HC Deb 31 March 1960 vol 620 cc1498-9
33. Mr. Scott-Hopkins

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer the number of applications for assistance received, to the latest convenient date, under the Development Areas Treasury Advisory Committee scheme, from the south-west of England; and how many of these applications were successful.

The Economic Secretary to the Treasury (Mr. Anthony Barber)

Sixty-nine firm and eligible applications have been received, of which 18 have been successful.

Mr. Scott-Hopkins

Are not these absurdly low figures when we consider that we have areas of extremely high unemployment, especially in the South-West? Will my hon. Friend consult his right hon. Friend to see if he can make arrangements whereby the South-West is helped, as other areas have been helped recently, under the new Act which is coming into force?

Mr. Barber

I cannot say anything about the operation of the new Act in relation to this matter, except that the applications under the old Act which are still under consideration will remain eligible for consideration under the new Act. As my hon. Friend will know, D.A.T.A.C. is an independent body, and if it does not advise that assistance should be given in any case, the Treasury has no power to give it.

Mr. P. Browne

In view of the very low figure of acceptances, can my hon. Friend give an assurance that the independent Committee uses exactly the same criteria when deciding whether it will give help to small firms—in which we in the West are particularly interested —as it does in the case of large firms and large combines?

Mr. Barber

The criteria which are taken into account by the Committee are those laid down by the Act, and they apply to firms both large and small alike.