§ Order read for resuming adjourned debate on Amendment to Question [3rd December]: That this House welcomes the emphasis placed by Her Majesty's Government on regional development as a means of promoting the growth and well-being of the country, and, in particular, approves the programmes outlined in the Command Papers on development and growth in North-East England and Central Scotland (Command Papers Nos. 2206 and 2188).—[Mr. Heath.]
Which Amendment was, to leave out from "House" to the end of the Question and to add instead thereof:
regrets that Her Majesty's Government's belated proposals for regional development while omitting many important areas, offer neither any immediate effective help nor a long-term remedy for unemployment and depopulation, declares its determination to ensure healthy and balanced development of all parts of the United Kingdom, and asserts that this will be achieved only through regional planning within the framework of a national plan".—[Mr. Jay.]
§ Question again proposed, That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question.
§ 3.50 p.m.
§ Mr. Edward Short (Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Central)
I wish to divide what I have to say into four parts: first, to discuss briefly some of the planning aspects of the two Reports which have been published; secondly, to complete what I believe is a partial and inadequate diagnosis of the trouble in the older industrial regions in the two Reports; thirdly, to take up where my right lion. Friend the Member for Battersea, North (Mr. Jay) left off yesterday and to say a few words about the central theme of the two Reports; and, finally, to discuss briefly a theme which I believe should figure much more prominently in these Reports, namely, training and education.
If I refer mainly to the North-East it is simply because the North-East Report has been published, and because I know more about the North-East than about other areas. One of the most intriguing things about these two White Papers is the difference in the titles. The title of the White Paper on the North-East is, A programme for regional development and growth. The title for Scotland is, A programme for development and growth. In other words, we have had "regional" inserted and Scotland has not.
The North-East Report throughout places an emphasis on the regional aspect of the Government's plans. Page 40 says:The Government's proposals for the North-East are based on the concept of an underlying unity in its main problems and needs, and this concept will have to be carried through into future public planning and public action.Apparently this is the Lord President of the Council's great discovery—that future public action in the North-East, and, presumably, in other industrial areas, must be done on a regional basis. Are the Government unaware—they appear to be unaware—of the movement towards regionalisation which has taken place in the North-East during the last five years?
During the last five years, on the initiative of the northern group of Labour Members of Parliament, the North-East Development Council has been established, in the face of considerable oppo- 1158 sition from at least one hon. Member opposite, and in the face of violent opposition from the leader of the Conservatives in Newcastle. One part of the North-East Development Council's organisation is a very useful device called a Joint Planning Beard—something quite new, I think. All the planning officers in the North-East meet regularly as a joint board to discuss their mutual problems. I should have thought that this piece of machinery is the type of machinery which the Government could use in their plans, but it is not referred to in the White Paper on the North-East.
Secondly, during the last few years a North-East Arts Council has been established. The Arts Council of Great Britain referred to it in its last report as a prototype which could be followed in other regions. Recently, we have established a North-East Regional Airports Committee. We are now busy establishing a North-East Youth Council. We have smaller groupings for such topics as river pollution, the Tees-Side University, industrial housing, and so on.
The movement towards regionalism has been going on for years. I hope that the Secretary of State for Industry and Trade and the Chief Secretary to the Treasury are listening to what I am saying, otherwise I am wasting my time. This movement, this great new dynamic discovery of the Lord President of the Council's that there must be a regional concept, has, in fact, been evolving in the North-East for the past five or six years. However, even if Lord Hailsham has not noticed anything that is going on, we are glad that at least he has arrived at the idea of a regional concept independently of the rest of us.
In passing, I should like to say a few words on the Local Government Boundary Commission's proposals for the North-East. In my view, these are already completely out of date. If the Government persist in these proposals, they will put the local authorities in the North-East at each other's throats once again. This will be a reversion to parochialism, and it will reverse the movement which has been going on in the last five or six years from parochialism towards a North-East regional outlook.
What I suggest to the Government—it is not much use suggesting it to this Government, because they have only 1159 another six months, but perhaps I can suggest it to my right hon. Friends behind me—is that they allow the development which is going on in the North-East to go on for the next decade. I should think that it is pretty certain that there will evolve a universal desire in the North-East for some kind of two-tier local government on a regional basis. The Local Government Boundary Commission's Report is already left far behind by the movement which is evolving in that part of the world.
However, in spite of the fact that the Government have discovered the regional concept, they pay merely lip-service to the idea of regional planning, because this White Paper cannot by any stretch of the imagination be called planning in the popular and usually accepted sense of that word. First, as the Amendment says, regional planning in a small tightly knit community like Great Britain does not make sense, unless it is in the context of a national economic plan. I can well imagine that perhaps in some vast countries such as Russia or the United States regional planning in isolation would make sense, but in a tightly knit economy like Great Britain it does not make sense.
Yesterday, the Secretary of State went out of his way to make it absolutely clear that the Government reject any idea of a national economic plan. He said this:I suggest that this is not a situation which calls for a cut and dried plan of the kind they"—that is us—suggest, imposing a rigid theoretical framework on the different regions whether they fit into it or not."—[Official Report, 3rd December, 1963; Vol. 685, c. 1002.]In view of that it would perhaps be as well to put on record just exactly what we say in the important document Signposts for the Sixties about the national economic plan. I hope that the Secretary of State will listen very carefully to this, because he did not have the document yesterday. He had only a handout from the Conservative Central Office. We say this:
The preparation of such a plan would require the creation of a National Industrial Planning Board, integrated with the Government's own planning machinery and in close touch with both sides of industry. The central 1160 directive of this Board would be to ensure speedy and purposive industrial investment.In consultation with industry, the Board would work out the expansion plans of the basic sectors of the economy and see that the resources are there to meet them. In consultation with the Government departments concerned, it would direct the industrial expansion to areas where labour is available and where new work is needed.There is nothing there about a rigid and inflexible national plan.
The Minister without Portfolio, who, like the Scarlet Pimpernel, keeps on popping up all over the country, said pretty much the same thing. The Guardian of Wednesday, 13th November, contained this report of one of his utterances:Mr. Deedes said that a single Ministry to co-ordinate the work of the various Government departments involved in economic and physical planning would not produce the atmosphere, the machinery, the partnership or the co-operation necessary to tackle the vast job of redesign and renewal which lay ahead.Therefore, it is absolutely clear that the Government intend to maintain their doctrinaire view that national economic planning is undesirable.
Secondly, these White Papers involve no basis whatever of physical planning of the regions. We must be quite clear about that. We are to have a regional group of senior officials meeting in Well-bar House, Newcastle. This is desirable, but it is exactly what the Labour Government did—a piece of machinery which this Government scrapped when it came to office. However, this is coordination. This is not planning. The local planning authorities, the county councils and the county boroughs, will still be watertight compartments, and they are the people to do the social and the industrial planning in their own areas, not the regional group of officials.
I believe that one of the major impediments to the development of the older industrial areas in recent years has been the fact that very often the planning authorities function in isolation from each other. The Town and Country Planning Association published only yesterday a memorandum on the Government's plan for the North-East. This is what the Association said:The Government's proposals do not amount to a comprehensive regional plan for land use and development. We believe that such a plan now needs to be produced, so as to provide a satisfactory framework for 1161 better housing, social facilities, and recreation and cultural facilities, as well as for economic growth.This plan for the North-East does nothing in the way of physical planning of the area.
Thirdly, a major aim in both White Papers is to improve the quality of living in these regions. I entirely agree that this is an essential. In improving the quality of living, in improving the social context for economic development, I agree again with the White Papers that housing is the most important thing of all. I should have thought, if this is the case, that the starting point for the Government's plan on houses would have been an estimate of the number of houses required over the next few years. There is no estimate whatever in the document on the North-East of the number of houses required. It says that the Government have decided—these are not the actual words; the document uses words to this effect; the words "have decided" are certainly there—to step up the number of houses to 25,000 a year. The document merely says that the Government have decided.
§ Mr. Short
But on what is this based? It is simply a wild guess and nothing else. It is based on completely insufficient data.
I will give two examples of data which are lacking. How can an estimate be made, unless some research is carried out into the number of houses in the region with five years' life, 10 years' life, 15 years' life, and 20 years' life? An important point in the so-called plan is a growth area. There will be many people travelling to work from South-West Durham and other parts of the region into the growth area. The White Paper says that it is an easy area in which to travel to work.
I wish that the Lord President of the Council and the Secretary of State for Industry and Trade would come with me on a winter's morning at six o'clock to Ushaw Moor, or Crook, and try to get to Darlington by nine o'clock. They would see just how difficult it is. There will be many thousands of people travelling from this area into the growth zone. They wish to settle down there. Is there any estimate of the number of new houses 1162 required because of this growth zone proposal? Of course, there is no such estimate. The Government have not a clue on these things. They have simply made a wild guess that the North-East should have 25,000 new houses a year.
I would not call this planning. It is guessing. There is a section on industrial housing. The dynamic proposal there is that there should be a conference at Newcastle University in January. I am glad that there is to be a conference, but that is the only proposal. Do the Secretary of State and the Lord President of the Council know that for many months new, long before the Lord President of the Council came to the North-East, the local authorities in the North-East formed a committee to discuss and consider industrialised housing? Do they know that this committee exists? Do they know that it is working?
I should have thought that this sector was an ideal sector for development in the North-East, and, indeed, in Scotland, of some intelligent planning in the standardisation of housing components and their production, too. It might well be an ideal field for partnership between public and private enterprise. This is one sector where there is scope for some imaginative planningproposals. The only proposal is that there is to be a conference in January.
Fourthly, with regard to transport. A few months ago we had the Beeching plan. Was not that a Government plan as well? Is not the Beeching plan Government policy as well? Did not the Minister of Transport, who has had such a busy time today, defend the Beeching plan in the House and say, "This is just the thing to put Britain on its feet"? Of course he did.
§ Mr. Short
Apart from the effects of the Beeching plan on the North East economy—that will be pretty drastic—the plan will mean a loss of 2,000 jobs to the North-East. This leaves out of account the workshop closures. Yet the White Paper says this, on page 23:The Railway facilities of the North-East are reasonably good …Is the Secretary of State aware that if the Beeching proposals to close down 70 passenger services and 17 stations 1163 are carried out there will be no railways in County Durham west of the main line from Newcastle to Darlington?
What cockeyed planning is this? We have a Beeching reorganisation of the railways in isolation from the roads. We now have a Hailsham reorganisation of the roads in isolation from the railways. We are now told in the White Paper that there is to be another Beeching reorganisation of the railways in the North-East. I will not read it out; it is paragraph 66 on page 23.
I understand that the Secretary of State wants to repudiate Beeching in the North-East, just as the Prime Minister has done here in the House. I repeat: was not the Beeching Report Government policy, too? Did not the Minister of Transport come here and defend it and say, "This is just the thing for Britain"? It is nonsense to pass off all this as intelligent planning. It is nothing of the sort.
Perhaps the most basic figure of all in any regional economic plan, one would have thought, would be an estimate of the number of jobs needed over the next few years. My right hon. Friend the Member for Easington (Mr. Shinwell) has raised this question in the House on many occasions. In the whole of the plan for the north-east of England there is no estimate of the number of new jobs required. Is not this amazing? We are told that this document is the great new departure, the great new dynamic plan for the North-East. Yet it contains no estimate of how many new jobs are needed over the next five years, 10 years, 100 years or anything else.
In the early part of the White Paper there is an obscure and almost incomprehensible calculation on population growth. Eventually, we are given figures of the male labour force. Do the Government not know that we have some women in the North-East as well? The whole of this Report is on the basis of the male labour force, but women have got to live and work, too.
But there is no estimate whatever of the number of jobs needed. The main trends in the North-East are known, the rate of population growth and basic industries. Even assuming that the Government made very wild 1164 guesses about things like migration, and the effects of their efforts, I should have thought it would be possible to arrive at some kind of estimate of the number of jobs needed over the next five to ten years.
But really, how can there be economic planning if the size of the problem about which they are planning is not estimated? There is no estimate at all here about the problem we are trying to solve. Has there been any research into the kind of industry which the older industrial areas need? Has there been even any research into the kind of industries which have done well in this part of the country since the war? There is no mention of it here, even if there has been.
This really is a misuse of the word "planning". What we have in these two documents—and no doubt other areas will get similar documents—is a collection of pious hopes, platitudes, and expedients many of which have already been done, and things which the region is doing itself, which the local authorities are doing; and the whole lot are banged together in a thing called a "dynamic economic plan" brought out in the eleventh hour of the Government's life.
In all the diagnoses of what is wrong in these areas, we are told in the document, we were told yesterday by the Secretary of State, who kept on repeating it, and it is on page 10 of the White Paper, thatIt is indeed in the balance of the region's industries that the main cause of the problem is to be found.It is true that we have got too many men working in the heavy industries, 16 per cent. in coal mining, 7 per cent. in shipbuilding and repairing and marine engineering, 6 per cent.in metal manufacturing. This is too many. This makes the North-East, as it does other areas, vulnerable.
The North-East, Scotland, South Wales, West Cumberland all want diversity of industry. But this is not the cause of the recent unemployment. After all, in 1951 there was much less diversity than there is now, yet there was full employment. How can lack of diversity be the cause of the unemployment? The recent unemployment in the North-East, in Scotland, in West 1165 Cumberland, in the South-West, in South Wales is due directly to three elements in the Government's economic policy, but there is no mention of that in the report at all.
