HC Deb 15 March 1956 vol 550 cc540-1
19. Mr. Willey

asked the President of the Board of Trade what action he has taken to assist firms on trading estates on the North-East Development Area producing electrical equipment and furniture.

Mr. P. Thorneycroft

I do not know what form of assistance the hon. Member has in mind. Tenants of Board of Trade factories in the North East and other Development Areas benefit, of course, from favourable rental terms.

Mr. Willey

Would the right hon. Gentleman agree that where there is this widespread redundancy the Government can do what has been done on previous occasions—place Government contracts and endeavour to avoid this redundancy spreading?

Mr. Thorneycroft

I do not think that the situation of demand in this country at present would justify it being artificially inflated by putting forward Government contracts.

Mr. Chetwynd

Does the Government policy of giving priority of contracts to firms in Development Areas still stand—all other things being equal?

Mr. Thorneycroft

The ordinary arrangements still obtain.