HC Deb 29 July 1952 vol 504 cc1257-8
33. Mr. F. Willey

asked the President of the Board of Trade what progress has been made with the inquiry being held into the administration of the Development Areas.

34. Mr. D. Jones

asked the President of the Board of Trade when he expects to receive the report of the committee on the trading estates; whether he proposes to make this report available to hon. Members; and when.

57. Mr. Chetwynd

asked the President of the Board of Trade if the inquiry into the administration of trading estate companies in the Development Areas has been completed; and what action he is taking on it.

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Trade (Mr. Henry Strauss)

I would refer the hon. Members to the replies which my right hon. Friend gave to the Question of the hon. Member for Sunderland, North (Mr. F. Willey) and to the ensuing supplementary questions on 1st May. As he then explained, he has not appointed any committee but has invited Sir Thomas Phillips and Sir Edward Gillett to give him confidential advice which he expects to receive by about the end of September.

Mr. Willey

Will the Parliamentary Secretary agree that there is considerable interest in the advice that may be given? I am sure it will be of great interest to all connected with the Development Areas. Will he consider whether it is possible to publish the gist of the advice when he receives it so that we may all be cognizant of it?

Mr. Strauss

I agree about the interest in the matter. The House will no doubt have some opportunity of knowing what is done as a result of the advice, but, having asked for confidential advice, it would be wrong of my right hon. Friend to undertake to publish it. What the hon. Gentleman has in mind can probably be considered later when my right hon. Friend receives the advice.

Mr. Jones

Is the hon. and learned Gentleman aware that, as some directors of the trading estate companies gave information to the two gentlemen privately without other members of the companies being present, there is a good deal of interest in the Development Areas and that we should like to know what the conclusions of the two gentlemen are?

Mr. Strauss

I think all hon. Members are agreed in wanting the inquiry to be of the greatest usefulness, but that object would obviously not be promoted if, having asked for a confidential report, one then agreed to publish it.

Mr. Brooman-White

Does the inquiry also cover the problems in the Development Areas in Scotland?

Mr. Strauss

Yes, Sir

Mr. Chetwynd

Can the hon. and learned Gentleman say why it was necessary to have a confidential inquiry? What are the reasons for it? Why could not everything have been made public in the first instance?

Mr. Strauss

If the hon. Gentleman will refer to the Questions which I have mentioned in my reply he will find the answer to his supplementary question.