The first two factors I shall refer to only very briefly. The first factor is, of course, the complete inadequacy of the instrument which the Government devised for dealing with unemployment, the Local Employment Act. The Government inherited some extremely useful powers for the distribution of industry—from the Labour Government. They scrapped the lot, to put in their place a thing called the Local Employment Act.
Yesterday, the Secretary of State gave us some amazing figures about what the Local Employment Act is doing. I will quote some Answers which were given to some Questions put by my hon. Friend the Member for Newcastle-upon-Tyne, West (Mr. Popplewell) in this House in May this year. He asked how many new industries had established themselves in the North-East in the three years ended April, 1963;and how many people they now employ. The Minister replied that 18 new firms had come into the North-East and 2,288 people were employed in them. Eighteen firms and 2,288 jobs in three years.
My hon. Friend also asked how many firms had ceased production in the North-East during the same three years and how many people had left their jobs consequently, and the reply was that 33 firms had ceased production and 3,600 jobs had gone out of existence.
In other words, in the three years' operation of the Local Employment Act 18 new enterprises were brought in, 33 have gone out of existence, 2,200 new jobs had been created, and 3,600 jobs have gone out of existence. That is what the Local Employment Act has done to the North-East. That is why we say that this instrument which the Government devised is quite inadequate.
I shall quote only one more thing about this. Here is someone who cannot by any stretch of the imagination be called a Labour supporter. He is the Chairman of the Industrial Estates Management Corporation for England, appointed by the Government. This is what he had to say quite recently about 1166 the Local Employment Act. He said that the Local Employment Act failed to encourage the use of the area's total assets. He went on to say that he believed that the Local Employment Act was totally inappropriate to handle the situation. This is a public official appointed by the Government, and he went on to give a number of examples.
That is the first point on Government policy, that it has failed to cure unemployment; it is the failure of the instrument which they created.
The second I want to deal with very briefly, because I have no doubt that if they catch your eye, Mr. Speaker, my hon. Friends will deal with it, and it is the Government's savage policy towards the two publicly-owned industries, coal mines and the railways.
We agree that the railways and the coal mines must be modernised and brought up to date, but the rate at which this is being done is really wicked. It is all very well to sit here in the House of Commons and discuss the figures of pit closures, but this is a matter of men who have given their lives to this industry. It is a matter of communities—of whole communities—dying, withering away, inNorthumberland, Durham; of men uprooted, of families who have been living there for generations, uprooted in order to work elsewhere. That is what pit closures mean.
Could not this have been done sensibly, with pit closures co-ordinated with the introduction of new industries? Surely it is not beyond the wit and ingenuity of the Government now, with all their machinery at their disposal, to co-ordinate: the bringing in of new industries with the closing of pits?
That is the second reason for the unemployment, and unless there is some slowing down in the contraction of the coal mines, nothing the Government do will prevent a further rapid rise in unemployment in the North-East.
But the third point which I really want to discuss is the Government's complete refusal to plan the country's resources, and their reliance entirely on blunt monetary controls. The party opposite, in weekend speeches, are always trying to make the hair of the electorate stand on end about physical controls, but physical controls cause far 1167 less misery and suffering among the mass of the people than this monetary control which they have been using for the last decade. This monetary control has put tens of thousands of people on the dole, and kept them on the dole, too. Every time, during the last 10 years, that there has been an appreciable rise in production they have immediately imposed a credit squeeze. The severe unemployment in 1962 and 1963 had nothing to do with over-reliance on heavy industry, but it was the direct consequence of the two Budgets of the present Leader of the House. It was for that that they appointed him. It was that economic policy which caused our heavy unemployment last winter, and the Government know that.
Yesterday, the Secretary of State had this to say, that… the intense local pressures in the Midlands and in the South, which often, in the past, have endangered the price structure for the country as a whole and, as a result, the balance of payments."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 3rd December, 1963; Vol 685, c. 985.]The right hon. Gentleman was talking about the effect of the inflationary symptoms in the South-East and the Midlands, and, of course, this is perfectly true; but the Government had only one cure for that, and their cure, applied periodically throughout the 'fifties, was to apply the same remedy to the North-East and to Scotland and West Cumberland and South Wales and the South-West.
We all had to take the medicine. It was like a woman with eight children of whom one has tummy ache; she gives castor oil to the lot of them. It may cure the one, certainly, but it upsets all the others. This is the thing which has been killing the North-East throughout the last 10 years, and there is no Member on the other side of the House who does not know it.
The White Paper on the North-East now recognises this and, on page 15, says:Considerable further industrial development is needed in the region to provide a base for faster self-generating growth there, but no amount of special effort or expenditure on the region itself will stimulate this unless there is also sustained growth in the country as a whole.What a pity that the Government did not have the grace also to shoulder the 1168 blame clearly implied in this sentence. Unless the Government are now prepared to put the national well-being before the political advantage of the pre-election boom, all these reports and White Papers are not worth the paper they are written on.
The heavy industrial pattern in all our old industrial areas has been the first to be hit by the credit squeeze and the last to be benefited by the let-rip periods which come before elections. In other words, prosperity in the older industrial regions has been sacrificed by right hon. Gentlemen opposite to keep themselves in power. That is exactly what has happened. We in the North-East, in Scotland, in Wales, in West Cumberland and in the South-West are paying the price for their retention of power during the 1950s.
Thirdly, I come to the central feature of these reports. The central feature of the whole design, if 4here is a design, is that if more capital investment is pumped into these old regions the areas will be made more attractive and will attract new industries into them. This is on the assumption that there is sufficient industryon the move to satisfy the North-East, to satisfy Scotland, to satisfy West Cumberland, to satisfy Wales, to satisfy the South-West and the North-West. Personally, I have never yet had it demonstrated to me by anyone that there is sufficient industry on the move to do this, and I do not think that there is. It is no use perfecting one's fishing tackle if there are not any fish to be caught in the pond.
All of us, on both sides of the House, until now have been wedded to the idea of the stick and the carrot, the stick in the negative powers of the Board of Trade to forbid development elsewhere, and the carrot in the promotional work done by local authorities and regional development councils, and so on. The technique of the stick and the carrot is effective only if there is a good supply of donkeys, and I am sure that the supply is not there.
The Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Town and Country Planning Association, Professor Peter Self, had this to say:Life must be pumped back into the main provincial centres to ease the economic dominance of London. We needed a stronger 1169 policy on industrial location; a real effort on office location policy; and a national plan for dealing with obsolescence.The Professor of Industrial Relations at the University of Wales, Professor Michael Fogarty, said:We can now afford to be much bolder than previously in reshaping the broad pattern of industry and office location …location policy had been too negative, concentrating too much on relieving unemployment.It might be possible to persuade industry to move by imposing various forms of extra taxation in over-congested areas; or planning authorities might be given powers to acquire 30 or 40 year reservations on all major industrial and commercial sites in their areas.Those are two concrete suggestions, but attracting new developments is inadequate for the size of the problem. The North-East Development Council has estimated that the North-East alone needs 100,000 jobs in the next five years.
Two more things need to be done. Not only must we try to attract industries which are on the move, but there must be some policy to dislodge industry from the South-East, either by the sort of means suggested by Professor Fogarty, or by outright purchase of industrial undertakings in the South-East and reopening them in the older industrial areas. [Interruption.] If hon. Members opposite do not accept this sort of policy, perhaps they will tell us what they would do.
But even this will not solve the problem. There must be a third step. First there is the attracting of new industry and, secondly, the dislodging of old, and then a third step must be taken.
§ Mr. R. W. Elliott (Newcastle-upon-Tyne, North)
Would not the hon. Gentleman agree that the tax concessions given to industry to come to the North-East more or less follow the suggestion of Professor Fogarty? He has spoken of the little which happened until April of this year. Is he not aware that 110 building grants have been approved in principle, amounting to £2½ million for the North-East since April?
§ Mr. Short
Of course everything happens in the months before the election. It always does.
The third step, in addition to attracting new industries and dislodging old, is that new, publicly-owned enterprises, based upon ideas thrown up by pub- 1170 licly-financed research, should be developed in these areas on a deliberate plan. For example, the perfect antidote to the over-reliance of the North-East on a few heavy industries would be the electronics industry. Incidentally, electronics factories which are there do extremely well. This is the sort of thing in which new, publicly-owned enterprises could be established, either outright publicly owned, or joint enterprises.
There is nothing new in this. It is being done in many countries where the word "Socialism" is never used, if that is what bothers hon. Members opposite. Of course, we cannot expect the Government to do anything of the kind, but I make it absolutely clear that the Labour Government, which comes into office next year, will do just this. It will establish new either outright publicly-owned industries in the old areas, or joint enterprises based upon ideas thrown up by publicly-financed research. This must be the third step to get the right amount of work into the old areas.
I want now to refer to additional capital investment. This is the biggest hoax of all. The older industrial regions are suffering from a century of depredation by private enterprise. [Interruption,] The right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for Industry and Trade has been only once to the North-East since; taking up his new appointment, but he has seen the industrial layout there. In the nineteenth century, industrialists attracted from all over the country great communities around their pits, around their factories and around their shipyards. When there was nothing more to be got out of them, they discarded them and allowed them to deteriorate and die. If hon. Members want to sue a ghost town, they need not go to Colorado Springs and take a trip to the foot hills of the Rockies. My hon. Friend the Member for Durham. North-West (Mr. Ainsley) can show them ghost towns in Durham which have been caused by their policies.
However, from these communities, ships, coal, railway engines and steel have raised the standard of living for the whole country, not just for the North-East, but for Bournemouth and London and Bognor Regis and the 1171 whole lot. What has happened to the North-East has benefited the whole of Great Britain, and that goes for Scotland and the other industrial areas.
The gist of these dynamic plans, this great new departure, is that the North-East and Scotland are now to be allowed to put matters right. That is what it amounts to. The Government are giving us permission to put matters right. They are giving us permission to obliterate a century of pillage in five or ten years. Thank you for nothing! They are telling us that we can now demolish all the slums. We can now renew the decaying hearts of our towns and rebuild our schools, and so on. There is one little thing which they have tor-gotten—who is to pay for it all? Of course, we shall get the normal grant under the iniquitous block grant system which this Government introduced.
One of the choicest things in this Report appears on page 24, where it refers to Newcastle City centre. It says that this is an imaginative plan which has been worked out by the council, and it goes on to say:This is in keeping with the needs and importance of what is in effect the regional capital; and the Government's intention will be that the public investment programme should allow this work to be pressed on as fast as possible.Do the Government know how much it will cost? It will cost £150 million. When the Lord President of the Council was in Newcastle, the corporation met him and asked him for a Government loan with a moratorium on interest payments for five years until some income was derived from the developments. There is no mention of that here.
§ The Minister of Housing and Local Government and Minister for Welsh Affairs (Sir Keith Joseph)
There is no need for a moratorium.
§ Sir K. Joseph
The hon. Gentleman should know that under the law put on the Statute Book by the initiative of my hon. Friend the Member for Hexham (Mr. Speir)—oh, I see that my hon. Friend is here.
§ Mr. Charles Pannell (Leeds, West)
On a point of order. My hon. Friend the Member for Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Central (Mr. Short) gave way to the Minister. The Floor belongs to my hon. Friend. It is not for the Minister to give way to one of his hon. Friends.
§ Mr. Deputy-Speaker (Sir William Anstruther-Gray)
The House is well aware that the hon. Member making a speech has the Floor. If he gives way, and if another hon. Member intervenes and the hon. Member who has the Floor does not seek to rise, I allow the intervention.
§ Mr. Deputy-Speaker
If the hon. Member who has the Floor insists on continuing his speech, he is entitled to do so.
§ Mr. Deputy-Speaker
Order. The hon. Member does not appear to be rising on what is, in fact, a point of order.
§ Mr. Short
Paragraph 76 is headed "Urban improvements generally" and says:There must also be continual improvement in a wide range of civic facilities, from libraries and swimming baths to street lighting and public gardens, and the renovation of areas not due for reconstruction.This paragraph on the provisions of—[Interruption.] Hon. Gentlemen opposite went to public schools. I never went to one.
§ Mr. Frederic Harris (Croydon, Northwest)
On a point of order. The hon. Gentleman said that all hon. Members on this side of the House went to public schools. I did not go to one.
§ Mr. Deputy-Speaker
Order. I think that the House would make better progress with this important debate if hon. Members were a little quieter.
§ Mr. Short
This paragraph on the provision of amenities ends by saying:The local authorities of the North-East know this, and the Government propose to allow for a substantial increase in the investment programme.Who is to make these investments? The rates in Newcastle will go up 25 per cent. over the next five years, quite apart from these developments. The Government have never had the courage to face the problem of local finance, yet now they are saying, in effect, to the North-East and to Scotland, "Go ahead and modernise yourselves; pull yourselves up by your stocking tops". Will not the rates in these areas deter industrial development if this burden is put on the local authorities themselves?
If this goes ahead as the Government are planning it, the rates in the older industrial areas will be considerably higher than those in the South-East and the Midlands. If this task of rehabilitation is to be regarded mainly as a regional task, it will put a colossal burden on ratepayers in this part of the country. Surely the burden of correcting the effects of the industrial revolution should be a national one.
Another choice part of the Report is that which deals with pollution of the River Tyne. It says, on page 28:The Minister of Housing and Local Government intends to encourage the authorities to get on with this work as quickly as possible.The lowest estimate for doing this is £20 million, and yet the Government are to encourage the authorities to get on with this job. I have tabled a number of Questions about this and no financial assistance whatsoever appears to be forthcoming from the Government for doing this work. The rehabilitation of 1174 these old areas is a national responsibility and none of the regions will be satisfied with any plan which fails to offer more financial help than is proposed here.
