asked the Secretary of State for Wales how much capital was made available by the Welsh Development Agency to industries between 1978 to 1980 and 1981 to 1984, respectively; and what information he has as to the number of new firms established as a result in Wales between the same dates.
In the financial years 1978–79 to 1980–81 the Welsh Development Agency undertook investments of £10 million. In the years 1981–82 to 1984–85 the figure was £24 million. These investments were made in 300 companies, but a breakdown into new and existing firms is not immediately available.
I am grateful to my right hon. Friend for such an encouraging reply. Is it not a fact that the WDA has not only done excellent work since it began but is expanding? While we must not be complacent about the expansion and about the 300 companies that have received grant to the tune of £24 million, does my right hon. Friend agree that, had it been left in the hands of the Socialists, that would never have been achieved?
I should emphasise in respect of the figures that I have given, that increasingly the WDA in its investment function is acting as a lead to the syndication of funds by venture capitalists and the financial institutions generally and, therefore, the total scale of the investment led by the WDA is much higher than the figures to which I have referred.