WALES & EMU – 24 May 2000

[The Secretary of State for Wales (Mr Paul Murphy): I receive a number of representations about issues relating to business in general and small businesses in particular. Recently I opened the business exhibition Wales in Cardiff and met many representatives of businesses. Last week I also met Welsh representatives of the British Retail Consortium. The Under-Secretary of State for Wales, my hon. Friend the Member for Delyn (Mr Hanson), has also recently met the Institute of Chartered Accountants.]

Dr Julian Lewis [SUPPLEMENTARY]: I thank the Secretary of State for that highly informative answer. Undoubtedly, a considerable proportion of the many representations that he has received will have highlighted the hostility of small businesses in Wales towards the Government's crazy policy of scrapping the pound and joining the single European currency. Does the level of opposition to that potentially disastrous policy among those representations stand at the national average of two thirds, or at the same level as for small businesses nationally of about 90 per cent. or more?

[Mr Murphy: In all the meetings to which I referred earlier, not one mention was made of the points that the hon. Gentleman has just referred to. I heard the shadow Chancellor on the radio this morning ranting against Europe. The Government and the National Assembly for Wales are working to ensure that small businesses flourish. The Budget helped 29,000 small and medium-sized businesses in Wales. Those are the important issues that people are talking about, not what the hon. Gentleman just said.]