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House of Commons

Monday 14 December 1992

The House met at half-past Two o'clock


[ Madam Speaker-- in the Chair ]

Oral Answers to Questions


Tenants (Cash Incentives)

1. Mr. Wigley : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will make it his policy to investigate the effect of the cash incentive schemes available to enable tenants to move from public sector to private sector housing on local house prices and house availability for local people in Wales.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Wales (Mr. Gwilym Jones) : I shall certainly watch these schemes with great interest, and I expect the results to be beneficial.

Mr. Wigley : Does the Minister accept that there is something offensive and unfair about the fact that Welsh taxpayers' money might go by way of grants to people from cities such as London to buy houses in Wales that local people cannot afford? Thousands of local people are trying to find rented accommodation or, if they can, to buy. Does not that need an initiative by the Welsh Office to ensure that equivalent funds are available for people in Wales to get a home, which so many of them are unable to do at present?

Mr. Jones : No, I think that the transferable discount scheme represents good value for money. It is certainly

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good value compared with new build, for instance. It facilitates two important objectives : allowing families to own a home of their own, while freeing other accommodation for housing need. I can reassure the hon. Gentleman that we are already making great efforts, through Housing for Wales and housing associations as well as local authorities, to create further housing throughout Wales, particularly in rural areas.

Welsh Wine

2. Mr. Steen : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how many hectolitres of Welsh wine have been produced in each of the last three years and from how many vineyards.

The Minister of State, Welsh Office (Sir Wyn Roberts) : One hundred and thirty one hectolitres were produced from 10 vineyards in Wales in 1989 ; 202 from 13 vineyards in 1990 ; and 147 hectolitres from 16 vineyards in 1991.

Mr. Steen : As I know the Secretary of State enjoys the odd glass of Welsh wine, whether at home or in his office, will the Minister explain why the Government seem to discriminate against Welsh wine and Scotch whisky in their taxation regime? A bottle of English or Welsh wine is subject to 98p tax, whereas a bottle of French wine is taxed at only 2.2p. Is the Minister aware that Rovral, a poison not allowed to be used on Welsh vines because of its content, is allowed to be used in France and that we import French wine without asking questions? Finally, why do not the EC rules and regulations allow us to use the word "Welsh" on the labels of wine made in Wales?

Sir Wyn Roberts : My hon. Friend will be well aware that taxation matters, to do with either whisky or wine, are for my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer. I am glad that my hon. Friend has drawn attention to the fact that we have some excellent Welsh wines. I gather that none of them is a quality wine because we do not have enough sweet reserve--and looking at the faces opposite me, I am not surprised.

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Quasi-autonomous Organisations

3. Mr. Llwyd : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will list all those individuals who hold two or more positions on quasi- autonomous non-governmental organisations in Wales.

The Secretary of State for Wales (Mr. David Hunt) : I shall arrange for the list of 47 names, out of the total of over 1,200 public appointments, to be published in the Official Report.

Mr. Llwyd : We are assured by the Secretary of State that politics have no part in the appointment of people to quangos in Wales--and that goes presumably for the new chairman of the Gwynedd area heatlth authority, the former Tory party chairman in the Caernarfon constituency, and for the late lamented Mr. Grist and others. I could name several hundred of them in Wales. Given this insidious system, is it not time that the Secretary of State introduced an element of positive discrimination so as to introduce some form of legitimacy into this terrible system in Wales?

Mr. Skinner : Why did Dafydd Thomas go to the House of Lords then?

Mr. Hunt : That famous saying--the Lords is not a quango--will presumably go into the Official Report. I am not too sure whether it was in order.

Of course appointments are made on merit. Instead of sniping from the sidelines, it would be helpful if the hon. Gentleman suggested names of individuals whom he thinks are suitable for public office. I shall, of course, consider them in the usual way.

Mr. Richards : Will my right hon. Friend tell the House whether some individuals are appointed to two or more non-departmental bodies purely because that generates cohesion between various bodies? Does that not lead to a greater understanding between non-governmental bodies and ultimately to better government in Wales?

Mr. Kinnock : It takes two to quango.

Mr. Hunt : I hope that that is not in the Official Report. The House has decided previously that an individual may sit on more than one of those bodies in Wales. It has decided, for example, that the chairman of the Development Board for Rural Wales should sit also on the board of the Welsh Development Agency. My hon. Friend rightly reminds the hon. Member for Meirionnydd Nant Conwy (Mr. Llwyd) of those important facts.

Mr. Alex Carlile : Does the Secretary of State agree that, whenever possible, political patronage is best avoided? If so, what is his policy on advertising for people wishing to be appointed to public bodies? Will he start to advertise, to draw on the widest possible selection?

