§ 18. Mr. Jay
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he is aware that the insistence, as a condition of a Development Areas Treasury Advisory Committee loan, that alternative finance should not be available to a firm, is hampering the effectiveness of the Distribution of Industry (Industrial Finance) Act, 1958; and whether he will relax this condition.
No, Sir; the condition is laid down in the Act and I have no power to relax it. In any case, if capital can be raised on reasonable terms from normal commercial sources, there is no need for loans by the Treasury.
§ Mr. Jay
Does not the right hon. Gentleman realise that this has provoked a real difficulty because reputable firms who could get finance elsewhere find that there is no incentive, as a result of the Act, to go to these areas at all now that the building restriction is less effective? Will the right hon. Gentleman think over this problem because, in South Wales for example, it has been a deterrent?
I will consider the point that the right hon. Gentleman has raised. Under the Act the Treasury is a lender of last resort and not a lender of first resort.
§ 26. Mr. G. Roberts
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many applications for assistance under the Distribution of Industry (Industrial Finance) Act, 1958, have so far been received from Caernarvonshire; and how many have been rejected, accepted, and are still under consideration, respectively.
Three firm and eligible applications have so far been received from Caernarvonshire. All three are now under consideration.
§ Mr. Roberts
Does not that information bear out what my right hon. Friend the Member for Battersea, North (Mr. Jay) has just said, that this Act does not contain any real incentive to firms to come to areas like North Wales? Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that unemployment in Caernarvonshire is over 9 per cent., and is constantly increasing? Will he at least see that the appropriate committee deals with the utmost speed arid sympathy with all the applications which have been received?
I am sorry to hear the level of unemployment to which the hon. Member has referred. I can only give an assurance that every application made will be looked at as sympathetically and quickly as circumstances permit, but the hon. Member will understand that inquiries always have to be made after an application has been sent in.