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Teddington Bellows Limited, Pontardulais

Volume 975: debated on Monday 3 December 1979

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asked the Secretary of State for Wales, what progress is being made with the application of Teddington Bellows Ltd., Pontardulais, for a large extension in the form of an advanced factory to its existing factory; and if he will make a statement.

The factory extension is a matter for the Welsh Development Agency, but I understand that good progress is being made. I welcome the expansion plans and am pleased that my industry department's offer of financial support under section 7 of the Industry Act has been accepted by the company.

I thank the Minister for that reply. Is he aware that, in the light of the situation at Port Talbot, the Lliw Valley and the Swansea Valley are in urgent need of industrial development? Having regard to the wider repercussions of the British Steel Corporation's position at Port Talbot on the whole of West Glamorgan, will the Secretary of State immediately support redesignation of West Glamorgan as a special development district?

The BSC indicated the present extent of its crisis to the Government only last Wednesday and it is much too early for us to come to any conclusion on what we have now been told. I have said repeatedly in this House that one of the advantages of the structure of regional assistance is that we have a consistent pattern on which development areas are based and if the situation changes we have the flexibility to respond to the new facts that arise.

Is it not absurd that, at a time when we are all desperate to obtain new jobs and new industry in Wales, the Welsh Development Agency has deliberately delayed the expansion programme of a different company on the Fforest Fach estate in Swansea and has also refused a third extra unit to that company in its Llandovery operation where it would have created 13 much-needed jobs?

If the right hon. Gentleman will table a question on that point about the Welsh Development Agency, I shall see that he gets an answer.