§ 8. Mr. Kinnock
asked the Secretary of State for Wales what provision he has made for future improvements to the industrial and social infrastructure of Wales.
§ Mr. Peter Thomas
The continuing aim of Government policies is to bring about further improvements in the industrial and social infrastructure of Wales. Expenditure on this is estimated to rise to about £480 million in 1974–75 as compared with £430 million in 1971–72.
§ Mr. Kinnock
May I test the right hon. and learned Gentleman's memory and his credibility? Does he recall that, immediately after the General Election, when the Government were bringing Wales to the verge of ruin by abandoning realistic regional development policies which they have since restored, he and his colleagues put a great deal of emphasis on the value of infrastructural improvement? What has persuaded the right hon. and learned Gentleman since that we do not need £7½ million worth of additional infrastructural improvements, although he has given figures showing that the Government are 973 willing to increase enormously the amount of money they spend to keep the pot boiling in Wales? Against the background of abandoning the regional employment premium as well, the two things together deal an unnecessary and unwarranted blow against the Welsh economy.
§ Mr. Thomas
That is another example of the way the hon. Gentleman exaggerates his case. He has obviously not taken in the fact that in my answer I mentioned that the expenditure on infrastructure is expected to rise about £480 million in 1974–75 compared with £430 million in 1971–72. That is one of the reasons—there are others—why Wales is showing signs of recovery which were not apparent in 1970.
§ Mr. Nicholas Edwards
Does not my right hon. and learned Friend agree that the provision of adequate freight and passenger rail services may be as vital as the provision of other infrastructural services? Will he take full account of this fact in consultation with other members of the Government on the future of rail services in Wales?
§ Mr. Fred Evans
Will the right hon. and learned Gentleman realise that an adequate rail structure is vital to the Welsh economy, particularly the industrial parts of South Wales? Will he, therefore, undertake to press the Government to see that Regulation 1192 of 1969 of the EEC, relating to transport policy, under which British Rail could benefit by 15 classes of financial aid which could help provide the kind of services we need in Wales, is accepted and operated in Wales?
§ Mr. Thomas
All matters which affect the continuation and the improvement of the infrastructure in Wales are looked at with great care by me and other members of the Government.