HC Deb 13 March 1952 vol 497 cc1548-9
19. Mr. J. A. Sparks

asked the President of the Board of Trade what progress has been made in the decentralisation of industry from London and the inner urban areas.

Mr. P. Thorneycroft

Since 1948, 61 new factories, equivalent to a floor area of approximately 1½ million square feet, have been built or are being built in the new towns or on L.C.C. estates for firms from inner London. Forty more projects have been given industrial development certificates; six of these have so far been given building licences, but work has not yet commenced.

These figures take no account of a large number of factories built since the war for London firms in the development areas and in other parts of the country.

Mr. Sparks

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware of the great importance of accelerating this process of industrial decentralisation if we are ever to solve the housing problem and the overcrowding which exists in London and the surrounding area?

Mr. Thorneycroft

I am, of course, well aware of the problem, but the hon. Gentleman will appreciate that difficulties of capital investment do put some term and limit on its solution.

Mr. Thomas Price

Does the right hon. Gentleman understand that some of the people whom I represent, in one of the apparently forgotten areas of Lancashire, view with great concern the continued growth and expansion of London, which they regard as being at the expense of provincial areas which have been designated as Development Areas, but which are not getting a fair allocation of new industries, for which we have pleaded for so long?

Mr. Thorneycroft

The interests of Lancashire will certainly not be forgotten.