HC Deb 10 April 1962 vol 657 cc1119-21
22. Mr. Boyden

asked the President of the Board of Trade what effect new office building in London has had on his policy for distribution of industry.

Mr. N. Macpherson

None, Sir.

Mr. Boyden

Does not the Parliamentary Secretary agree that there has been excessive investment in prestige office building in London which has had an adverse effect on the encouragement of investment in the development districts? Should he not consider the introduction of controls of office development in congested areas so that there is more pressure to go to the development districts?

Mr. Macpherson

The Board of Trade has no control over office building. Questions about the control of office building are for my right hon. Friend the Minister of Housing and Local Government.

Mr. Jay

Is the Parliamentary Secretary aware that he has given two extraordinary replies? Does he really not appreciate that the increase in office employment in London has had a major distorting effect on the whole of his distribution of industry policy? Is he telling us that he is not interested and does mot propose to do anything about it?

Mr. Macpherson

I do not accept that increased office building in London has had an effect on the distribution of industry policy. Control of industry is a matter for my right hon. Friend, but control of office building is a matter for the Minister of Housing and Local Government.

Sir P. Agnew

Is not the remedy for this situation the replacement of the present Socialist-controlled London County Council, which is the planning authority and which has given planning permission for all these buildings to be erected, by an authority which will give better and more sensible government to London?

Mr. Jay

Even though the hon. Member for Worcestershire, South (Sir P. Agnew) obviously knows even less about it than does the Minister, will the Parliamentary Secretary agree that he has responsibility for the distribution of employment over the whole country and that it has been seriously affected by the expansion of office employment in London?

Mr. Macpherson

Matters of employment are matters for my right hon. Friend the Minister of Labour.

Mr. Hector Hughes

As the Board of Trade has jurisdiction over the trade, industry and commerce of not only London but north-east Scotland, why does it not set up a building in Aberdeen to deal with the trade, industry and commerce of north-east Scotland and staffed entirely by Scots who know the needs and potentialities of the area?

Mr. Macpherson

If it did, it would not affect the new office building in London.

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