HC Deb 19 January 1937 vol 319 cc24-5
46. Sir William Jenkins

asked the Prime Minister whether he has considered the petition from the distressed areas of South Wales prepared by the local authorities and a large number of industrial firms and churches; and whether he will, as requested by them, establish a committee of the Cabinet for co-ordinating the functions of Government Departments in regard to matters which form the subject of recommendations of the Commissioners of Special Areas in his report?

The Prime Minister (Mr. Baldwin)

Questions on this subject were put to me on 3rd December last by the hon. Member, and on 30th November by the hon. Member for Leigh (Mr. Tinker). Since that time, and during the Recess, the position of the Special Areas has again been comprehensively studied in connection with the recent reports by the Commissioners. As has already been announced, it is intended to introduce a Bill amending the Special Areas Act; I hope to be able at an early date to announce when the Bill will be introduced.

Sir W. Jenkins

Will the right hon. Gentleman consider the appointing of a Cabinet Committee, as asked in the question?

The Prime Minister

I think what we have been doing is of more practical use, and perhaps that question might be raised in the general debate which will follow the introduction of legislation.

54. Mr. Sexton

asked the Minister of Labour the total amount of grants paid to Weardale rural district council, Stanhope urban district council, Teesdale rural district council, and Barnard Castle urban council, respectively, by the Commissioner for Special Areas for the purpose of giving employment and assisting the local authorities concerned?

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Labour (Lieut.-Colonel Muirhead)

No grants out of the Special Areas Fund have been paid to the Weardale rural, Stanhope urban, and Teesdale rural district councils. The Commissioner for Special Areas (England and Wales) has not been satisfied that the financial position of the first two councils is such that assistance from the Fund toward the cost of schemes is necessary, while the Teesdale rural district is not a Special Area under the Special Areas (Development and Improvement) Act, 1934. The Barnard Castle urban district council is carrying out a small sewerage scheme, estimated to cost £4,300, in association with a larger scheme undertaken by a neighbouring Authority, towards which grant has been promised and, in the special circumstances, an offer of a grant of 25 per cent. of the approved cost has been made to the Barnard Castle council in respect of their portion of the scheme.