§ Mr. David Hunt
The average gross weekly pay of full-time employees on adult rates in Wales in April 1989, which is the latest date for which figures are available, was £215.90 compared with £87.20 in April 1979.
§ Mr. Flynn
Although we are happy to pay generous tributes to local authorities, the Welsh Office and everyone else who has encouraged the good news on employment in Wales in the past few years, we must not be blinded by the glitter referred to by the hon. Member for Clwyd, North-West (Sir A. Meyer). Is the Secretary of State aware that what has really happened and what masks the reality is that a plague of unemployment has spread over Wales during the past decade? We have slipped to the disgraceful position in the new earnings survey to which the Secretary of State referred of having the lowest average pay of any region in Britain. Will the Secretary of State acknowledge, as his predecessor did not, that low pay does great damage? To be paid a low wage is an insult. It is demeaning and it produces a demoralised work force. 668 When will the Secretary of State return us to the level in Wales of a decade ago? The poverty of unemployment has been replaced by the poverty of those in low-paid jobs.
§ Mr. Hunt
The hon. Gentleman did not listen to my reply. The figures that I gave show a 17.6 per cent. real-terms increase in rates of pay since 1979. I recognise that we have problems in Wales, caused by low pay in certain instances and by a low gross domestic product per head, and that we have pockets of poverty. My predecessors and I set a target of raising the quality of life throughout Wales and of spreading prosperity. That is a commitment to which I am securely wedded.