Mr. Hunt : Yes. We have advertised and, as I told the Select Committee, we are placing composite advertisements in Welsh newspapers asking people to come forward to be considered for public office. I take this opportunity to thank the hon. and learned Gentleman, who is one of the Members of Parliament who submit the names of suitable individuals. I have been able to respond by appointing them to public office.

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Mr. Dickens : May I ask my right hon. Friend, on behalf of all the wonderful ladies of Wales, to state what action he or his Department is taking to ensure that more Welsh ladies serve on such bodies?

Mr. Hunt : My hon. Friend has hit on an important point. Of the appointments that we make to public bodies in Wales, 18 per cent. are women. I have clearly said that I would like the target to be 30 per cent., and I hope to achieve that by 1996.

Mr. Barry Jones : Why does the right hon. Gentleman appoint persons from the Wirral to quangos in Wales? Will he concentrate on being the Secretary of State for Wales rather than the Secretary of State for the Wirral? Why does he appoint people to quangos in Wales when at the same time he plans to take away assisted area status from Deeside and to prevent the expansion of Deeside industrial park, which is adjacent to the Wirral?

Mr. Hunt : The assisted area review is another matter. As to appointments, I understand that in preparation for Labour winning the general election, the hon. Member for Alyn and Deeside (Mr. Jones) and the right hon. Member for Islwyn (Mr. Kinnock) had a little list of people who would be suitable for appointment. If they will share that little list with me, it might help--I might well be able to appoint some of those persons to public office. By keeping that list quiet, the hon. Gentleman does himself and his right hon. and hon. Friends no good at all.

Mr. Ron Davies : Does the Secretary of State really understand the contempt and derision that he is bringing on the Welsh Office by the way in which he exercises his patronage over public appointments, especially as neither the right hon. Gentleman nor his party has a mandate from the people of Wales? Nevertheless, the right hon. Gentleman appoints Conservative party hacks. Is it not clear that quangos produce neither more effective nor more efficient administrations than democratic structures? Does the right hon. Gentleman accept that it is time that all such matters were made subject to proper democratic control and scrutiny through a Welsh assembly?

Mr. Hunt : Democratic accountability lies in this Chamber, and it is evidenced by the fact that the hon. Gentleman raised those questions with me--[ Interruption.] I say to the Opposition Back Benchers who shouted at me that Labour has not denied the existence of that little list. I should like to see it, so that I can consider appointing people from Wales, irrespective of their party affiliation--which I always endeavour to do.

Following is the information :

List of individuals holding two or more appointments on public bodies in Wales.



J. D. Allen CBE                                       |1. Chair, Housing for Wales.                                                                               

                                                      |2. Deputy Chair, Land Authority                                                                            

                                                      |for Wales.                                                                                                 


Dr. H. R. Bichan                                      |1. Chair, Welsh Industrial                                                                                 

                                                      |Development Advisory Board.                                                                                

                                                      |2. Member, Court of Governors,                                                                             

                                                      |UC North Wales.                                                                                            


Dr. W. B. Clee                                        |1. Member, Welsh Committee on                                                                              

                                                      |Drug Misuse.                                                                                               

                                                      |2. Member, Advisory Council on                                                                             

                                                      |Misuse of Drugs.                                                                                           


A. G. Cox                                             |1. Member, Cardiff Bay develop-                                                                            

                                                      |ment corporation.                                                                                          

                                                      |2. Member, Higher Education                                                                                

                                                      |Funding Council.                                                                                           


Prof. G. C. Crompton                                  |1. Joint Committee on                                                                                      

                                                      |Vaccination and                                                                                            


                                                      |2. Member, Public Health                                                                                   

                                                      |Laboratory Service Board.                                                                                  


R. Cuthbertson                                        |1. Member, Health Promotion                                                                                

                                                      |Authority for Wales.                                                                                       

                                                      |2. Member, Gwynedd district                                                                                

                                                      |health authority.                                                                                          


E. Glyn Davies                                        |1. Chair, Development Board for                                                                            

                                                      |Rural Wales. As Chair of                                                                                   

                                                      |DBRW Mr. Davies also sits on                                                                               

                                                      |the Welsh Development                                                                                      

                                                      |Agency (ex officio member).                                                                                

                                                      |2. Member, Wales tourist board.                                                                            


