HC Deb 24 March 1955 vol 538 cc2254-5
23. Mr. H. Wilson

asked the President of the Board of Trade when he expects to be able to lay before Parliament a White Paper showing the action taken in Development Areas since 1948.

Mr. P. Thorneycroft

I do not think that a White Paper is called for at present, but a booklet describing to industrialists the attractions of the Development Areas and Northern Ireland will be published about the beginning of May. I think this will be of interest to hon. Members.

Mr. Wilson

While no doubt the booklet will be very valuable, is the right hon. Gentleman not aware that he has at least half promised a report on progress in the Development Areas since 1948, and an undertaking was given in the debates on the Statute that reports of that kind would be made? Has the tight hon. Gentleman anything to hide about what the Government have been doing in the Development Areas?

Mr. Thorneycroft

No, in fact unemployment there has fallen from 3.7 per cent. in September, 1948, to 25 per cent. in February, 1955. We have nothing to hide at all. I do not want to have too many White Papers, but if there is any specific information which has not been given in the course of Questions and answers, I shall be glad to give it.

Mr. Woodburn

Will the right hon. Gentleman bear in mind that there is a Development Area in the north of Scotland where we have not yet had much success in getting any industries there?

Sir R. Boothby

As my right hon. Friend is producing a booklet, could he add a little description of the Buckie-Peterhead scheme in it?

Mr. Thorneycroft

I will bear that suggestion in mind.

Mr. S. Silverman

Is the difficulty about issuing a White Paper on progress in the Development Areas that the right hon. Gentleman has absolutely no progress to report? Is it because since he made the Order concerning north-east Lancashire nothing whatever has been done except for plans—still incomplete—for one factory?

Mr. Thorneycroft

The hon.0020Member constantly reminds me that it is in that area that the Board of Trade has authorised the erection of the biggest factory ever undertaken in any Development Area in this country.

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