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Unemployment (Wales)

Volume 983: debated on Wednesday 30 April 1980

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I beg to ask leave to move the Adjournment of the House, under Standing Order No. 9, for the puropse of discussing a specific and important matter that should have urgent consideration, namely,

" the forecast of a doubling of unemployment in Wales."
This matter is specific, because a specific report was published yesterday, commissioned by the BBC and undertaken by the Institute of Economic Affairs at the University College of North Wales, Bangor, which, incidentally, has been adviser to the Welsh Office on economic matters. It forecast that unemployment in Wales would increase to 172,000 by 1983. That compares with a figure of between 80,000 and 90,000 now and of 125,000 as the highest forecast which the Welsh Office has so far admitted.

This matter is important because we in Wales have grim memories of unemployment, and we have them in all parts of Wales. The forecast sees an increase in unemployment to as high as 29 per cent. on Deeside, with an average approaching 15 per cent. over the whole of Wales. The matter is important because we need policies that can respond to these needs, and it is interesting to note that 10 years ago this week my party published an economic plan for Wales which forecast a need for 177,000 jobs over the following decade.

This matter is urgent because decisions are now being taken on economic strategy which need to be reconsidered in the light of this report. It is urgent because factory closures are imminent in all parts of Wales and the Government are committed to reconsidering the development area status; and these decisions will be taken over the next few weeks. Not least, the matter is urgent because of the report this week that the British Steel Coroporation, in response to objections by two unions to the slimming down proposals for the Llanwern and Port Talbot steelworks, is about to announce the total closure of one of those two plants. Finally, it is urgent because we had two months ago the annual Welsh day and we certainly cannot wait another six to 12 months before we have an opportunity to debate this matter and bring pressure on the Government to change their policies before it is too late.

The hon. Gentleman gave me notice before 12 noon today that he would seek leave to move the Adjournment of the House for the purpose of discussing a specific and important matter that he believes should have urgent consideration, namely,

" the forecast of a doubling of unemployment in Wales."
The hon. Gentleman brought to our notice a very serious matter, and the House listened with concern to what he said.

As the House knows, under Standing Order No. 9 I am directed to take into account all the factors set out in the order. The House has instructed me to give no reasons for my decision.

I have given careful consideration to the representations that the hon. Gentleman has made, but I have to rule that they do not fall within the provisions of the Standing Order, and therefore I cannot submit his application to the House.