T. G. R. Davies                                       |1. Chair, Wales Youth Agency.                                                                              

                                                      |2. Member, Sports Council for                                                                              



Prof. B. C. Dimond                                    |1. Member, Mid Glamorgan                                                                                   

                                                      |family health services author-                                                                             


                                                      |2. Member, Mental Health Act                                                                               



Prof. Sir H. Duthie                                   |1. Member, South Glamorgan                                                                                 


                                                      |2. Member, Committee for the                                                                               

                                                      |Welsh Scheme for the                                                                                       

                                                      |Development of Health                                                                                      

                                                      |and Social Research.                                                                                       


R. Ellis                                              |1. Member, Welsh Health                                                                                    

                                                      |Common Services Authority.                                                                                 

                                                      |2. Member, Housing for Wales.                                                                              

A. Evans OBE                                          |1. Chair, Hill Farming Advisory                                                                            

                                                      |Committee for Wales.                                                                                       

                                                      |2. Member, Food From Britain Council                                                                       


R. G. Gee                                             |1. Member, Development Board                                                                               

                                                      |for Rural Wales.                                                                                           

                                                      |2. Member, Court of Governors,                                                                             

                                                      |t. Davids UC Lampeter.                                                                                     


E. M. W. Griffith CBE                                 |1. Chair, Glan Clwyd District                                                                              

                                                      |General Hospital NHS Trust.                                                                                

                                                      |2. Chair, Countryside Council for                                                                          


                                                      |3. Member, Higher Education                                                                                

                                                      |Funding Council for Wales.                                                                                 


R. M. Howells                                         |1. Member, Agriculture Advisory                                                                            

                                                      |Panel for Wales.                                                                                           

                                                      |2. Member, Hill Farming Advisory Committee for Wales.                                                      


B. H. R. Hudson-Davies                                |1. Member, Cardiff Bay develop-                                                                            

                                                      |ment corporation.                                                                                          

                                                      |2. Member, Powys DHA.                                                                                      


G. D. Inkin OBE                                       |1. Chair, Cardiff Bay develop-                                                                             

                                                      |ment corporation.                                                                                          

                                                      |2. Chair, Land Authority for                                                                               



G1. L. Jones                                          |1. Chair, West Glamorgan                                                                                   


                                                      |2. Member, Land Authority for                                                                              



Dr. M. Gwyn Jones                                     |1. Chair, Welsh Development                                                                                


                                                      |2. BBC National Governor for                                                                               

                                                      |Wales. (sits on S4C Authority)                                                                             

                                                      |3. Member, Court of Governors                                                                              

                                                      |UC Swansea.                                                                                                


T. Jones                                              |1. Member, Agriculture Advisory                                                                            

                                                      |Panel for Wales.                                                                                           

                                                      |2. Coleg Normal Board of                                                                                   



Dr. M. R. Keen                                        |1. Member, Welsh Committee on                                                                              

                                                      |Drug Misuse.                                                                                               

                                                      |2. Member, Advisory Council on                                                                             

                                                      |Misuse of Drugs.                                                                                           


R. W. S. Knight                                       |1. Member, Land Authority for                                                                              


                                                      |2. Member, Board of Governors                                                                              

                                                      |Cardiff Institute of Higher                                                                                


R. K. Lacey                                           |1. Member, Local Government                                                                                

                                                      |Boundary Commission for                                                                                    


                                                      |2. Member, Urban Investment                                                                                

                                                      |Grant Appraisal                                                                                            


Councillor P. J. Law                                  |1. Member, Welsh Language                                                                                  


                                                      |2. Member, Gwent FHSA.                                                                                     

Mrs. C. E. Lewis                                      |1. Member, Development Board                                                                               

                                                      |for Rural Wales.                                                                                           

                                                      |2. Member, Health Promotion                                                                                

                                                      |Authority for Wales.                                                                                       

I. R. Lloyd                                           |1. Member, South Glamorgan                                                                                 


                                                      |2. Member, Swansea Institute of                                                                            

                                                      |Higher Education Board of                                                                                  


Mrs. F. M. Lynch-Llewellyn                            |1. Member, Ancient Monuments                                                                               

                                                      |Board for Wales.                                                                                           

                                                      |2. Member, Snowdonia National                                                                              

                                                      |Park Committee.                                                                                            

D. G. Margetts                                        |1. Member, Powys DHA.                                                                                      

                                                      |2. Member, Further Education                                                                               

                                                      |Funding Council for Wales.                                                                                 

J. Morgan                                             |1. Member, Development Board                                                                               

                                                      |for Rural Wales.                                                                                           

                                                      |2. Member, Court of National                                                                               

                                                      |Library of Wales.                                                                                          