Finally, I deal with training and education. The basic problem in all the old industrial areas is to change and redeploy their traditional skills. Because of this, I should have thought that any sensible, intelligent, plan would make training, retraining and education its central feature. What do we find in the North-East plan? We find that training and education are lumped together in Chapter VI under the heading "Progress in other fields." This simply indicates the Government's lack of understanding of the real needs of these older industrial regions.
The proposals for training are to step up three training centres at Felling, Tursdale and Middlesbrough to 400, 100, and 200 places respectively. These are not additional places, but the total places when the proposals have been put into practice. It means a total of 700 places—and only for men—against an estimated annual need of 20,000 places for men who will need to change their jobs in the North-East. This really is merely scratching the surface.
There are three paragraphs dealing with education, and in these paragraphs there is not one single proposal of any kind on education. Do the Government know that the North-East does not have a college of advanced technology? Do they know that it is the only important region in the country without such a college? Did they see Lord Fleck's letter in The Times of 21st November? He said:For a paper, however, dealing with a region where, heavy industry necessarily plays a large part, some of us have reason to be disappointed at the meagreness of the suggestions regarding higher technological education.He went on to say what the White Paper says, and then said:I would suggest that these praises convey an expression of achievement, not to say complacency, which the present circumstances in the Region do not warrant. Colleges of Advanced Technology are now an accepted and important component of higher technological education, and the fact that the Region does not have the benefits of one, not does the White Paper make any such proposal are two regrettable facts.1175 Lord Hailsham—Mr. Hogg—quite obviously knows nothing whatever about the state of affairs in the technical colleges in the North-East. He said recently that the colleges of technology in the North-East had failed to produce courses of an adequate standard. The Chairman of the Sunderland Education Committee replied to this allegation in The Guardian and the Daily Telegraph last week, setting out all the courses that were available in Sunderland.
A similar tremendous range of courses is available in the College of Technology in Newcastle, including three diplomas in technology, a B.Sc. in Sociology, general studies or engineering, and a whole range of other courses. Quite obviously, the Lord President of the Council does not know anything about it. He should learn the facts before he opens his mouth.
I ask the Government spokesman who will reply what he said in answer to Lord Fleck's proposal—
§ Mr. Short
—that there should be a S.I.S.T.E.R. in the North-East. I believe that this is an imaginative proposal. The Constantine College of Technology, in Middlesbrough, is a suitable nucleus for such an institution. Will the Government now give their blessing either to this or to a university on Tees-side?
As for the school building programme, I have taken out the current figures for this year. The four biggest local authorities in the North-East, Newcastle, Sunderland, Durham and Northumberland, submitted proposals, all vetted by their own finance committees, for £15½ million worth of projects. They got £3,900,000 worth. Apparently this deprivation of an adequate educational advance, which is absolutely fundamental to the rebuilding of this area, is to continue. The White Paper says so, on page 31.
As for research, the Government say—again as though this is a great new discovery—that there will be co-operation with the two universities. What do they think the local authorities have been doing for donkey's years? Whenever we 1176 wanted expert information or research we went to the universities. There is nothing new in this. I wholeheartedly agree with what is said about research by private firms. The White Paper says thatthere must be a continuing increase in the amount of research activity by many of the local firms.What a pious hope! Apart from the existing investment allowances for research, are there any proposals for stimulating this in the White Paper? Of course not. There is nothing but platitudes. There are no proposals at all.
But I should have thought that the application of science to industry, and not least to our old industries, is absolutely vital not only for the rehabilitation of the North-East and Scotland but also for the progress of the whole of Britain. British industry has always been reluctant to invest in research, but it is the Government's job to make that good. One reason why we have been falling behind in production in the last few years is that the Government have failed to make good the deficiencies of private industry in relation to research. In some key industries research hardly exists.
Yesterday, in the by-election campaign in which he is currently engaged, Mr. Quint in Hogg, in his efforts to denigrate my right hon. Friend the Leader of the Opposition, said, among a number of very disreputable and unmannerly pieces of muck-throwing, that my right hon. Friend was going to destroy the country's research organisation. Let me make it quite clear what next year's Labour Government will do about research organisations.
§ Mr. Short
They will make Government research a major element in their economic plans for the modernisation of Britain. They will enlarge and reconstruct the National Research and Development Corporation. They will not destroy it; they will enlarge and reconstruct it. They will allow it to engage in production on its own or in joint enterprise with private companies in the production of newly developed scientific inventions. These will be the 1177 real growing points of the economy, under the Labour Government, and will be located in the older industrial areas—the comprehensive development areas yesterday described by my right hon. Friend.
The problem of regional imbalance is a baffling one in many respects. Nevertheless, it presents a dazzling opportunity. In our view the first two instalments in the Government's attempts to deal with it are utterly inadequate. There is no immediate relief of unemployment. The Government cannot by any stretch of the imagination call this planning. In the absence of any coherent national planning they cannot possibly succeed. They propose no financial assistance beyond the normal grant.
The White Papers reveal woolly, indeed chaotic, thinking on the part of their authors. Hon. Members on this side of the House, and the whole country, cannot regard these proposals as anything more than a desperate attempt by a defeated and demoralised Government to retrieve their fortunes in two thickly-populated areas. The tragedy is that these Reports deal with fine men and women with a century of unequalled skill in their hands—men and women who are unemployed, unwanted and unused. It is Obvious from these two documents that they will remain so until we have a Government with the ability, courage and vision to face their problems.
§ 4.45 p.m.
§ The Chief Secretary to the Treasury and Paymaster-General (Mr. John Boyd-Carpenter)
We have certainly had a most spirited speech from the Opposition Deputy Chief Whip. As the hon. Member was speaking I could not help reflecting how much the House—at any rate, this side—has lost from the abandonment of the old custom of verbal celibacy of the Whip's Office.
§ Mr. Boyd-Carpenter
I am not so sure. The hon. Member brought out the implications of his party's views with a frankness and an openness that is not always adopted by the more sophisticated of his colleagues. For example, the idea of an industrial planning board, with its direction of industry, is a very interesting 1178 and very clearly expressed declaration of intention.
The hon. Member went further. He referred to the intention to buy out industries in the South and transplant them compulsorily as State-owned enterprises in the areas of unemployment. I wonder how the hon. Member reconciled that proposal with what his own Leader said at Question Time this afternoon, when my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for War made a statement about the Royal Ordnance Factory at Woolwich. From that Dispatch Box the right hon. Gentleman, not two hours ago, told my right hon. Friend that he should consider using that Ordnance factory, in the crowded South-East, for civilian production.
I do not know how the right hon. Member would square the actual institution of new civilian manufacturing capacity in the South-East—unless it be that it happens to be State-owned—with a proposal compulsorily to move or disappropriate private industry from the South-East to the North-East or to Scotland. If the hon. Member thinks that I am misrepresenting him I shall gladly give him a chance to intervene, right away, although he would not give way to my hon. Friend.
§ Mr. Boyd-Carpenter
This becomes more interesting. Does this mean that there will be only voluntary purchase? What happens if the firm concerned does not want to move? What happens if it is not prepared to move voluntarily? What will the hon. Member do? I give him another chance to intervene. He seems a little less eager to take it. The House will draw its own conclusions.
Then the hon. Member referred—and I am not misrepresenting him here—to the establishment of new publicly-owned industries in these areas. What sort of industry? Into which industry does the hon. Gentleman propose in this way to introduce further nationalisation? The country outside would be interested to know, since it is a point which his own Leader has been very successful in ducking. That is why I 1179 rejoice at the action of the Opposition in putting in the Deputy Chief Whip to bat.
Mr. E. Fernybough (Jarrow)
The Postmaster-General announced in the House recently a considerable increase in his investment programme over the next five years. Is there any reason why the Post Office should not produce some of the things required for this big investment programme in the North-East, or in Scotland?
§ Mr. Boyd-Carpenter
The hon. Gentleman asked whether the Post Office could go into the question of producing equipment which it does not produce at present. That would raise very serious issues.
We had from the Opposition Deputy Chief Whip a very interesting declaration of policy as to central direction of industry, the purchase of existing firms and their forceable transfer, and the setting up of new nuclei of nationalisation in particular areas. I would only say to him that this technique of centralised State direction is not new. It is exactly what the party opposite tried, with lamentable lack of success, between 1945 and 1951, when the one thing that all objective national opinion was satisfied about was that the centralised direction of the Ministry would not work, because the Government machine, however well staffed, in such a complex society as ours, could not possibly manage and control industrial tactics in this way.
I agree with the hon. Member for Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Central (Mr. Short), however, that we cannot isolate in these discussions the problems of areas of unemployment from the central issues of economic policy, on which for that reason I want to say a few words. But before leaving the hon. Member, I would remind him of what he would have been reminded of by my hon. Friend the Member for Hexham (Mr. Speir) had he had the courtesy to give way. It is that he was on a wholly false point in the local government borrowing point which he was seeking to make. My hon. Friend the Member for Hexham could have told him with great authority, because he introduced and carried through the Local Govern- 1180 ment (Financial Provisions) Act, 1963, that under Section 8 of that Act local authorities may defer or capitalise their interest payments up to five years. This, which is based on fact whereas the hon. Member was basing himself on supposition, makes clear that he was on a bad point.
On the question of general policy, I agree with the hon. Member that it is impossible to separate from the general economy the policies applying to regional development, whether in respect of free depreciation or the Local Employment Act or even the negative pressures of the industrial development certificates. All work more efficiently when the economy is expanding, and, as I think the hon. Member himself said, when industry is on the move.
One of the major contributions that we can make and are making, therefore, to the areas of unemployment is the expansion of the economy or, in the words of my right hon. Friend, expansion without inflation, an expansion which can be sustained. We can say that the general expansion of the economy which is now taking place as a result of my right hon. Friend's measures is itself playing a major part in making policy in these areas more effective. It is a fact that the measures in the Chancellor's Budget are taking effect.
I am glad to see that the hon. Member for Cardiff, South-East (Mr. Callaghan) is here and is to intervene towards the end of the debate. I am glad to see the shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer emerging from the penumbra of the shadow Minister of Production. The hon. Member for Cardiff, South-East will remember that when we had the Budget debates he thought that my right hon. Friend had not gone far enough. He said, on 4th April, that… the Chancellor of the Exchequer has been too cautious. I believe that there is a need for greater incentives if we are to get industry running full out."—[Official Report, 4th April, 1963; Vol. 675, c. 642.]The hon. Member has repented of that in a big way. He now thinks that we are doing too much. The hon. Member said, in his famous speech in Wembley, on 9th November:This will be the biggest spending spree ever by any Government in peace time. If they carry out this programme without the capacity to pay we shall be in for a period of galloping inflation.1181 In the debate on the Address the hon. Member referred rather gaily to my right hon. Friend as "Reckless Reggie". The hon. Member fails to appreciate that the present expansion derives precisely from the Budget measures which the hon. Member suggested at the time were too small. If he thinks now that we are doing too much he was plainly wrong to criticise us then for doing too little. He has not understood that the same consistent policy of my right hon. Friend embodied in the Budget is producing the industrial expansion which is now taking place. The only change is in the hon. Member for Cardiff, South-East. The "Sunny Jim" of April has become "Jeremiah James" of December.
§ Mr. James Callaghan (Cardiff, South-East)
With what does the right hon. Gentleman disagree? Does he disagree that this will be the biggest amount of spending, taking into account all the programmes up to 1958, in which any Government has ever indulged? Or does he disagree with the statement that if the Government carry out the programme and do not have the capacity to pay in real resources we shall be in for galloping inflation? If the right hon. Gentleman agrees, what is he criticising?
§ Mr. Boyd-Carpenter
What I criticise is the hon. Member's statement now that we are doing too much when, as recently as last April, he was describing the very measures that have brought this about as too little.
§ Mr. Callaghan
May I explain the matter in one sentence to the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, who, I think, understands it perfectly? It is one thing to say last April that we were not doing enough to stimulate the economy and quite a different thing to say that the vast programmes being undertaken over the next five years will overstrain resources unless production rises at 4 per cent, per annum. I am sure that if the right hon. Gentleman applies his mind to it he will see the proposition.
§ Mr. Boyd-Carpenter
If the hon. Gentleman applies his mind to it he will see that the very measures of the Budget, which are now bringing about an expansion of that order, were designed for a programme of this kind to be sustained. If outside the House the hon. Member suggests that the Government 1182 are going into a spending spree, the plain suggestion being that we are spending too much, it is up to him to say in what direction, and, in particular, which of our programmes, a Labour Government would cut.
I come back now to the regions. It also helps to run the economy at the higher level we aim at if the regions themselves are having their resources fully employed and if, in particular, development can be steered to areas where resources and labour are available and steered away from areas where they are short. It is possible to sustain the economy at a higher overall level because we avoid the excessive competition for labour, resources and premises which otherwise will develop in areas where they are already fully employed.
Therefore, it is the essence of regional policy that not only does an expanding economy help the proper development of the regions, but the proper development of the regions makes it possible to obtain overall a higher level of activity in the economy as a whole. That is essential to a proper understanding of the issue, just as is the fact that if development can take place in areas when; there is room for it, rather than expanding in areas already fully extended, there is less strain on general public investment in public utilities, since full use is made of those utilities where the) are, rather than having to provide them on a higher scale in areas where they are already fully extended.
No one, I think, would seek to criticise the Government for any excessive devotion to orthodoxy in the methods used to help areas of unemployment. I disagree entirely with the hon. Member for Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Central in his criticism of the Local Employment Act. It is completely fallacious to attribute to that Act changes in industrial structure which result from change in demand, changing needs in the economy, and changes in techniques. No question of preventing such changes could possibly be dealt with under the Act, nor would it be for the general health of the economy to do so.
