HC Deb 20 March 1952 vol 497 cc2538-9
26. Mr. Stephen Swingler

asked the President of the Board of Trade what steps he is taking to direct industry to those areas in which work is most needed.

Mr. P. Thorneycroft

As the hon. Member will be aware, we have no powers to direct industry to a particular location, but it is the policy of the Board of Trade to encourage firms seeking new capacity to set up in those areas most in need of additional industry.

Mr. Swingler

In view of the continuing rise in unemployment since the right hon. Gentleman took office and the prospects of its rapid spread, will he take more vigorous steps in the direction I have suggested?

Mr. Richard Fort

In view of the decline in the textile industry since the statement made by the right hon. Member for Bishop Auckland (Mr. Dalton) last autumn, will my right hon. Friend try to bring new industries into the textile areas in Lancashire?

Mr. Thorneycroft

Hon. Members will appreciate that there are difficulties in the way of new industrial development, not only of policy by the Board of Trade but of shortage of steel and building capacity.

27. Mr. E. Fernyhough

asked the President of the Board of Trade why he has not permitted the erection of the advance factory on the Bede Trading Estate, Jarrow, to be proceeded with.

Mr. P. Thorneycroft

The reason is the same as given in the answer to a Question by the hon. Member for Sunderland, North (Mr. F. Willey) on 28th February, namely, that with the present shortage of steel and the need to restrict capital investment we should not be justified in reversing the decision of the previous Government, taken early in 1951, that the building of factories in the Development Areas in advance of demand should be deferred indefinitely.

Mr. Fernyhough

Is the Minister aware that his Government are supposed to do much better than the last Government and that his answer is therefore most unsatisfactory? Will he not look at the matter again?