HC Deb 27 October 1960 vol 627 cc2571-2
29. Mr, P. Wells

asked the President of the Board of Trade how many applications have been received from industrialists contemplating the erection of factories or workshops on the Isle of Sheppey under the Distribution of Industry (Industrial Finance) Act, 1958, and the Local Employment Act, 1960; how many of these were for loans; how many were for grants; how many were for both grants and loans; and with what result.

Mr. J. Rodgers

Twenty applications have been received for financial assistance in Sheppey under the Distribution of Industry (Industrial Finance) Act, 1958, and Local Employment Act, 1960. Of these, ten have been for loans, one for a grant and nine for both grants and loans. Nine of these applications have been rejected, and the remaining eleven are under consideration.

Mr. Wells

Is the Minister aware that in the opinion of the people of Sheppey the assistance given is not nearly adequate or anything like they have the right to expect? Is he also aware that unemployment there is running around 7 per cent. and is increasing while at the same time industrialists who want to bring employment to the Isle of Sheppey are being told that they can receive no assistance though assistance will be granted if they go to Scotland? Will the Minister try to reverse this policy which is having a very disastrous effect on the Isle of Sheppey and is quite opposed to the promises and undertakings given when the closure of Sheerness Dockyard was announced.

Mr. Rodgers

I admit that Sheppey has been unfortunate in the large number of applications which have been rejected, but there are projects coming along, such as Abbotts Laboratories and the Elmerd Manufacturing Company's factory, which should provide several hundred jobs. With regard to the second part of the question about not entertaining any further applications for assistance in the area, we have not actually removed Sheppey from the list and if our expectations are not fulfilled, then, of course, Sheppey will remain on the list and will receive further assistance.