I. Phillips                                           |1. Member South Glamorgan                                                                                  


                                                      |2. Member, Welsh Committee for                                                                             

                                                      |Postgraduate Pharmaceutical                                                                                


R. Pratt                                              |1. Member, Pembrokeshire Coast                                                                             

                                                      |National Park Committee.                                                                                   

                                                      |2. Member, Agriculture Advisory                                                                            

                                                      |Panel for Wales.                                                                                           

E. Rae, OBE                                           |1. Member, Development Board                                                                               

                                                      |for Rural Wales.                                                                                           

                                                      |2. Member, Welsh Language Board.                                                                           

R. E. M. Rees, CBE                                    |1. Chair, Agricultural Advisory                                                                            

                                                      |Panel for Wales.                                                                                           

                                                      |2. Member, Meat and Livestock                                                                              


R. P. V. Rees                                         |1. Member, Land Authority for                                                                              


                                                      |2. Member, Welsh Development                                                                               


                                                      |3. Member, Board of Governors,                                                                             

                                                      |University of Glamorgan.                                                                                   

Prof. A. Richens                                      |1. Member, Gwent FHSA                                                                                      

                                                      |2. Member, Standing Medical                                                                                

                                                      |Advisory Committee.                                                                                        


Dr. Brynley Roberts                                   |1. Member, Library and                                                                                     

                                                      |Information Services Council.                                                                              

                                                      |2. Member, Higher Education                                                                                

                                                      |Funding Council for Wales.                                                                                 


Prof. N. R. E. Robertson                              |1. Member, South Glamorgan                                                                                 


                                                      |2. Member, Welsh Scheme for the                                                                            

                                                      |Development of Health and                                                                                  

                                                      |Social Research.                                                                                           


Mrs. P. Ryan                                          |1. Member, Curriculum Council                                                                              

                                                      |for Wales.                                                                                                 

                                                      |2. Member, Further Education                                                                               

                                                      |Funding Council for Wales.                                                                                 


Prof. P. S. J. Spencer                                |1. Member, Board of                                                                                        

                                                      |Governmors, Gwent College of                                                                               

                                                      |Higher Education.                                                                                          

                                                      |2. Member, Medicines Commission.                                                                           

                                                      |3. Member, Standing                                                                                        

                                                      |Pharmaceutical Committee for                                                                               

                                                      |England and Wales.                                                                                         

                                                      |4. Member, Welsh Committee for                                                                             

                                                      |Postgraduate Pharmaceutical                                                                                



G. Stanley Jones                                      |1. Member, Court of Governors                                                                              

                                                      |of UC Aberystwyth.                                                                                         

                                                      |2. Chair-appointed as member,                                                                              

                                                      |elected by membership-                                                                                     

                                                      |Welsh College of Music and                                                                                 



Prof. E. Sunderland                                   |1. Member, Welsh Language                                                                                  


                                                      |2. Member, Court of National                                                                               

                                                      |Museum of Wales.                                                                                           


Dr. D. J. Temple                                      |1. Member, Welsh Committee on                                                                              

                                                      |Drug Misuse.                                                                                               

                                                      |2. Member, Advisory Council on                                                                             

                                                      |Misuse of Drugs.                                                                                           


B. K. Thomas                                          |1. Member, Cardiff Bay develop-                                                                            

                                                      |ment corporation.                                                                                          

                                                      |2. Member, Countryside Council                                                                             



M. Wallace OBE                                        |1. Chair, Further Education                                                                                

                                                      |Funding Council.                                                                                           

                                                      |2. Member, Welsh Industrial                                                                                

                                                      |Development Advisory Board.                                                                                


Sir F. Donald Walters                                 |1. Chair, Llandough Hospital                                                                               

                                                      |NHS Trust.                                                                                                 

                                                      |2. Dep Chair, Welsh                                                                                        

                                                      |Development Agency.                                                                                        

                                                      |3. Member, Development Board                                                                               

                                                      |for Rural Wales.                                                                                           


D. S. Williams                                        |1. Member, West Glamorgan                                                                                  


                                                      |2. Professional Member, Rent                                                                               

                                                      |Assessment Panel for Wales.                                                                                


Prof. P. Williams                                     |1. Chair, Housing Management                                                                               

                                                      |Advisory Panel for Wales.                                                                                  

                                                      |2. Member, Housing for Wales.                                                                              

Coal Mining

4. Mrs. Gorman : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will make a statement on the future of coal mining in Wales.

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Mr. David Hunt : The outcome of the Government's review of the coal industry will be set out in a White Paper to be published in the new year.