The point of the Local Employment Act comes, on the positive side—the inducement to new industries to go to areas where the older industries, for one 1183 reason or another, are declining. Therefore, the hon. Gentleman is really not playing quite fair by the Act in attributing failure to it because it does not prevent the technical and technological changes in the older industries, which will take place, and which, for the health of the general economy, are in some measure quite inescapable.
The Government are using a variety of instruments to help them and to help with the real solution of the problem, which is to get new industries into these areas. Differential taxation has always been viewed rather unhappily in this country. It has plain dangers from the point of view of equity between individuals and in the practicability of enforcement, as the hon. Member for Cardiff, South-East knows very well.
On the other hand, my right hon. Friend has found a method of taxation, that of free depreciation, which can be applied specifically to the areas of unemployment. It is a very powerful instrument. When the House recalls that not only can an industrialist under this write off, if he wishes, in the first year, 100 per cent. of the cost of the equipment, but on top of that, there can be brought in a 30 per cent. investment allowance, that is an extremely powerful fiscal stimulus.
I had the experience a few weeks ago of being in Southern Italy and seeing what the Italian Government were doing with their rather comparable problem of the restoration of the South. In discussions there, particularly with industrialists, I was given very clearly the impression that of all the variety of methods that the Italian Government were using tax concessions were, perhaps, the most effective and persuasive.
But we do not rest on that, although it is a fact that the use of this fiscal incentive is plainly stimulating development in these areas. A very good test is the number of projects for financial assistance under the Local Employment Act. During the year ended 31st March, 1963, 370 projects were put forward for financial assistance in the development areas. During the seven months since the Budget—this is comparing seven months with twelve—more than 700 projects have been put forward. In other words, since the Budget, the 1184 monthly rate of these projects put forward has tripled.
That is partly due, no doubt, to the improved provisions of the Act itself. But I think that the House will come to the conclusion that this really spectacular increase clearly reflects the powerful stimulus given by free depreciation. Many applications are being dealt with now, but the fact remains that firm offers have been made for larger amounts in the seven months in both the North-East and in Scotland than in the whole of the preceding 12 months.
Another important instrument is capital investment. It has been the deliberate decision of the Government to give a disproportionate amount of capital investment to the North-East and to Scotland. Here, I thought that the right hon. Member for Battersea, North (Mr. Jay) was rather less than fair in his speech yesterday. I should say that the right hon. Gentleman, with his habitual courtesy, has told me that it is not possible for him, owing to an unavoidable engagement, to be present. I fully accept that, and I thought that in fairness to the right hon. Gentleman I should say so. In fairness to myself, I warned him that I should be dealing with his speech.
The right hon. Gentleman was a little selective in his choice of figures. He referred to the fact—column 1008 of the Official Report—yesterday that the total public service investment in Central Scotland would rise by only £10 million in 1964–65 above the current year's provision of £130 million. But the right hon. Gentleman did not refer to the fact that the current year provision of £130 million is £30 million up on last year, a 30 per cent. increase.
Then the right hon. Gentleman referred, in, I thought, a rather unfair way, to the "gathering together of already known schemes". If we had not already gone ahead with these, no one would have been more vehement than the right hon. Gentleman in denouncing us for delay. What comes out is that we have, in fact, gone ahead with these.
§ Mr. E. Shinwell (Easington)
Will the right hon. Gentleman say whether the Government prepared all these schemes during the period of the credit squeeze?
§ Mr. Boyd-Carpenter
The Government have always had in mind the 1185 measures necessary to deal with localised unemployment in areas where it would arise. Of course, any Government would have plans to deal with these contingencies.
I am dealing for the moment with the right hon. Member for Battersea, North. I think that it was a very unfair and wrong impression to give that there was only a £10 million increase and not to refer to the 30 per cent. increase for Central Scotland this year over last year. Indeed, to refer just to "gathering together of already known schemes" is hardly consistent with the Amendment that the right hon. Member moved, charging us with belated measures. At least, we are ahead of him.
§ Mr. William Ross (Kilmarnock)
Can the right hon. Gentleman tell me how many of these schemes have already been delayed, and could he give me an estimate of the amount of underspending that there has been on the road programme in Scotland?
§ Mr. Boyd-Carpenter
I cannot give the hon. Gentleman detailed figures of underspending on the road programme. I understand that on the trunk roads, as opposed to the classified roads, there has from time to time been some underspending in Scotland for purely practical reasons and difficulties. The hon. Gentleman is seeking, with his habitual ingenuity—I enjoyed his speech very much last night—to divert me from the right hon. Member for Battersea, North, who seems to have many friends with admirable diversionary qualities.
The right hon. Gentleman did not stop at Scotland. He also overlooked the fact that, as a result of this increase in Scotland alone, an area with 7.5 per cent. of the population of Great Britain is to get 11 per cent. of the public service investment.
Then the right hon. Gentleman used the same very misleading argument in respect of the North-East. Indeed, it is even more misleading. He referred to the fact that the public service investment in the North-East next year goes up to nearly £90 million, above the present £80 million, but ignored the fact that the current £80 million is an enormous proportionate increase on the figure for last year which was £55 million.
1186 This is an increase of over 40 per cent., a very considerable use of the resources of public service investment to which it would have been fair of the right hon. Gentleman to refer. An area with 5½ per cent. of the population of Great Britain is getting 7 per cent. of the public service investment. Taking the two areas together, 13 per cent. of the population are in areas which are receiving 18 per cent. of the public service investment.
The object is not merely to give immediate employment, though it does have that beneficial effect. That effect is temporary, however. What we are after is economic development which, in due course, will be self-sustaining. The real object must be long term. It must be to make the are as attractive to industrialists so that they will want to bring their plant there, and not have to be directed there; attractive to industrialists in the sense that there are good communications to connect them with their markets; attractive to industrialistsin districts where the specialist staff that they will need to bring with them will be happy to work and live. That is why there is to be a considerable road programme—I shall come to subject of roads in due course—in both the North-East and in Scotland.
There is a whole variety of steps to be taken to make this project attractive to individuals. Reference has been made to educational investment. That has been substantially increased, again disproportionately to the child population. There is also the increased grant in respect of clearance of derelict land.
I take up the phrase—and I accept it—which has been used, that one wants to take steps which help the quality of living. Going further than that, it is essential that the cultural life of the regions should be developed and helped. Central to this are the universities, the centres of intellectual vigour in the arts, and centres of research in the industrial context on the scientific and technological sides. Great development is taking place in those directions.
Take first the North-East. Since 1st August there have been two separate universities at Newcastle and Durham. Durham is introducing for the first time a faculty of applied science. There is 1187 a great expansion in building at both these universities. Capital grants from the University Grants Committee to Newcastle for construction and so on total £897,000 this year. Next year the figure will be £1,845,000, the year after £1,200,000, making over £3 million on construction in two years. Durham is getting £1 million in the current year. The numbers at both universities are being expanded by about 50 per cent. in the next 10 years.
I was asked about the introduction in the area of one of these new institutions called S.I.S.T.E.R.s. Any decision about that will obviously have to await consideration by the U.G.C., but I take note of the points. Similarly, in Scotland, a tremendous amount of work is going on in the new University of Strathclyde—
§ Mr. Boyd-Carpenter
No, the hon. Gentleman is wrong. I mean the newly-promoted University of Strathclyde. It has gained university status. Nearly £2 million worth of work is going on there, particularly in connection with engineering and building. The University of Glasgow will be starting a project worth £358,000.
On education generally, the proportions of spending in the North-East on major educational works are 9.3 per cent. of the total provided by my right hon. Friend the Minister of Education, against a school population of 6-9. In Central Scotland educational starts have risen from £11½ in 1960–61 to £16.3 million next year, a very large increase. The actual work done is increasing rapidly, from £9.9 million in 1960–61 to £15½ million in 1964–65.
My hon. Friend the Member for Belfast, East (Mr. McMaster), during yesterday's debate, made an eloquent plea for Northern Ireland, and I should like to say a word or two in reply to him. The House recognises the problem of Northern Ireland. Though there has been some reduction in unemployment, it is still the highest for any area in the United Kingdom. It has not been referred to earlier in the debate because of the different constitutional position, because of its possession of a Government of its own, but this problem is fully 1188 understood by my right hon. Friends and myself.
A great deal is being done to help. First, the free depreciation which I have already mentioned applies throughout the whole of Northern Ireland. Rates of grant for assistance to industry have always been at a higher level in Northern Ireland than on this side of St. George's Channel. In the light of the standardisation of grants announced by my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer in the Budget, the rates in Northern Ireland have risen further to maintain the differential. There is very high expenditure in the current year—£5.4 million under the industrial development Acts, grants and loans to industry £3.5 million, and £5.1 million in respect of capital costs for buildings and new machinery.
The existing subsidy on coal, designed to help Northern Ireland deal with production costs and the distance of supplies of power, has been extended to oil, and the two subsidies now cost in excess of £1 million. There has been a £10 million payment to Short Bros, and Harland to enable that firm to complete the order for Belfast aircraft. There are also special arrangements in connection with sub-contracting work on the V.C.10, and I would also remind the House of my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary's announcement on 1st August of assistance in connection with the dry dock. Most of this assistance under existing constitutional arrangements is provided from the Northern Ireland Government, but successive reductions in the Imperial contribution have placed that Government in an increasingly strong position to undertake these expenditures.
On top of this, I do not know whether the House fully realises that agricultural subsidies in excess of £30 million last year were paid to Northern Ireland straight from the Vote of the Minister of Agriculture, and the combined effect of the social services agreement and arrangements in respect of National Insurance funds is to add a further payment from this country to Northern Ireland of £15 million a year. I have myself sufficient Ulster blood to know that no provisions will fully satisfy my hon. Friend, but I would say with all sincerity that we fully realise the seriousness and the long-standing nature of the 1189 problem of Northern Ireland, a problem which the Northern Irish people are tackling with so much resource and courage. The provisions to which I have referred today are a solid acknowledgment of the position.
§ Mr. Stanley McMaster (Belfast, East)
I am grateful to my right hon. Friend for what he has said. Can he give an assurance that public investment in Northern Ireland during the next two or three years will increase in the same way as it is planned to increase in the North-East and Scotland?
§ Mr. Boyd-Carpenter
I cannot answer that question because it involves answering for the Government of Northern Ireland, which is an impertinence of which I would not wish to be guilty. But the financial position of the Government of Northern Ireland, on which they must make their own decisions, is receiving a massive measure of help from the Government at Westminster.
§ Mr. Stratton Mills (Belfast, North)
Can I take it that my right hon. Friend is saying that any request for an increased level of public expenditure in Northern Ireland to keep it on a par with the growth areas will receive at least as much sympathetic consideration from the Treasury?
§ Mr. Boyd-Carpenter
A Treasury Minister cannot answer a question, however persuasively phrased, beginning with the words "any request". But I can certainly give the assurance that sympathy will be forthcoming.
We heard last night what I thought, and what I am sure the House thought, a very moving speech by the hon. Member for Durham, North-West (Mr. Ainsley), who, I think, always commands, deservedly, the attention of the House. He referred very rightly to the importance of road communications in the North-East, but I think that he underrated what has been done, what is being done and what will be done in this respect. The hon. Gentleman referred, rather amusingly, to there only being the Roman road, but I would point out that, in addition, there arethe Marples highways.
In paragraphs 57 and 58 the White Paper itself goes into this in very considerable detail. It brings out, first, the large expenditure on improving the com- 1190 munications of the North-East with the rest of the country. That is vitally important to the point on which I have already touched, that of inducing industrialists, particularly those who manufacture perishable goods, to instal themselves in the area.
The White Paper then deals with internal roads—there is a considerable list in a later paragraph—and it brings out the magnitude of what is being done. The present programme in the North-East is of the value of £58 million—already a priority—and this is to be followed by a further programme of about £50 million, about £30 million of which, we estimate, will be spent during the currency of the original £58 million programme. This involves a concentration of effort in the provision of roads and is disproportionate to what it is possible to do in most other parts of the country. That is. of course, essential to a policy, which we have been discussing in the House for one and a half days, of deliberately concentrating efforts on the areas in which it is designed to secure improvement even if it means that we can do less in others
§ Mr. James Boyden (Bishop Auckland)
What my hon. Friends and I complain about is the way West Durham is left out of the picture. I wonder whether the right hon. Gentleman would read the last part of paragraph 62, which says:It may in addition be possible to provide for some improvement in roads giving local access to the growth zone from the west and south.We are the people who are expected to travel from the West and the South to the growth zone, and who are having practically all our railways closed
§ Mr. Boyd-Carpenter
The question of the closure of railways involves the whole procedure, and both the consultative committees and my right hon. Friend the Minister of Transport.
On road provision, to which I have referred, the hon. Gentleman is perfectly entitled to interrupt me. I am concerned here with the general provision of resources. How my right hon. Friend the Minister of Transport disposes of these very large resources is a matter for him, and on which he is technically better qualified to answer than I am. I would suggest to the hon. Gentleman that he directs that inquiry to my right hon. Friend.
§ Mr. Cledwyn Hughes (Anglesey)
The Chief Secretary has said something very disquieting; the tenor of his speech indicates that the Government's resources are to be concentrated in the North-East and Scotland, and to a degree in Northern Ireland, which means that the needs of North and Mid-Wales are to be neglected. This is a very serious matter. Will he comment on it?
