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New Industrial Undertakings

Volume 14: debated on Monday 30 November 1981

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14.

asked the Secretary of State for Wales how many new industrial undertakings have been commenced in Wales during the past 12 months in advance factories and with help from the industry department of his Department, respectively.

Precise information is not available, but I estimate that more than 180 advance factories have been occupied in the past year, promising nearly 4,000 jobs. Some of these factories will, of course, have been allocated in the previous year. I can also inform the House that 251 factory units were allocated between January and the middle of November this year, totalling 1·4 million sq ft. Of these, 68 units were at Cwmbran.

Is my right hon. Friend aware that this is a remarkable achievement in all the circumstances? Will he express his recognition of this to all those concerned, including the members of the development corporation?

I shall pass my hon. Friend's remarks to the Welsh Development Agency and to the new town authority and the DBRW, which have helped to achieve this remarkable result. The development corporation also deserves our thanks and congratulations. My hon. Friend used the words used by my predecessor in 1978—"a remarkable achievement". At that time the figures were not as good as these.

Why does the Secretary of State Indulge in such fantasies with these optimistic forecasts about the economy? It is as though he had become a compulsive reader of Grimms' fairy tales, whereas the reality is that unemployment is reminiscent of the levels of the 1930s, with only one in five of our companies in Wales working to capacity, with redundancies continuing apace, with mortgages soaring—

The hon. Gentleman must ask a question and not merely give information.

Order. I think that the hon. Member for Newport (Mr. Hughes) is coming to the end of his question.

Why does not the Secretary of State realise the terrible depression that we are in and call for a complete turn round in the Government's policy?

These are not fantasies. They are facts. I was about new industrial undertakings and factory allocations. I have given the details. They are record figures, and I am entitled to draw them to the attention of the House.

I had a message from the hon. Member for Montgomery (Mr. Williams) that he might be delayed and be unable to be present for his question. Perhaps I should not have called it.