Mrs. Gorman : I am sure that my right hon. Friend will be pleased to know that recently I was fortunate enough to visit north Wales, where I met a number of people who lived in the vicinity of the Point of Ayr coal pit, in the constituency of the hon. Member for Delyn (Mr. Hanson). They strongly made the case for their pit to be taken over by a consortium of local miners and other local people. They feel that it could well be one of the most productive pits in the area.

As my right hon. Friend will know, a large number of north Wales pits are privately owned and run, and I believe that 90 pits in the Principality overall fall into that class. The local people feel strongly that they could make a very good go of keeping their pit open, if only they were given the opportunity. Will my right hon. Friend consider putting that point to our right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry?

Mr. Hunt : My hon. Friend is right to draw attention to the role of the private sector in Welsh coal mining. We have more than 90 licensed mines--two thirds of the United Kingdom total--which employ about 1,300 people in Wales. I agree with my hon. Friend about the importance of the private deep-mined sector.

I regard the Point of Ayr pit as an extremely good one ; I have visited it and have been underground. The future is, of course, a matter for British Coal, as it has always been, but I very much hope that British Coal will consider any reasonble offer from the private sector.

Mr. Hanson : Will the Secretary of State join me in congratulating the miners of the Point of Ayr colliery, whom I visited last Friday and who last week--yet again--broke all production target records, proving how profitable and viable the pit can be? Will the right hon. Gentleman take it from me--not from the hon. Member for Billericay (Mrs. Gorman), who represents a seat in Essex--that the one thing that the miners, their families and their north Wales community do not want is privatisation? They wish to remain part of British Coal, productively and viably, and to make a success of their livelihoods and their future.

Mr. Hunt : The hon. Gentleman should be careful about trying to introduce party political division to this subject. A number of hon. Members on both sides of the House would like Welsh coal mining to develop, in the private sector.

I join the hon. Gentleman in paying tribute to the Point of Ayr work force. Hon. Members who are familiar with the coal mining industry will know how difficult it is to move from the longwall mining technique to continuous mining, but the Point of Ayr miners have achieved that with remarkable success. I hope, therefore, that the hon. Gentleman will accept the suggestions made by my hon. Friend the Member for Billericay (Mrs. Gorman) for securing the pit's future. All those aspects should be considered--but, as I said at the outset, the question of individual pits must be a matter for British Coal.

Mr. Nigel Evans : As my right hon. Friend and you, Madam Speaker, will know, I was born in Wales, and I know all about the past--if not, perhaps, the future--of the coal mining industry in that country. Will my right

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hon. Friend remind the House how many pits were closed during the 1960s and 1970s under Labour Administrations?

Mr. Hunt : My hon. Friend is right : 331 pits were closed under Labour Governments. That is an enormous total. Of course, pits have closed under all Governments ; the difficulty that now faces British Coal is that it produces more coal than it can sell. All those points will be carefully considered in the energy review that is being supervised by my right hon. Friend the President of the Board of Trade.

Mr. Denzil Davies : The Secretary of State has made what strikes some of us as a disturbing statement. He said that, if British Coal were not prepared to transfer its licences to another operator, that was a decision entirely for British Coal. Will the right hon. Gentleman and the President of the Board of Trade make it clear that, if British Coal refuses to hold tenders, the licences will be taken away from it and will be issued by the Government in the future?

Mr. Hunt : I am grateful for the opportunity to clarify exactly what I said. I said--as all coal Ministers have said from the Dispatch Box--that decisions on individual pits must be a matter for British Coal. Returning to the point raised by my hon. Friend the Member for Billericay about whether there should be a viable private sector place for the Point of Ayr colliery--or, indeed, for Betws--I very much hope that British Coal will give careful consideration to any such proposal. If I become aware of circumstances in which British Coal is not prepared to give proper scrutiny to a private sector bid, I trust that the right hon. Member for Llanelli (Mr. Davies)--and others on both sides of the House--will make me aware of them.

Male Unemployment

5. Mr. Roy Hughes : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what is the figure for male unemployment in Wales at the latest available date.

Mr. Gwilym Jones : As at October 1992, the seasonally adjusted male unemployment figure in Wales was 103,000.

Mr. Hughes : In view of the shattering blow suffered by Newport over the weekend with the announcement of the proposed closure of the GEC- Marconi factory and the loss of 400 jobs, I should have thought that the Secretary of State would at least have the decency to answer my question. Does the Minister appreciate that this is essentially a high-tech factory and that no equivalent work is available locally? Will the Secretary of State, with his colleagues, the Secretary of State for Defence and the President of the Board of Trade, intervene to prevent the closure from taking place?