§ Mr. Boyd-Carpenter
This does not mean that the needs of any part of the country will be neglected. The hon. Gentleman must not draw that conclusion. But priority for some part of the country means that other parts get less than they would otherwise get because, otherwise, priority is meaningless. But it does involve that, and it is fair that the House should face and recognise it.
It is very easy to talk about priorities for particular areas, but it is intellectually dishonest to do so unless one is, clear in one's own mind that the rest of the country will get less than it would otherwise get. It does not mean neglect, but less than it would otherwise get. It seems a justifiable course to take and I think that whatever else divides us on this issue there is no basic division between us on that. That it can be successful is borne out by the success story of South Wales, which shows that these measures can be successful.
The object which we now have in the North-East and Scotland is permanent new development, strong, expanding and self-sustaining, and that is exactly what years of effort and heavy investment have done for the industry of South Wales. New industries have been brought in there to take the place of those declining. I do not need to list them, because the hon. Gentleman will know them for himself, but there is the British Motor Corporation, Pressed Steel, British Hydro-Carbon Chemicals and the immense steel plant of Richard Thomas & Baldwins, at Llanwern, the most modern and up to date of its kind in the world, and the oil refineries of the Esso, British Petroleum and Regent companies.
The result is that the four South Wales counties which had an average of unemployment in 1948 of 34,000 came down last year to an average of 23,000.This shows that concentration of effort, both Government and private, of public 1192 service investment, concentrated—and I stress "concentrated", because if they are too widely dispersed they will not be effective—on particular areas can build them up permanently and give them a decent future.
That is the enterprise on which we are engaged. There is the happy example of South Wales to show that it is an enterprise that can and will be successful, and I venture to suggest that it will be successful well within the lifetime of the present Government.
§ 5.27 p.m.
§ Mr. E. Shinwell (Easington)
What is this debate about? It is about the two Government White Papers. What do the White Papers indicate? They indicate that the problem of unemployment remains with us. That is what we are debating this afternoon and what we debated yesterday. Sixty years ago, in this assembly, Keir Hardie raised the claims of the unemployed and demanded work for them. That was 60 years ago, yet we are still debating unemployment. That is a sad commentary on what is frequently described as social and industrial progress in this country.
I want to ask the right hon. Gentleman and hon. Members opposite a question, a valid question, a fair question and, I may add, an honest question. Do they really believe in the abolition of unemployment? I hope that whoever is to reply to this debate will answer that question. Or do they prefer, as previous Tory and Liberal Governments preferred, a reservoir of unemployed? When we consider the unemployment which is exploited to the advantage of industrial firms in this country, that is a fair question. Let them answer it.
But, of course, if the Government really believe that a serious attempt should be made to solve the problem of unemployment, let them tell us how they propose to do it. If they are unable to do it, then the unemployed have a right to ask, as indeed, they have been asking for many years now, directly and indirectly, through the medium of hon. Members: what is to happen to them?
Are they to live on unemployment benefit, supplemented by National Assistance, and on what they may gain from their friends and relatives? Are they to be regarded as inferior not only from 1193 the point of view of intellect and physique, but from the point of view of nutrition, housing accommodation, clothing and the ordinary simple amenities of good living?
These are fair questions. I have heard them asked in this assembly for the past 40 years. I knew about them before I came to this assembly. There is no answer to them in this White Paper, make no mistake about that. Yet the unemployed demand an answer. If there were no unemployment in the North-East, Scotland, the South-West and certain parts of the South-East and South Wales, and even in the Midlands and the congested industrial areas experiencing all the benefits of an affluent society, as we are told, there would have been no White Papers and no need for them.
I ask the Chief Secretary to be honest about this. He has considerable ability, although I am bound to say that he might have used it to greater advantage in the course of his speech. However, I am assuming, and I think rightly, that he is an honest man, together with his colleagues on the Front Bench. Let them answer this question: do the contents of these White Papers provide even a partial solution of the unemployment problem? Surely the answer must be in the negative.
While the right hon. Gentleman was addressing the House, I ventured to interrupt him. I hope that he will forgive me for that, but I thought that it was a valid interruption. I asked him a question to which he did not vouchsafe a satisfactory reply. When he was speaking about the plans which the Government were preparing over a period of years in serious contemplation about the future, I asked him whether they were being prepared simultaneously with the credit squeeze, which provided for restriction in production. He gave no answer. He said that some of my hon. Friends were indulging in diversionary tactics. I realise that he is a past master at that, because I have known him for a long time.
Obviously, if a Government engage in a restrictionist policy, probably for sound reasons—perhaps to curb the serious effects of inflation—it is quite proper to adopt the method of restriction. But, plainly, it would verge on foolishness—I will not say that it would 1194 be improper—to engage in restriction in production and to curb consuming power and, at the same time, to prepare plans for increasing production, investment allowances, depreciation allowances and the like.
The Chief Secretary should have been more honest in replying to my question. Perhaps we may have an answer to it later. The Government are, to that extent, not wholly to blame, but partly to blame. Whydo I say that they are not wholly to blame? We have been able to deal with the problem of unemployment—indeed, to solve it—in only two prolonged periods in this century. One was between 1914 and 1918 and the other between 1939 and 1945. The Chief Secretary threw cold water on the concept of direction of industry. We had wholesale direction of industry, direction of labour, centralisation and concentration during those periods. The Government were the masters, and I understood the need for such a policy.
In the Second World War, during that prolonged period when there was no unemployment, I advocated in this assembly even more stringent measures to ensure that everybody was geared up to production. That was the right thing to do. When the war was over we went back to the bad old days.
Another period when unemployment was at a very low level was between 1945 and 1950 when the Labour Party was in office. If that is challenged, I point out that the national average of unemployment in that period was below the present national average. Hon. Members opposite may sneer at that Labour Government, but the level of unemployment then was lower than it is now, and I know why. The reason it was lower was not entirely attributable to a Labour Government; of course not. [Hon. Members: "Oh."] I am trying to be honest about these matters. I hope that hon. Members opposite will exhibit the same honesty. If they try hard enough they may succeed.
Another reason for the low level of unemployment in those days was the fact that we were starting from scratch again in 1945. We had to build up existing industries and create new ones. As I say, there was very little unemployment. There was a considerable 1195 shortage of labour in the mining industry, as I well know.
We have debated the question of unemployment over and over again—not in assemblies weakened in numbers but in assemblies which have been crowded. I have heard the most passionate speeches made on behalf of the unemployed. Let me say to the Chief Secretary, and to hon. Members on both sides of the House, that the unemployment problem in the North-East or elsewhere will not be solved merely by injecting money into the areas concerned—by priming the pump, as it is said.
Of course, that helps. If money is injected, and if the pump is primed, that increases consuming power. That is the purpose of capital investment. We gather together a vast amount of material—it may be bricks and mortar or it may be essential requirements for the engineering and electronic industries—and, as a result, capital investment raises consumer demand.
I do not object to that. Far be it from me in my constituency to object to the injection of finance or capital investment. Whether we are getting it is another matter. I will come to that when I leave the general issues involved and deal with the somewhat parochial matters.
A great deal can be done about this problem. I do not go so far as to say that we can solve it merely by reviving public enterprises in certain depressed areas, or even by directing industry to go from the South or the Midlands to the North. That might merely result in a redistribution of unemployment. That would be no solution to the general unemployment problem. It would alleviate the problem in the North-East, Scotland or Ulster, but it would be no comfort to those of us in the North to know that we have partially dealt with the unemployment problem in our midst only to create unemployment in some other parts of the country. That is not the solution.
The right hon. Gentleman spoke of benefits derived from depreciation allowances, and I presume that he was thinking more particularly of the shipbuilding industry. But we have had depreciation 1196 allowances for the shipbuilding industry for some considerable time. Why, then, have the Government provided £75 million credit to the industry? Because the depreciation allowances were inadequate. It is as simple as that.
I venture upon one or two possible solutions of the problem facing us. I admit that these ills cannot be cured over night. First, there must be a vast and drastic expansion of international trade. If we could increase our exports by 10 per cent, we would nearly solve the problem. If those countries regarded as under-developed, in the industrial sense, could get better prices for their commodities they could buy more goods from us, which would help us considerably. Credits, perhaps on an international scale, are required in order to inject more finance or the ingredients required into those countries so that later they could buy more goods from us.
What is the cause of it all? Unlike me, the right hon. Gentleman is an educated person and I ask him whether he has ever sat down and thought about the cause of unemployment. I believe that he was president of the Oxford Union at one time. I thought that his speech today was reminiscent of those days. He was a little nasty when he began, but I do not want to be because that is not a good thing when we are engaged in serious controversy.
I wonder whether he has ever considered what causes unemployment. May I offer him an idea? Is there no disparity between production and distribution? Has it ever occurred to him? Surely it must have done at some time. Not only here but throughout the world there is this disparity between production and consuming power. Raise the consuming power of people in the under-developed countries—in China and Russia as well—and it would not only benefit us but also people in other countries. It would even benefit Ulster, although I am bound to say that, judging by the sycophancy of Ulster Members in this House—I do not say that in a derogatory sense: I am speaking in the political sense—they do not really deserve it.
But I am the last person to deprive the people of Ulster of what they need, because I was well acquainted with Ulster, as I was with Southern Ireland. 1197 I want to leave what might be described as the general problem. This is not an academic exercise and I have merely thrown out some suggestions. I do not, however, believe that this Government can solve the problem.
I know what I am talking about when I say that a Labour Government will not be. able to solve the problem either unless they undertake drastic changes in our industrial structure and in the monetary and fiscal systems. If we do not undertake these changes we may alleviate the problem to some extent, but we will not solve it. Now here I must consult my notes because I want to refer to parochial questions.
I represent the well-known and distinguished constituency of Easington in County Durham. I use notes at this point—and I hope that this will not be counted against me some time—because of the statement made by the Secretary of State for Industry and Trade yesterday. The right hon. Gentleman said that the While Paper was welcomed in the North-East.
I was surprised to hear that, because I am well acquainted with the North-East. I go there nearly every week and when I am not there they let me know. But I thought, in order to ascertain the views of some of my constituents I would address a letter on the subject to Easington Rural District Council, which is the second largest district council in the country and is very influential. I asked the Council to inform me of its views on the White Paper. I think that the House had better hear what it says. It is very polite. It says:The situation is that the North-East Report adds little to what was already known and agreed in the Easington area. Only three parts of the Report really affect the district and as stated they contained nothing new.The first is the 90 acre industrial site west of A. 19 to be included in the designated area. My Council knew of this some months ago and agreed in principle to this extension of the designated area for industry.Yet the Minister of Housing and Local Government made a song and dance about this the other day. Like Columbus, he made an original discovery. It was well known to the Council a longtime ago, however. The letter goes on:The second is the speeding up of the improvements to A.19 which all interested parties, 1198 including ourselves, have been trying to 'push' for a considerable period of time. The Council only hope that the- promise to expedite A.19 will be carried out and the actual works implemented as soon as possible.How many questions have we asked about that? How many times have I gone to the Minister of Transport about it? I almost pleaded with him on my hands and knees—a most unusual posture for me—in order to persuade him to do something about it. Now he is going to do something.
Yesterday the Secretary of State said, in the kind of sectionalised, departmentalised fashion which occasionally happens when Ministers make their speeches, that he will provide the money but that the Minister of Transport has to deal with the technical aspects. The other day I asked the Minister of Transport… when the proposed scheme for the reconstruction of the A.19 road between Sheraton Road End and Cold Hesledon will begin; and when it will be completed.A fair enough question. I asked it because I had seen the White Paper. The Minister's reply was:Acquisition of land for the Sheraton and Shotton diversion schemes has proved to be more complicated than expected and I am having to use compulsory purchase powers … I am still hopeful that we will have completed the processes required in time for a start of works in the current financial year."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 27th November, 1963; Vol. 685, c. 74.]I asked about that road three years ago, at about the time of the credit squeeze when perhaps one might have expected the Minister to be pessimistic not only about the A.19 but about roads in general.
The Chief Secretary had better hear the rest of the letter from the Easington Council so that he can convey it to his colleagues, who will then know what the Council thinks of the White Paper.The third matter was improving the North-East area by carrying out works on derelict sites."—Most of my hon. Friends are concerned with this—Reference is made to increased grants but the financial limitation on the carrying out of the works by the local authority still remains, i.e. it must be proved to the satisfaction of the Board of Trade that the clearing up of the derelict site will be vitally to attract industry to the area. In the past this 1199 has meant that the site itself must be zoned for industry or alternatively the site must be close to an industrial site.Restrictions, inhibitions, obstacles, barriers to progress! What is the use of the Government coming along in this optimistic, airy-fairy, pie-in-the-sky fashion and telling us what the White Paper will do for us?
It might be assumed that we shall get a lot of work as a result, so I thought I had better ask the general manager of the Peterlee Corporation what he thought. It was suggested that I might go to the site to see what was happening. He informed me that since Peterlee became a new town, 14 years ago, the total number of workpeople engaged has been 1,299–1,060 females and 239 males. What of the future? There's the rub. What is the carrot dangling before our noses?
There are several projects, but how often do we hear that word "project"? There is one scheduled for the end of the year, another by the end of the year. The latter is an important one—a zip fastener firm. I have no objection to zip fasteners—I have often to deal with them myself. Sometimes it is difficult for ladies to fasten up their zips.
How many will this factory employ? It will take 70 people—50 females and 20 males. A paper firm and another making fireplaces will open by the end of the year while, early in 1965, there will be another. But the total number of persons likely to be employed by them is 255 and of this total 109 will be females and 156 males.
