§ 3. Mr. Anderson
To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what discussions he has had with Community officials about the funding of infrastructure projects.
§ The Secretary of State for Wales (Mr. Peter Walker)
I am in constant touch with the negotiations with the European Commission on Community support frameworks. Officials of my Department are playing an active part in discussions with Commission officials on this issue.
§ Mr. Anderson
The Secretary of State will be aware of my interest in the cross-valley link from Hafod, in the lower Swansea valley, to the Pentrechwyth bypass. Is he aware that, at last, tenders for it are to be invited this week? The assessment of infrastructure grants affects the whole of Wales. Will there be a transitional period before the new regime comes into effect? Has the right hon. Gentleman been successful in his lobbying in Brussels?
§ Mr. Morgan
Will the Secretary of State come clean with the House about what has been happening in the negotiations between his Department and the European Community, following the recent statement by Bruce Milian, the responsible Commissioner, at the conference in Cardiff that there will be no further grants for highway infrastructure projects in areas such as Wales? If that is so, was that loss of grant, which will probably amount to £40 million, and was caused by his Department debarring county councils such as South Glamorgan and West Glamorgan from applying for grants, the reason why he has had to cut the capital allocation to areas such as Cardiff by £40 million in the next financial year?
§ Mr. Walker
I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman, who kindly always prefaces his questions to me by releasing them to the newspapers the morning before. One can read the nonsense in advance in the papers. What he has just said is equal nonsense. There is no link between capital expenditure in Cardiff and that in South Glamorgan. His previous allegations about Welsh Office blunders with respect to grants are also wrong. I suggest that, in future, he checks the facts before he makes press releases.
§ Mr. Barry Jones
Does the right hon. Gentleman agree that one of our problems in Europe is that the Prime Minister is in a disturbing minority of one? Will he take her aside and tell her to stop damaging the interests of our country? Is it not the case that rather than leading Britain in Europe she is humiliating us and that the interests of Wales are also being seriously hurt?
§ Mr. Walker
I welcome the conversion of part of the Labour party to Europe. As the Commissioner involved in the negotiations is a former Socialist Cabinet Minister responsible for regional policy, I hope that his proposals will suit Britain in Europe.