My hon. Friend the Under-Secretary of State for Wales met the hon. Gentleman and representatives of the company earlier this week to discuss the serious situation. The Government will take action to provide retraining and new work opportunities.
I thank the Secretary of State and the Under-Secretary for their considerable help so far in contacting the local mayor, Joy Jones, and local Councillor Richard White, who are helping me to save this site. I am now approaching other firms to offer Newtown’s Shop Direct premises as a going concern. Is the Secretary of State willing to intervene directly, as it seems to me that that would increase the chances of making such a transfer in order to save 180 jobs?
I will certainly do all that I can, as will my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary, to help the hon. Gentleman, who I know has been working energetically to try to save that company and the maximum number of jobs that he can. He will be aware that the claimant count unemployment in Montgomeryshire has fallen consistently over the past four months and now stands at just 2.5 per cent. There are also some job vacancies, but the priority must be to save what we can; we will work with the hon. Gentleman as closely as we can.