I will give one or two facts before I sit down. The House should know them. In 1952 there were 102,000 miners employed in the North-East. On 11th November last there were 72,000—a loss of 30,000. All the jobs in all the projects provided by the Government or suggested by them cannot absorb or make up for the 30,000 jobs lost.
In the North-East, 55,000 persons are registered as unemployed. Well over 1,000 of them are school leavers. That is the position, but there is something more. We are told that the Government want to expedite the building of houses and schools, yet over 8,000 con- 1200 struction and building workers are registered at the employment exchanges. Is the right hon. Gentleman aware of this? These are not my figures. I was busy last week asking a lot of Written Questions and I got the answers. These are the facts.
Finally, I want to ask about the position of the unemployed now. I have ventured to discuss this with some of my colleagues and I think that they agree with me, although there might be some difficulties. Let us assume that the Government's proposals are adequate, even if belated. Let us assume they will help, as I hope they do for the sake of our people in these areas. But what about those people now? Christmas is coming. What about the unemployed men, even in Ulster? All the hon. Members for Ulster constituencies should be asking this question. Would it not be fine for them to go back before Christmas, by air as they usually do at Government expense—
§ Mr. Shinwell
I will make my speech in my own way and the hon. Member will not stop me. I understand this House thoroughly. I have taken a lot from other right hon. and hon. Members and will say what is necessary.
Would it not be a fine thing for Ulster Members to go back and tell the unemployed, who are out of work through no fault of their own—indeed, to be fair, through no fault of the hon. Members for Ulster—that the Government have decided that there should be a supplementary unemployment benefit for them? It would be a very fine thing, even if only temporary, and until all these schemes bear fruit it is not asking too much. I hope that hon. Members for Ulster will support me in this. I should like an answer by the Government to my suggestion. It would be a fine thing to be able to say to our people that they were not to be left merely to the dole in so far as—
Mr. Percy Collide (Birkenhead)
The Government have already turned down that suggestion.
§ Mr. Shinwell
—there are to be provided with something during the period while the Government schemes are coming to fruition. It would be a fine thing 1201 indeed. If the Government are not prepared to do that, what is the use of the White Papers? It is pie in the sky. Somebody said, "Jam tomorrow", and I repeat it. It is not good enough. Because we cannot solve the unemployment problem now, there is no reason why we should not help to alleviate the conditions of those who are unemployed. I ask the Government to consider that suggestion. It is no use indulging in these optimistic and cheery speeches. We want much more than that. I am representing—as I am sure are my hon. Friends—the views of those who are, unfortunately, unemployed at this time.
§ 5.57 p.m.
§ Mr. Rafton Pounder (Belfast, South)
As the new boy in the ranks of the Ulster Unionist Members I noted with more than passing interest the somewhat poetic description used by the right hon. Member for Easington (Mr. Shinwell) to describe my^ colleagues and myself. I also noted that at one stage in his speech the right hon. Gentleman used the words, "I will deliver my own speech". I will do just that myself.
In the earlier days of this Parliament I used frequently to sit in the Gallery of this House and listen with interest to the deliberations taking place below me. I little thought then that before the life of this Parliament had run its course I should be privileged to sit in this Chamber and have the opportunity of speaking to the House.
As I stand here this afternoon I cannot help wondering how many future Members of this House are at present seated upstairs in the Gallery. It is perhaps understandable, and indeed appropriate, for one who is addressing the House for the first time, that I should rise with a certain feeling of trepidation—a trepidation which is in no way minimised by the knowledge that every word uttered is being irrevocably recorded.
This experience is indeed somewhat awesome for a "figure boy"—as my hon. Friend the Member for Stratford-on-Avon (Mr. Maude) described the members of my profession of accountancy in his excellent "second maiden speech" of a fortnight ago. This experience is, to say the least of it, a little nerve-racking. It is therefore with gratitude that I take shelter and comfort 1202 from the very pleasant traditional courtesy which is accorded to those who address the House for the first time. It is most comforting to know that in the somewhat hazardous employment in which I have recently become engaged, I am protected in some measure—at any rate in the earlier apprenticeship stage—against some of the accidents which may befall me on future occasions.
I have been befriended and helped by a great many people in the House during the past three weeks. I should like to take the opportunity of expressing my most sincere appreciation to each and everyone of those hon. Members. I understand that there are two essential rules governing a maiden speech—brevity and lack of controversial content. I can assure hon. Members that if in the course of my remarks I contravene either of these regulations I shall not do so intentionally—despite the somewhat provocative observations from the other side of the House.
I have the honour to succeed a right hon. Member of outstanding kindness, charm and integrity, a Member who was held in the very highest esteem, indeed beloved, by hon. Members on both sides of the House. I refer, of course, to the late Sir David Campbell. It is a remarkable coincidence—and purely accidental, I assure hon. Members—that I should be making my maiden speech almost exactly 11 years to the day since the occasion upon which he made his.
The constituency of Belfast, South which I am privileged to represent and in which I have lived almost all my life, is predominantly residential in character rather than industrial. My constituents are however as vitally concerned with and as much affected by the prosperity of the great factories of Belfast—the shipyard, the aircraft factory, and the many engineering and textile firms—as are the electors of those constituencies in which these factories are situated. The House has been kept very well informed of the problems of Northern Ireland by my Ulster colleagues. The underdevelopment of any region of the United Kingdom is detrimental to the national economy—this applies to the North-East of England, to Central Scotland and even more to Northern Ireland, where the current level of unemployment is substantially higher than in any other region of the United Kingdom.
1203 Although this situation inevitably presents special problems it also presents a special challenge and an opportunity. I reject categorically the idea that Ulster is a depressed area. The industrial potential of Ulster is very considerable. In recent years great strides have been made in the field of industrial diversification, modernisation and expansion. But some measure of Government assistance is undoubtedly needed if the present level of unemployment is to be drastically reduced. I could not add anything to the phrase of my right hon. Friend the Chief Secretary to the Treasury when he said that he had enough Ulster blood in him to know that any assistance given could never completely satisfy the demands of my countrymen. Therefore, my remarks will come as no surprise. But it was with particular interest that I read in paragraph 34 of the White Paper on development in the north-east of England:… the Government will continue to operate a strict policy of steering as much new industrial development as practicable away from areas where the need for new employment opportunities is less pressing.I hope that this statement of intention will apply even more to Ulster than to the north-east of England.
Although the people of Ulster are very appreciative of the generous assistance which has been given over the years by the Treasury, there is, nevertheless, a feeling in some quarters that the Government could have done more to assist in persuading expanding industries to come to Ulster than has perhaps been the case, despite the persistent and painstaking endeavours of my colleagues in the House. The essence of our request, basically, is that Ulster should not be placed at an economic disadvantage because of its geographical position. Ulster has many economic handicaps to face and to overcome, problems which do not confront industrialists on the British mainland.
The Irish Sea is not only a psychological barrier; much worse, it is an expensive barrier. The effect of this barrier is substantially offset, I think, but not completely eliminated, by the unrivalled recreational facilities which Ulster can offer. The beauty of the countryside, the very wide range of sporting facilities cannot be surpassed.
1204 I submit, anywhere in the United Kingdom. Although there are more people in insured employment in Ulster today than at any time in its history, the great strides which have been made in providing additional employment through the attraction of new industries have, unfortunately, coincided with the rundown of employment in traditional industries.
The economy of Ulster—and here a close parallel may be drawn with Central Scotland—has been dominated for many years by a small group of major industries. For a variety of reasons the employment provided by these industries has been, and still is, contracting as the process of modernisation continues and as industries adapt themselves to changing conditions. Although the solution to the problem of unemployment in Ulster lies largely in the attraction of new industries, this must be coupled with the expansion of existing industries. There is little to be gained by attracting, or directing, new firms to Northern Ireland if at the same time established industries are not assisted.
I should like to conclude by returning to my main theme, that the Government, I hope, will undertake to do more to assist in guiding expanding industry away from areas of high employment, density to areas of under-employment, such as Northern Ireland. The Government have given repeated undertakings that they will carry through further exceptional measures to assist in surmounting the complex problem of unemployment in Ulster. I would most respectfully ask the Government to proceed further and faster with the implementation of this undertaking. This is in no way to say that we are unappreciative of the considerable benefits which the Government have given to Northern Ireland and which were outlined by my right hon. Friend the Chief Secretary to the Treasury this afternoon. But I await—as I am sure do all hon. Members representing constituencies in Ulster—with the keenest interest to hear of the next step in the plans for our industrial development. I thank right hon. and hon. Members for their courtesy in listening to me.
§ 6.8 p.m.
§ Mr. E. Fernyhough (Jarrow)
Hon. Members on both sides of the House will join with me when I say that we 1205 have just heard an exceptionally brilliant new recruit to our class-room. I have seldom listened to a maiden speech which has been delivered with more lucidity and ability than that of the hon. Member for Belfast, South (Mr. Pounder). May I say straight away that I do not hope that the hon. Gentleman will take part frequently in our debates. It is wearying for hon. Members to have to sit day after day trying to get an opportunity to speak, so that the fewer hon. Members opposite who attempt to do so the better will be the opportunities for hon. Members on this side of the House.
The hon. Member for Belfast, South made a constituency speech and it would be unreasonable for me to criticise it because it was his maiden speech, but I think the political reputation of Northern Ireland may have something to do with the unemployment problem which exists there. In other words, had the electors shown more political wisdom, their problems would have been solved more quickly.
This debate revolves around what my right hon. Friend the Member for Easing-ton (Mr. Shinwell) was talking about. It is supposed to be a debate about planning. In fact, it is a debate about men and women, and how we, the elected representatives of the nation, can help the 50,000 in the North-East and the 90,000 in Scotland who are unemployed to get employment, or, at least, to live a better kind of life than the life they are able to live at the present time. The tragedy of the problem which we are discussing is the tragedy of poverty.
I have known many men who have never had to work in their lives; who have never intended to work. But their lives have in no way been circumscribed because they did not work. In this country we have always had two kinds of unemployed people. There are the unemployed who have never had to work because they have inherited wealth and the unemployed about whom I am speaking, and to whom reference was made by my right hon. Friend the Member for Easington. The "crime" of unemployment today is merely the "crime" of poverty. It would not matter a great deal if men did not have to go down the pits. It would not matter if they did not have to answer the seven o'clock buzzer and go to the factories, or if they 1206 did not have to do any of the arduous jobs which they do now in order to earn their living, It would not matter if they had the incomes of some of the people to whom I might refer. But it is the poverty which accompanies unemployment which is the crying shame and disgrace to the nation. One of the tragedies is that these plans fail miserably to face the situation as it is.
Three days before he was assassinated, President Kennedy addressed the American Federation of Labour. He foresaw something of what had to be done in America: 46,000 new jobs a day would be required to meet the redundancies which would arise as a result of automation. What do these plans have to do with what is likely to happen in this country in the next five years? Have we even begun to get down to the problems which we shall face?
Almost 500,000 men and women are signing on at the employment exchanges today, men and women who want work but who are denied the right to work. Because they are denied the right to work they are suffering all kinds of hardships. Their lives are frustrated. They are miserable, and they are becoming bitter. They are being attacked by a social disease. If they were being attacked by Communism, there would be no limit to the money which the nation would find in order to protect them from that evil. But unemployment destroys the lives of decent men and women just as a foreign foe would. People are being made nervous wrecks, losing bodily health and strength, merely because they are unemployed, and because their unemployment is accompanied by the poverty to which I have referred. If ours is an affluent society, if we have "never had it so good", we ought to be able to give these people a much fairer deal than they are having now.
The unemployed in my constituency have already demonstrated. I had deputations down here last week. They are decent men and women, but they begin to lose faith in the processes and institutions of democracy when they find that all they can do is talk and there is no answer to their problems. What right have we, those of us who have decent homes and those of us who are in work, to say to the unemployed man or woman, "You must act in a socially responsible way"?
1207 Some of us can remember the 'twenties and 'thirties. Some of the finest men and women in the land were taken to prison at that time. They were as good citizens as ever there have been, but their experiences drove them to become antisocial. Th House must realise that our unemployed will not sit silently by, week after week and month after month, if they do not feel that something really drastic is being attempted on their behalf.
I believe that the present system is on trial. Any social system which imposes a burden such as is being imposed on countless thousands in this country today, any social system which tells boys and girls on leaving school that there is no place for them and that they are not wanted in society, any system which imposes burdens and crosses upon men, women and young people like that, is a system which is failing. The right to vote without the right to work makes a mockery of democracy.
We must see to it that industry serves men rather than men serving industry. Our problem today is a problem of distribution. I am always amazed that we never really understand this. When there is a war on, we give things away. We give away the bombs, the bullets and the torpedoes. True, the people who receive them would be glad to be without them, but, nevertheless, we spend millions of pounds producing things in order to give them away.
Some day we shall have to accept that if men and women are not wanted to tend the machines, if men and women are surplus to the requirements of industry, the country will not thereby be entitled to deny them the fruits of the machines. Ours is a relatively rich country. Today we can produce more than has ever been produced in living memory. There is almost no limit to our productive capacity. It is the consuming capacity which is limited, and here lies the problem to which we must find a solution. How are we to produce all those things which men and women need in order to live a good and full life, and how are we to get them to the people who, under the present system, are denied the opportunity to make in industry their contribution to the creation of the necessary wealth?
