HC Deb 17 September 2003 vol 410 cc848-9
7. Sir Nicholas Winterton (Macclesfield)

If he will make a statement on prospects for inward investment in Wales. [129542]

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

In a tough economic climate, Wales remains one of Europe's top inward investment locations. Wales's share of British projects, together with the levels of jobs and investment, has increased. That is testament to the work of Team Wales and the partnership effort that is clearly achieving great things.

Sir Nicholas Winterton

Is the Secretary of State aware that the latest report from the accountants Ernst and Young shows that, outside the euro, the share of inward investment going to the UK—including Wales—rose from 26.5 per cent. in 2001 to 28.4 per cent. in 2002. Do we need the euro? Were not the Swedish people right in their decision?

Mr. Hain

Three quarters of Welsh exports go to the eurozone countries. Clearly, in the right economic circumstances—and the Treasury will continue to assess those—an opportunity to join the euro would benefit the Welsh economy and inward investment.

Mr. John Smith (Vale of Glamorgan)

Will my right hon. Friend join me in welcoming the launch of the aerospace cluster in my constituency last week? It will play an important role in inward investment, and also a crucial role in military aerospace and aviation. Will he do all that he can with colleagues in the Ministry of Defence to ensure that the red dragon project proceeds on course?

Mr. Hain

Yes. The red dragon project will proceed on course—both on and off the rugby field. My hon. Friend spoke about creating a centre of excellence for air investment in south Wales, and that is certainly happening. I can announce today that 400 new jobs are being created in the aerospace industry, in Blackwood and in Cwmbran. That will link with the excellent increases in investment in the military aerospace industry.