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Welsh Craft Industry

Volume 130: debated on Monday 21 March 1988

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To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what proposals he has to implement the recommendations of Mr. Tony Ball's Welsh craft industry study for a coordinated marketing policy for Wales and Welsh products, to be implemented by the Welsh Development Agency, Mid Wales Development, the Welsh tourist board and other Welsh agencies.

There has been strong endorsement of Mr. Tony Ball's Welsh craft industry study and of his ideas for developing a more co-ordinated strategy for promoting Wales and its products. I shall be considering with the main bodies concerned how best to implement the recommendations.

Does my right hon. Friend agree that if a co-ordinated all-Wales marketing effort is to be achieved the Welsh Office must take the initiative? Does he also agree that such an integrated marketing approach could only increase the impact of each Welsh agency's marketing, without undermining their independence?

The report showed many weaknesses and duplications in the existing systems. As I said, I shall have further discussion with the bodies involved, and then we will come to our conclusions.

When the right hon. Gentleman reaches his conclusions, will he bear in mind that many small craft producers in Wales consider that the WDA and Mid-Wales Development are rather remote? Will he take steps to ensure that the distance between them is reduced as far as possible?

Part of Mr. Ball's recommendation was that, in the manner in which the system operated at the moment, many smaller craft users were unable to identify exactly where they should go and from whom they should obtain advice. The recommendations pointing out that they should have freely available to them a point at which they can seek any advice or help are important.

Is the Secretary of State aware that the Welsh craft industry would be sadly neglected if the Department of Employment were to close the workshop for the blind in Pontypridd? Is he aware also that proposals have been under discussion for the past two years? Only a matter of weeks ago an Employment Minister decided that he would cancel any financial arrangements for the new workshop in Pontypridd. Will the Secretary of State carry out an investigation and ensure that the application for a workshop for the blind people of mid-Glamorgan is renewed and that a new building is provided?

That is a matter for my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Employment. I gather that he or one of his Ministers will have talks with at least one Welsh Member in the near future.