that task? Will he work with QinetiQ, the private company, and his colleagues in the Wales Office to realise the aim of diversification and new technology jobs at Aberporth?

Dr. Moonie

I pay tribute to the interest and application that the hon. Gentleman has devoted to the issue as the local Member. An approach by the Welsh Development Agency to the Defence Diversification Agency indicates that the organisation is held in high regard locally. Although the DDA has not been operational for long, the signs are that it will be remarkably successful in bringing technology into the MOD and spreading it out. We will take every possible step to ensure that the proposal proceeds.

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