1208 I turn now to the very limited reference in the White Paper to the major industry of shipbuilding in the North-East. It is true that we have done better than any other shipbuilding area under the Government's credit scheme. I understand that about 60 per cent, of all orders under the Government's credit scheme are coming to the North-East. Something like 800,000 tons of shipping in total is involved in the credit scheme, perhaps more. But it is only equal to about eight months* work for all the shipyards in the country. What happens then? We have eight months' work guaranteed under the Government's credit scheme. In 12 months, unless new orders are given and new foreign orders are secured, we shall be where we were in shipbuilding 12 months ago. We shall not know where our next job is coming from or whether the next ship will be built.
There is an answer. There is an answer to the problem of the North-East and of Scotland. The Government are the biggest single customer of British industry. There are no two, three, four, five or six buyers who spend on orders what the Government spend. Within the past ten days, the Post Office has announced that it is to increase by millions of pounds its capital investment programme over the next few years. Millions more telephones, millions more miles of cable, and all the other things will be involved.
Why could not some of this extra production be taken to Scotland or to the North-East? This is in the power of the Government. They will place the orders. They will have the power to say "Yea" or "Nay. "If we cannot get Callenders Cables, G.E.C. or anyone else who will be getting the bulk of the orders to create the expansion in areas where employment is most needed, what would be wrong with the Government setting up their own establishments and deciding to produce the very things which they will use in the public service? It would be easy.
If areas such as Scotland and the North-East are to have any salvation under the existing social order, transport will remain of vital importance. I make no bones about what I would do. I would put on the Exchequer the responsibility for making freight traffic on the railways as cheap for the man in 1209 the North-East to send his goods to London as it is for the man in Luton to send his to London.
In other words, I would put all industry on the same footing for freight charges. I would make it possible for industries in the North and in Scotland, or wherever employment is required, not to have to carry the heavy burden of transport costs which now stands in the way of new industrial activity in those areas.
Considering the problems which face us, I amazed that the Government did not, before making their final analysis, look across the Atlantic. There were old, decaying areas there. There was unemployment, poverty and all the misery which we have in some of our industrial centres now. What happened? Roosevelt started the Tennessee Valley Authority. He took life to an area where there was nothing but death. He gave hope where there was nothing but fear. If the Government will act in the North-East and in Scotland with the imagination which Roosevelt used in the Tennessee Valley experiment, there will be some hope for our people. But I see little sign of it in the White Paper.
I believe, therefore, that the only hope for Scotland, for the North-East and for the unemployed everywhere lies in having a new Government.
§ 6.23 p.m.
§ Sir Robert Cary (Manchester, Withington)
I join the hon. Member for Jarrow (Mr. Fernyhough) in congratulating my hon. Friend the Member for Belfast, South (Mr. Pounder) on making his maiden speech so fluently and so eloquently this afternoon. My hon. Friend will come to learn that one of the most likeable things about the House of Commons is that it has a short memory for a bad speech and a long memory for a good one. Effortlessly, my hon. Friend falls into the long memory category, and we shall look forward to the many future occasions when, with his supreme Irish eloquence, he addresses the House.
The theme of the speeches of the hon. Member for Jarrow and the right hon. Member for Easington (Mr. Shinwell) was unemployment, and the right hon. Gentleman asked us on this side the most foolish question I have ever heard in this House. 1210 He asked whether we believed in unemployment. I can tell the hon. Member for Jarrow that I have been a Member of Parliament for 30 years, passing through all those desperate pre-war years to which he: referred. Sir John Jarvis, the then Member for Guildford, brought the needs of Jarrow to our attention many times, and took some practical steps to cure or ameliorate the state of affairs there. He took a lot of interest in this special, agonising, unique problem existing in the hon. Member's constituency. Nobody could possibly believe in unemployment.
The hardest thing to attain in any society is perfection, and when there are to be great technical changes there will be great displacements of labour. How can we aim at a perfectionist world in which we can altogether guarantee to eliminate unemployment? I am only too happy to have lived under at least two Governments during which over-full employment has been the problem of our economy, and not gross unemployment.
I congratulate my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Industry and Trade on bringing to the House yesterday perhaps the most intelligent and vital series of plans ever placed before the House of Commons. I always enjoy listening to the right hon. Member for Orkney and Shetland (Mr. Grimond) when he speaks as he did yesterday. With some parts of that speech I sincerely agree, but his complaint was not against my right hon. Friend but againstthe Government for bringing these plans forward 10 years too late. Mr. Speaker—they are 30 years too late.
I came to this House, through the lottery of political candidature, via the Lancashire-Cheshire Border, with its deep concentration of industry and the inheritance of the scars of the Industrial Revolution. These plans are not 10 years out of date—they were required 30 years ago. They were required much further back, as was implied in the famous words used by the great Prime Minister of the First World War when he spoke of "A land fit for heroes to live in". They were required when, in the 'forties of the last century, in the city that I am privileged to represent, Karl Marx was writing the Communist Manifesto.
That is the background, and now, for the first time, real, forward, regional 1211 plans have been placed before the House of Commons—no matter by whom—that will take the first steps to rebuilding our provincial cities and trying to restore life to the wasted earth that exists all too frequently between many of those cities. They are visionary plans. My right hon. Friend the Chief Secretary to the Treasury said this afternoon that the operation of the Local Employment Act will continue to meet the short-term immediate problems, but the plans we are considering, centred upon the White Papers and regional development, aim at long-term objectives that will not be realised in the lifetime of even one Parliament, and may yet take the best years between now and the end of the century to accomplish in full.
The suggestion I liked most in yesterday's discussion was that made by my hon. Friend the Member for North Angus and Mearns (Sir C. Thornton-Kemsley). He wanted a much more vigorous individual appointed to take command of the regional organisation. In an interjection, I asked my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State whether those appointed would be commanders within their own regions or merely under-secretaries. It is true that they will have certain delegated powers, but if these schemes are to go forward and to succeed, I am perfectly certain that we will need men of calibre, with the talent and the energy to drive them forward.
My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State spoke of surveys of the Merseyside and of the Manchester conurbation. They will be contained in the next White Paper. I congratulate him on the fact that, within a few days of making his plan known in the debate on the Queen's Speech, I met him in Manchester when he was making his comprehensive tour of the North-West area. It is absolutely vital that these long-term plans based on regions should be founded on a true system of priorities, because the priority of discharge of function is the essence of their success.
What is the biggest headache in the north-western area? It is mining subsidence. Coal is being mined under the City of Manchester at the present time. The mining can be economic only if total extraction is allowed, and that is 1212 most dangerous to Manchester. I believe that it is already doing enormous harm, and represents a threat elsewhere—for instance, under that great and lovely new cathedral at Coventry. In an old city like Manchester, one can compensate for a 5in., 6in. or 7in. drop, but with a great, wonderful new creation like Coventry Cathedral, made of reinforced concrete, a drop of even 2in. cannot be afforded.
In our priorities, we must put first things first. Before we can begin on any physical reconstruction, there must be the planning and building of roads, and the Minister of Transport becomes a very important person. Before my right hon. Friend the Minister of Housing and Local Government can make a move with some of his fine plans, he must watch the course of, for instance, the great new A.6 road from Preston, right through the heart of South-East Lancashire, to Birmingham.
There was reference yesterday to powerful local forces that will oppose schemes—one at every turn, it seemed—in the regions. I can give a rather different picture. Two weeks ago I spent a little time at a conference held in Manchester by my right hon. Friend the Minister of Transport, when he met all the authorities of that conurbation in order to persuade them to embark on a transport survey that was to take two years to prepare. The cost was£¼million, which those authorities were to pay. Because the Minister himself went to the trouble of inviting their cooperation at his level in doing something in his interest, I was amazed at the readiness and willingness with which so many of those local authorities agreed to this proposal. What was said yesterday about intransigent local forces that will not yield in any circumstances was grossly over-stated.
One great benefit coming to the northwestern area in the next few years will be the opening of the wonderful electrified line from Euston to Manchester. It will be a most attractive amenity, and will do much to persuade industry to look to the North again. But I find that when that electrification is completed, Euston Station's rebuilding may probably hardly have started. At the other end, Piccadilly Station, in Manchester, is still only half built. I discovered that my 1213 right hon. Friend the Minister of Transport has no knowledge of the predictable future of Euston Station. The planning authority is the London County Council. I should have thought that the whole conception of the electrification of this vitally important line would have been to deal with both its tracks and its two terminal points together. These are the ragged edges in the physical planning that I should like to see eliminated.
The part to be played by my right hon. Friend the Minister of Housing and Local Government in relation to overspill areas and the siting of new towns will be all-important to the development of the north-western area. I am grateful to my right hon. Friend for inviting my co-operation in that respect, particularly in regard to the new towns. I remember an occasion, in 1937 when the Minister for the Co-ordination of Defence asked me to carry out a personal reconnaissance of the Singapore base, and another, in 1938, of Simons-town, but in recent years my right hon. Friend is the first Minister who has invited my co-operation at civic level in my own area. That measures the gap which exists between private Members and Members of the Executive.
I should like to see a little more cooperation in the unfolding of these regional plans between members of the Executive and private Members of the House who are directly concerned. It raises the place and position of the private Member of Parliament in all these future plans. What part will he play? Where does he fit into the new pattern which may begin to emerge? Is not some reform required here?
There was a most eloquent and cogent letter in The Times of 7th August, written by the right hon. Member for Easington, about strengthening the House of Commons and restoring dignity to this institution. Where do we come in the dividing loyalties, which are bound to occur in each of us, to the regional structure on the one hand and to the Government on the other hand? These are important questions to ask. If we are to ask for so much reform in regional areas, surely some reform is justified in our procedures here.
I remember that during the war the late Mr. L. S. Amery used to lecture 1214 upstairs sometimes on the creation, to meet the needs of post-war years, of an industrial Parliament. Much of the work and many of the subjects which he mentioned in those speeches are being discharged elsewhere but by permanent bodies such as N.E.D.C. and the National Incomes Commission, often bypassing the work which ought rightly to fall to Members of Parliament.
I am sometimes told that what we lack are good, fine industrialists on the back benches who could give us the necessary guidance through our proceedings here in discussing economic matters. I could imagine nothing worse than for us to attempt to restore someone like Sir Alfred Mond to play the part which he played here 40 years ago. I sometimes feel that what we lack is a rôle for the Privy Councillors on the first bench below the Gangway who once held high responsibility.
I have been reflecting on the great debates of pre-war years on unemployment and the social miseries of our times and what was contributed to them by such people. When I come to individual figures of the past I think of the activities here of former Chancellors of the Exchequer, such as the late Sir Robert Home, for he was always keenly critical of the Government, as I was critical of the Government. I do not see any way by which we can proceed and merge ourselves into these plans unless we have a comprehensive investigation into what we mean by the reform of the House of Commons and the restoration to it of the dignity and the place which it ought to hold in the nation's life.
§ 6.43 p.m.
§ Mr. Jeremy Thorpe (Devon, North)
What I find particularly depressing about these documents is not the fact that they have come so late in the life of the Government, although I agree entirely with the hon. Member for Manchester, Withington (Sir R. Cary), whose speech I greatly enjoyed, that this was a subject which could well have been tackled thirty or forty years ago.
I was thinking, during his speech and during that of the hon. Member for Jarrow (Mr. Fernyhough), of Lloyd George's hope that this country would be a land fit for heroes to live in and of the fact that Lloyd George tried to 1215 tackle these problems by the policy known as "We can conquer unemployment"—a policy which, unhappily, was rejected in this country but which was adopted by Franklin Roosevelt. It was the concept that if men were unemployed one should not keep them standing in queues for unemployment assistance but should put them to work on great projects of national importance, such as building roads, bridges, dams and hydro-electric schemes, thereby giving them the dignity of worthwhile labour while at the same time enriching the country.
I agree that regionalism should have been tackled twenty or thirty years ago. But what I find particularly depressing about this scheme is, first, the limited motives which have prompted its introduction and, secondly, its geographical limitations. On the first, it is clear that it has not been introduced because the Government believe in the decentralizing of power to the regions for its own sake—which, as far as I am concerned, is a justification in itself for a regional plan. As my right hon. Friend the Member for Orkney and Shetland (Mr. Grimond) said yesterday, there is a case for regionalism even in an area of full or over-full employment such as the South-East. But this scheme is a last desperate attempt to cure unemployment in areas where there is high unemployment and where all other efforts have failed to cure the problem. That is the first depressing feature of these plans.
Secondly, I find the geographical limitations also depressing, in that the plans are to apply only to Scotland and the North-East. A Conservative hon. Member for one of the Cornish divisions was delighted to learn that the Minister has received a deputation and would carry out a survey in the South-West. To him this was manna from heaven. I should have thought that the problems of the South-West were already well known. I should like—and I make no apology for it—to refer to one of those regions which is not included in the present plan but which suffers from chronic problems of unemployment and depopulation—the South-West.
The first point to make is that the unemployment figures for that area are wholly misleading. The average figure 1216 is 2 per cent, to 3 per cent, in the winter and perhaps 1 per cent, to 2 per cent, in the summer. But what is not generally realised is that in this region, which we have come to regard as wholly forgotten by the Government, we have substantial pockets of high unemployment. I have an area in my division, Ilfracombe, which has been scheduled under the Local Employment Act since 1959 and where the current unemployment figures are 10.2 per cent, of the employed population.
The hon. Member for Torrington (Mr. P. Browne) will, I hope, forgive my mentioning another figure which falls within his division. I hope that he will have an opportunity to amplify this himself. He, too, has an area which is scheduled under the Local Employment Act—Bideford—where the unemployment is 5.9 per cent. In parts of Cornwall it is as high as 12 per cent. I am thinking in particular of the constituency of the hon. Member for Falmouth and Camborne (Mr. Hayman).