Mr. Jones : It would be unrealistic not to accept that there have been unwelcome announcements such as the news from GEC-Marconi. I note, however, that the hon. Gentleman does nothing to acknowledge the excellent news about the 200 maintained and the 280 new jobs at the two INMOS factories in Newport--one of which I believe is in the hon. Gentleman's constituency--or the other recent announcements of support for 300 new jobs at Ford of Treforest and 200-plus new jobs at Robertson of Treforest or the Australian investment at Amcor of Mold

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leading to the creation of 150 new jobs there. There is certainly a positive side to the coin, and the hon. Gentleman should take that into account.

Mr. Kinnock : May I say, without any discourtesy to the Minister, that the Opposition find it peculiar that the Secretary of State is not answering questions on employment in Wales? May I put it to the hon. Gentleman that if pressures continue on the Royal Ordnance factory in Galscoed, there will be more job losses at the ROF, and that that will be poor reward for half a century of loyal, highly skilled service to the defence of the nation and in the production of excellent products? Will the Minister ensure that, at all levels in the Government, full account is taken of the change in strategic needs so as to ensure that we manage to continue to use to the maximum the skills and commitment of the people at Galscoed?

Mr. Jones : I accept that the right hon. Gentleman intended no discourtesy, and there is no discourtesy in my suggestion in return that the doom and gloom that the right hon. Gentleman always preached as a Leader of the Opposition who lost two general elections would have done nothing to reduce unemployment in Wales. If he were at the Dispatch Box now, he would be accepting the social chapter of the Maastricht treaty, which would mean another 70,000 unemployed in Wales.

Mr. Rowlands : Is the hon. Gentleman aware that, as a result of the large loss of male full-time employment, the valley communities' per capita share of gross domestic product is now barely 70 per cent. of the national average? What significant additional funds will come from the Welsh Office or from the funds agreed at Edinburgh to create some degree of convergence and cohesion between the economies of the valley communities and that of the nation as a whole? The principles of cohesion and convergence should surely apply within the United Kingdom as within Europe.

Mr. Jones : The hon. Gentleman again ignores the recent announcement that my right hon. Friend was able to make to the effect that, in the coming financial year, here will be a total of £243 million, through the Welsh Development Agency and regional selective assistance, to help industry and redevelopment, especially in the valleys of south Wales. The hon. Gentleman chooses to ignore the fact that the latest figures show that average earnings in Wales are increasing faster than the United Kingdom average and that our unemployment rate is now lower than that for the United Kingdom as a whole.

Mr. Morgan : There is great concern in the Newport area following the announcement about GEC-Marconi and there are fears, too, that, on top of the job losses, Newport will lose its assisted area status when the assisted area review is completed. The same applies to Deeside and to the Cardiff travel-to-work area, where, in the past few weeks, there have been 200 redundancies at Wiggins Teape and 260 further redundancies at Powell Duffryn Standard and at the British Rail wagon works in Cathays. The curious thing about those job losses is that none of them relates to the recession in trade : they all relate to the Government's incompetence in handling transport and defence matters. Will the hon. Gentleman give us a guarantee that all those job losses will be fully taken into account before any areas in Wales are downgraded for assisted area purposes?

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Mr. Jones : All pertinent matters will be taken fully into account by my right hon. Friends and by the President of the Board of Trade as he conducts his review of assisted area status. Already, we should be able to point to the successes that the present policy is achieving. The hon. Gentleman would probably be interested to know that, in the first three quarters of this year alone, regional selective assistance succeeded in attracting and maintaining almost 8,000 jobs in Wales.

Cereals Scheme

6. Mr. Roger Evans : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will make a statement as to the statistical basis for his decision to make Wales a separate single region for the cereals scheme ; and if he will deposit the relevant detailed statistical information in the Library.

Mr. David Hunt : The statistical basis is the cereal production survey which was conducted over the 1986 to 1990 harvest years. The data shown are in the United Kingdom regionalisation plan, a copy of which has already been placed in the Library of the House.

Mr. Evans : Will my right hon. Friend confirm that the statistical data to which he referred are inadequate to separate regions within Wales that have very different cereal outputs? Will he please explain why, if that is the only reason, he has treated Wales as a single region, whereas Scotland has been treated as two regions, with less-favoured areas treated differently? Will my right hon. Friend he let us know what steps he proposes to take to put right that extraordinary state of affairs next year?

Mr. Kinnock : Answer.

