§ 17. Mr. Brandon-Bravo
asked the Secretary of State for Energy what information he has about the aggregate investment generated so far by British Coal Enterprise Ltd.
§ Mr. Peter Walker
British Coal Enterprise Ltd. has itself committed £18.8 million in support of some 800 individual projects. Over £100 million has been generated for these projects from other sources, such as banks, local authorities, Government grants and other enterprise agencies.
§ Mr. Brandon-Bravo
I am grateful for my right hon. Friend's answer. I welcome the high percentage of other resources to add to those of British Coal Enterprise Ltd. I ask my right hon. Friend to consider another aspect. During that terrible strike, and since, the miners in the so-called good areas of long life were accused of an "I'm all right, Jack" attitude. Therefore, will he assure the House that British Coal Enterprise Ltd. will always have sufficient funds so that that charge is never allowed to stick?
§ Mr. Walker
I mentioned that £18.8 million has already been provided. I have already allocated up to £40 million to the enterprise company. I have made it clear that, in my judgment, it is not a financial limitation but a matter of finding job opportunities. I am delighted to say that so far nearly 12,000 new job opportunities have been created in coalmining communities. Therefore, if one examines the amount of money expended so far, one will see that it is likely that around 25,000 new jobs will be provided under the new programme. The mining community will consider that programme an exciting one.
§ Mr. Rowlands
Is the Minister aware that British Coal Enterprise is refusing to give any information or detail about where these jobs are, what types of jobs they are and what companies are being supported? Therefore, it has been impossible to evaluate what the impact in our communities of British Coal Enterprise will be. Many of us still do not see much evidence of its working.
§ Mr. Walker
I am saddened at the constant way in which the Labour party has bickered about British Coal Enterprise. In view of the tens of thousands of mining jobs lost during the Labour Government, it is a pity that there was not an enterprise company then.