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EDITIONS
Tuesday, 3 September, 2002, 12:22 GMT 13:22 UK
Companies urged to invest in region
ITV Digital call centre
The ITV Digital operation at Pembroke Dock collapsed in May
Nearly 50 companies are poised to invest more than 60m creating 1,200 jobs in an area of Wales which has been hard-hit by successive job losses in recent months.

The Welsh Assembly says it has offered various grants schemes to attract companies to create the jobs and safeguard more than 350 others in south west Wales.

Andrew Davies
Minister Andrew Davies: Confident

The grants, under the Regional Selective Assistance and the assembly's New Investment schemes are aimed at attracting businesses to the needier parts of Wales.

They are paid out after companies meet pre-agreed job and investment targets.

This comes as welcome news to the region where more than 2,600 job losses have been announced within the last six months.

The majority of the redundancies have been caused by the pull-out of two major employers.

About 1,000 workers lost their jobs at the ITV Digital call centre in Pembroke Dock while almost 1,000 people are being laid off by the Dewhirst clothing company at their factories in Swansea, Cardigan and Fishguard.

Welsh Economic Development Minister Andrew Davies told BBC Radio Wales that the assembly government was negotiating with almost 50 companies who are together seeking to invest more than 60m.

But he refused to be drawn on the exact nature of the jobs and said they were not guaranteed.

"Last year we spent a record 139m on these scheme across Wales and these current negotiations are as a result of these successful policies," said the minister.

"These are offers of grants to companies and it is then up to them to take them up when they want to invest.

"I can't say definitely they will be taken up but I'm pretty confident that in most cases they will be."

Expertise

Mr Davies said these latest talks were not particularly as a direct result of the recent job losses in the area.

However, he said discussions were always ongoing to attract new businesses to Wales, particularly to the more deprived Objective One areas such as pockets of south west Wales.

Also on Tuesday, Mr Davies announced millions of pounds in European Union Objective One money to finance the Optic Technium at St Asaph, Denbighshire.

It is part of a nationwide network of industry-specific academia and business partnerships designed to concentrate relevant expertise.

The first Technium was purpose-built at Swansea's Prince of Wales Dock for the general technology sector for 2m in 2000.

A Bio Technium facility is also being developed at the National Botanic Garden of Wales in Carmarthenshire.


Where I Live, South West Wales
See also:

02 Sep 02 | Wales
29 Aug 02 | Wales
11 Jun 02 | Wales
29 Apr 02 | Wales
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