Mr. Hunt : I have to say to my hon. Friend--I need no help from the right hon. Member for Islwyn (Mr. Kinnock)--that the data are insufficient. I recognise that. What I have said to my hon. Friend and to other hon. Friends who have contacted me on behalf of their constituents, and indeed to the leaders of the National Farmers Union, is that we have to find a better statistical basis. We are now conducting a survey to find ways in which we can have more reliable data on which to base our decisions for the second and subsequent years, because this decision is for only the first year.

Mr. Alex Carlile : I have written to the right hon. Gentleman about farmers in my constituency who are farming very near the English border and who are obtaining substantially less than their colleagues a few miles away in relation to cereal production. If at all possible, will the right hon. Gentleman try to secure a more level playing field on the issue next year so that cereal producers in Montgomeryshire, for example, are not placed at a disadvantage compared with colleagues in Shropshire, particularly when some farms actually cross the English-Welsh border?

Mr. Hunt : Those cross-border comparisons work both ways, as the hon. and learned Gentleman is aware. I was advised that I did not have sufficient statistical data on which to base a decision to look forward on a county basis or on a less-favoured area/non-LFA basis, and I am doing everything possible to ensure that I have the right statistical information on which I can base a decision for the second and subsequent years.

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Milan (Ministerial Visit)

7. Mr. Richards : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what was the outcome of the Minister of State's visit to Milan ; and if he will make a statement.

Sir Wyn Roberts : My visit to Milan was made in connection with the second highly successful Welsh Office trade mission to Lombardy. It gave me the opportunity to reinforce contacts and to open formally, on behalf of Control Techniques plc of Newtown, Powys, the new factory of its Italian subsidiary, Soprel.

Mr. Richards : I am grateful to my right hon. Friend. Was there any positive financial outcome to his visit to Milan? If so, is he considering making similar visits to Milan and, indeed, to many other parts of the world which in the past have proved so fruitful in bringing jobs to Wales?

Sir Wyn Roberts : I am delighted to tell my hon. Friend that there was a very positive outcome in that the companies on the export mission returned with more than £5 million worth of orders. As that and other export missions have been so successful and are clearly of great benefit to Wales, my right hon. Friend and I are considering how we might expand the programme.

Mr. Flynn : Did the Minister discuss with the Italians their investment in Welsh industry, especially to create jobs in the Agrate area? Unfortunately, those Welsh jobs will now become Italian jobs. From 1993 the INMOS transputer graphite chip will be produced in France and Italy only. When shall we get investment in Welsh technology, particularly for the Newport Wafer Fab Company, on the same scale as that invested by the French and Italian Governments in their industries? The truth is that in the future there will be 200 jobs in INMOS when once there were 850. We have also lost 500 jobs from Marconi. How can we be anything but gloomy about that situation?

Sir Wyn Roberts : I am sure that the hon. Gentleman is aware of the development at INMOS whereby I understand that additional investment from a Hong Kong-based company will lead to additional jobs. Of course, investment is international these days. I spoke to representatives of the distinguished Italian company, Cogefar Impresit, the largest building contractor in Italy and a subsidiary in Fiat, which has invested extensively in Cardiff and is interested in further investment in south Wales.

Valleys Initiative

8. Mr. Hain : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will make a statement about the future of the valleys initiative programme.

Mr. David Hunt : I will make an announcement in due course.

Mr. Hain : The Secretary of State will be aware from figures that he has given to me that one in three male adults covered by the valleys initiative programme are now out of work ; they are either on the official unemployment register or economically inactive. That unemployment rate is much higher than elsewhere in the United Kingdom, especially for those in the economically inactive category. When the

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right hon. Gentleman makes his announcement, what specific proposals will be included to address the problems faced by village communities up the valleys--communities which are dying? I have spoken to the right hon. Gentleman about those communities and I know of his interest in them. They are industrial villages and they need to become areas of high technology, high quality and high skills. They need a distinct strategy and investment from the Welsh Office and the Welsh Development Agency to achieve that.

Mr. Hunt : The hon. Gentleman and several of his hon. Friends have put proposals to me and I am now considering how best to develop the initiative. I hope that implicit in everything that is said is a recognition of the fact that the programme for the valleys was a good initiative taken by my predecessor, Peter Walker, now Lord Walker, which has achieved positive results. There is, of course, much more still to do.

Mr. Richards : Has my right hon. Friend estimated what the level of unemployment in the valleys would have been, had it not been for the valleys initiative and had unemployment in Wales increased according to the national average?

Mr. Hunt : My hon. Friend raises an important point. Since the programme started, unemployment in the valleys has gone down from 34, 000 to under 33,000. Had the unemployment rate in the valleys gone up in accordance with the United Kingdom average, nearly 10,000 more people would be unemployed in the valleys. I hope that the House recognises the importance and value of the valleys initiative.

Mr. Murphy : The Secretary of State will realise that there are other problems apart from unemployment in the valleys. Is it not time that we had a housing initiative in our valleys to allow district councils to build homes once again, or a schools initiative concentrating on books and equipment instead of the silly league tables that were published last week? Does the right hon. Gentleman appreciate that the only way in which the valleys initiative can succeed is when he works with and not against our local valley councils? We call on him to set up a valleys standing conference of the valley local authorities which can act as the engine for the proper revitalisation of our valley communities.

Mr. Hunt : I gain great strength from the fact that the Welsh Office and the local authorities work in close partnership in the valleys area. One of the first meetings that I had when I was visiting every valley was with the local authorities. The hon. Gentleman must not downplay the achievements that the Welsh Office and the local authorities have had in the valleys area. There is, of course, more to be done, but the largest land clearance programme anywhere in Europe is currently being undertaken in the valleys. A great many things are taking place, including the remarkably successful experiment on community revival strategies. Five communities were given £500,000 each by the Welsh Office towards local community projects. I am now reviewing the results of all those strategies with a view to taking the programme for the valleys forward when it comes to a close at the end of March. I am determined to make sure that we learn all the lessons that must be learnt from the past and present programmes.

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Quasi-autonomous Non-governmental Organisations

9. Mr. Ieuan Wyn Jones : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what plans he has to publish the party political affiliations of those he appoints to public bodies and quasi-autonomous non-governmental organisations in Wales.

Sir Wyn Roberts : None. This information is not held centrally.

Mr. Jones : Presumably the Minister of State is reluctant to tell the House about the party political affiliation of appointees because recent analysis showed that 65 per cent. of appointees were Conservatives or had leanings towards the Conservative cause. The invitation of the Secretary of State for Wales for the production of lists is irrelevant, because a Conservative Secretary of State is bound to appoint more Conservatives than anyone else, as the record shows. The Minister must surely be aware that we are talking not about the appointment of the odd Liberal, Labour or Plaid sympathiser but about a system that is wrong. It is a grotesque distortion of the democratic process and the best argument for a Welsh Parliament that I have ever heard.

Sir Wyn Roberts : The hon. Gentleman really does astonish me. We do not ask prospective appointees, either on our nomination lists or in conversation, what their policies are. If they reveal on their nomination forms that they are active in politics as part of their qualification to serve the public, that is a matter for them, but we have no record of appointees' political affiliations. The hon. Gentleman does no service to his own supporters or to those of Opposition or Conservative Members by seeming to imply that activity in a political organisation somehow disbars a person from office. We have heard about the Labour party's "little list". I wonder whether Plaid Cymru has a little list, or whether the hon. Gentleman is able to make any recommendations, because I do not recall hearing from him about anyone he wished or thought suitable to be nominated for office.

Mr. Jonathan Evans : Will my right hon. Friend entirely resist the McCarthyite sentiments being shouted from the Opposition Benches? Will he note that the chairman of Housing for Wales was asked recently by the Chairman of the Select Committee on Welsh Affairs whether he had ever been a member of the Conservative party and said that he had first been appointed to public office 18 years ago by a Labour Government? Will he further note that there will be incredulity in Wales at the remarks of the hon. Member for Caerphilly (Mr. Davies), discounting so many public servants as party hacks, especially the noble Lord Brooks who holds two such appointments as well as being a former leader of the Labour group on South Glamorgan county council?

Sir Wyn Roberts : I hope that the country as well as the House heard what my hon. Friend said. The Labour party's obsession with the political affiliations of public appointees takes us back to the time when it regularly appointed failed Labour candidates to high office in Wales ; quangos were very much its preserve. The obsession of the hon. Member for Caerphilly with quangos and appointments shows that Labour is already thinking in terms of its little list, as my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State called it.

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Mr. Kinnock : May I remind the Minister of State that it was Gilbert and Sullivan who had a little list and not Kinnock and Jones? Quango appointments of people with associations--I put it no stronger--with the Conservative cause in Wales have reached almost one-party state level. The extent of the Minister's embarrassment is evidenced by the length of his completely unconvincing answers on the subject.

Sir Wyn Roberts : I note that the right hon. Gentleman has not denied the existence of the list. He has thrown it away with a reference to Gilbert and Sullivan, but he has not denied its existence and there are some guilty faces on the Labour Front Bench. Party affiliation, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder. I am sure that there are many people whom the Labour party considers to be Conservative political hacks, as it calls them, but who in fact are not, and perhaps many people who I think may belong to the Labour party but who do not.

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