We are considering an area not only where unemployment is very high but which has suffered and continues to suffer from relentless depopulation. Many hon. Members who represent constituencies in the South-West can point to villages and hamlets which have a smaller population than they had 100 years ago. I believe that the Duchy of Cornwall is the one county which showed in the recent census a net loss of population. There are not the traditional signs of unemployment. There are old disused tin mines, now, perhaps, picturesquely covered in ivy, but one does not find the same slag heaps and disused industries as one finds in some traditional areas. And yet, in a rural area such as North Devon, 1,250 men are out of work. Two-thirds and more of the graduates from technical schools leave the area every year and have to go elsewhere because there is no employment for them.
They leave behind an ageing population. Not merely is that socially bad for the area, but these are the people who are flocking into our already overcrowded towns and cities, adding to employment problems there, to traffic congestion and to housing difficulties. This is not only socially wrong for the areas which they are leaving but it presents real difficulties for the areas into which they are crowding.
1217 I want to make one or two suggestions. There is no doubt that any regional plan must bring with it the closest co-ordination. We must know what is the population which the Government want to see maintained or built up in the next 15 to 20 years, how many houses that population will require, how many schools the population will have to build, and what communications they will need, whether by road or by rail.
I am not particularly impressed by the Government's planning when two areas in. North Devon, one in my constituency and the other in the constituency of the hon. Member for Torrington, are scheduled by the President of the Board of Trade as areas which should be given special assistance under the Local Employment Act while at the same time the Beeching Plan, which has received the enthusiastic support of the Minister of Transport, axes the railway lines which lead to those areas. It does not seem to me to be of very great help for the Ministry to be prepared to pump red blood into that area if another Minister intends to cut the arteries which lead to it.
This is an abnegation of planning. The South-West is suffering from unemployment and depopulation. If we are to survive and to have the red blood pumped into the area, then we must have a crash programme for schools, for roads, and for attracting industry.
In Devon we applied for £900,000 for major school projects and we received £61,000. We applied for £500,000 for minor works and we received £120,000. I can take the Minister to a number of schools where the sole form of lighting is gas or paraffin and where the only sanitation for the children is a bucket, or, if they are up-to-date, an Elsan. How can one manage to modernise a community and to attract people to the areas when people there live in such archaic conditions?
Next, the Government must realise that tourism is a very valuable industry and a very valuable dollar earner. Of the 30 million people who take their holidays in this country, 17 per cent.—about 5 million—go to the South-West. Yet it is generally known that the state of the roads in the South-West is appalling and that a very minor share is 1218 given to the South-West in the general national allocation. There has been a suggestion by a joint committee composed of Devon, Somerset, Dorset, Exeter and Plymouth that there should first of all be a main line road straight through the area and that thereafter we should begin to agree priorities. They are trying to co-operate as an area. I want to stress to the Minister that this is an area which has time and time again been at the bottom of the queue. It is an area which suffers from high unemployment and recurrent depopulation.
I turn now to the effect of the much vaunted Local Employment Act. I have had an extremely bitter experience in recent days, as indeed has the part of the West Country with which I am familiar. We have 1,250 men out of work in North Devon. There the case in mind relates to one large firm called Shapland & Petters. One of the directors is. a distinguished member of the party opposite, who sat for a long time in this House. It is the only firm in the area which is capable of expanding sufficiently rapidly to employ 200–400 more men. Six months ago the firm put up a project to the Board of Trade whereby it could increase the number it employed by 450 men. It could mop up one-third of our total unemployment.
The Board of Trade's Advisory Committee's accountants visited the firm and were extremely helpful. They went through the figures with the company and decided that £185,000 would have to be spent to bring in this modernisation scheme. The details which a firm is expected to go into on these applications are formidable. It is estimated that it cost the directors and the company in time and money over £1,000. The documents, the accountants' reports, the costings, the drawings of factory realignment, the processing, and so forth, entailed an immense amount of work. The suggestion was that a loan of £150,000 should be applied for and that the firm itself should put up £35,000. This was in addition to large sums of money which the firm had previously expended on modernisation schemes.
The firm did not have to go in for this expansion scheme. In the short-term it would have been much better off if it 1219 had not, but it was public-spirited and determined to play its part in curing unemployment in the area. What happened? The firm was then asked whether it would reduce its application to £125,000 and put up an additional £25,000—£60,000 in all. The firm considered it very carefully and said that it felt that it might be able to find the additional £25,000. It therefore agreed to the application being put in for that figure.
Then the Advisory Committee's accountants came back and asked the firm if it would reduce its application to £100,000 and put up £85,000. The firm said that it did not feel that it could raise that capital and that, if the loan was for only £100,000, the scheme would have to founder. The firm pressed for it to be reinstated at £125,000.
So it was put back to £125,000. There was more delay. Finally, the Advisory Committee recommended that the firm could be lent £75,000; it can have a further £25,000 in the future if it is thought necessary; the firm must maintain its overdraft at its existing figure; it must convert all its existing loan stock. Then there were a whole string of the most stringent conditions which it is quite impossible for the firm to implement. Therefore, the firm has been reluctantly compelled to abandon the scheme. Not only that, but because the firm had started the process of mechanisation so as to be ready for the scheme, in order to account for the four months' delay which inevitably takes place between ordering machinery and getting it on to the factory floor, it will now be faced not merely with not providing employment for 450 men but with actually having redundancies amongst its existing labour force.
It is ironic that 450 men receiving unemployment assistance at approximately £6 per week will cost the Government over £140,000 per annum. Therefore, the Government will be paying out £140,000 to keep 450 men on unemployment pay, whereas they were being asked to lend £125,000, repayable by the company at current bank interest charges, in order to provide employment for those men.
What is even more crazy is that whatever advice the Advisory Committee 1220 gives the Minister is bound to accept it. He has no option. Under Section 4 of the Local Employment Act, 1960, the Minister is empowered.to make loans or grants for the purposes of the undertaking"—only—of such amounts and on such terms and conditions as may be recommended by the advisory committee …The Minister has no option at all. Was the purpose of that Act to provide employment, or was it not? If it was to provide employment clearly the Advisory Committee is not carrying out the spirit of the Act. This is not only wrong but it will be very expensive for the taxpayers. I implore the Minister to ask the Advisory Committee to reconsider this case. But I fear that I very much doubt now whether the firm will reconsider it. It has been kept waiting for six months going backwards and forwards. I very much doubt whether it will go through the whole process again. This is a specific case where 450 men could have been employed in an area of high unemployment and where the Advisory Committee has whittled the amount of the loan down and down and down over six months. So finally the scheme lies in ruins.
I remember when I made my maiden speech saying that there was no earthly point trying to cure unemployment by trying to bring industry to one limited town or another: the region as a whole had to be developed. That was not felt to be popular at the time. Two other West Country Members, of the party opposite, made similar points. Many of us become accustomed to being shouted down when we preach the obvious and to seeing it ultimately, particularly in election years, being adopted. I stress to the Minister that the South-West has desperate problems to keep our young people in the area and to provide them with employment. When an opportunity is afforded for a specific factory to expand and provide employment, the opportunity is dashed to the ground. I believe that this case is a tragedy for the South-West and a disgrace to the Government. I hope that the Government will reconsider it.
§ 7.2 p.m.
§ Mr. Rupert Speir (Hexham)
I am sure that the hon. Member for Devon, North (Mr. Thorpe) will understand if 1221 I do not deal with West Country problems, but rather revert to the problems of the North-East.
I am sorry that the hon. Member for Jarrow (Mr. Fernyhough) is not in his place, because had he been I would have drawn his attention to an article which appeared in the Evening Standard about ten days ago. It paints a very different picture of conditions in Jarrow today from the rather gloomy picture painted by the hon. Member.
I will not read the whole of the article—which is headed, "It's much different in Jarrow today"—but it says this:This town, whose name once stood for unemployment, wears a prosperous air these days. Slums are disappearing as modern council estates spread, and the locals can afford to combine tradition with comfort, judging by the £60,000 men's club going up near the town centre …On the Jarrow-South Shields border an impressive trading estate now occupies what used to be land of the monastery founded by the Venerable Bede. Factories belonging to firms like Morgan Crucible, Patons and Baldwins, Bunzl and Wilson Gas Meters stand close to one of the original chapels.And across the railway lines, which run through the town, Reyrolle has just moved into a new factory. Together, these firms have done much to restore confidence in the area …The brewers are quite happy at the way things are going. 'The trading position of the place is much better than a year ago. We're opening 12 pubs a year in the North-East'.That is a very different story from that told this afternoon by the hon. Member for Jarrow.
I am glad to see that the hon. Member for Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Central (Mr. Short) is in his place. I congratulate him on what I think was his maiden speech at the Dispatch Box. I hope that in future he will not give way only to Ministers, but also to back benchers. I am a back bencher. If the hon. Gentleman had given way to me, what he would have learned was that his complaint that the Newcastle City Corporation is unable to raise money and have a moratorium is no longer applicable. It has not been valid since my Local Government Act came into force in July of this year.
Yesterday, the hon. Member for Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Central was very keen that the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry should lay on the Table a document from which he had 1222 quoted. Today, the hon. Member himself quoted from a document which had been prepared on the White Paper proposals by the Town and Country Planning Association. I did not see the hon. Gentleman lay that document on the Table, nor did I hear him read the first sentence of the memorandum prepared by the Association. I am not altogether surprised, because the first sentence says this:The Association warmly welcomes the main features of the Government's proposals for the North-East.The hon. Gentleman was really not very encouraging about conditions in the North-East. He did not do a great deal to help industrialists to come and establish themselves in the area. His remarks were about as unhelpful as the comments made yesterday by the right hon. Member for Battersea, North (Mr. Jay), who opened the debate for the Opposition. The right hon. Gentleman poured scorn on Gateshead and on the fine new industrial estate at Team Valley. This is what the right hon. Gentleman said:However much money is spent … on beautifying Gateshead, it will not be made more attractive to the average managing director than Mayfair."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 3rd December, 1963; Vol. 685, c. 1012.]I say that that is utter nonsense. It is on a par with the right hon. Gentleman's comment that the gentleman in Whitehall knows best. The fact is that most people would far rather live in Gateshead and work there than they would in Battersea. How many managing directors in their senses would dream of setting up a factory in Mayfair or, indeed, anywhere nearby under present conditions?
The proof of the pudding is in the eating. We have had a stream of industrialists come to the North-East during the past 10 years. I am glad to say that their number is growing. They have settled down very quickly. They have been extremely happy. They have been delighted both with the labour they have found there and with their surroundings. If the engineers and the top scientists can be very happy at the atomic reactor station at Dounreay, as my hon. Friend the Member for Caithness and Sutherland (Sir D. Robertson) made clear yesterday, and if they can be happy at the atomic station at Calder Hall, in West Cumberland—
§ Mr. Speir
They most certainly are. I have been there and talked to them on several occasions. They are extremely happy. If that is so, I do not see why engineers and scientists should not be living happily in the North Tyne Valley and working at Gateshead, contrary to what the right hon. Member for Battersea, North said yesterday.
The fact is that if industrialists come to the North-East, and live in those parts, they and their families will have many advantages over people living in Mayfair. Amongst other things—I can say this, because I am not a native of the area—they will be living amongst charming people. They will be living in an area which has easy access to the Lake District, the Moors and the hills in the Tyne Valley, and they will be able to get to the seashore and fine beaches with the greatest of ease. If they are so crazy about Mayfair as the right hon. Member for Battersea, North seems to think, they can pop into aeroplanes and be back in London in one-and-a-half hours.
I am convinced that as the pressure on land, labour and traffic continues to build up in the South-East and in the London area, more and more industrialists will see the advantages of going North. It is almost a year ago to this day that we last debated the problems and the prospects of employment in the North-East. On that occasion, although the Government announced some very useful measures to stimulate employment there, I did not feel that they were altogether adequate, or that they quite faced the difficulties which confronted the area at the time. So, along with my hon. Friend the Member for Sunderland, South (Mr. P. Williams) and two other of my hon. Friends, at the end of the debate this time last year I deliberately abstained from voting for the Government.
I am glad that I withdrew my support from the Government on that occasion for, within a month—in January of this year—we had the appointment of the Lord President of the Council as the Minister specially charged with the duties of drawing up comprehensive plans for the North-East—and very good plans he has produced. The Government's proposals, as set out in the White Paper, are sensible, comprehensive and, above all, workable. In fact, they are "just 1224 what the doctor ordered." They are just the medicine which the region needs to enable it to transform itself and become a worthy region of Britain in the second half of the twentieth century. I shall have no hesitation in going into the Lobby in support of the Government this evening.
I believe that there is much truth in the saying that "the Almighty helps those who help themselves". The North-East must not sit back and wait for the Government to do anything; nor should it get into the habit of expecting always to have special treatment. I am sure that the position is well understood both by the local authorities and the people in the North-East. They want to stand on their own feet.
Nevertheless, the rest of Britain, and especially the prosperous areas in the Midlands and South-East, ought to remember what the North and Scotland have done for the South in the past. I agree with the hon. Member for Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Central that the South certainly would not have its prosperity—it might not even have its liberty—but for the efforts and products of the North. In fact, Great Britain, would never have become great but for the work of the coal miners and other workers in the heavy industries.
Now that some of these industries are on the way out, a legacy of industrial blight is inevitably left behind. It therefore seems only fair and reasonable that after the tremendous service that these great industries have rendered to Britain in the past, the North-East should now receive special assistance from the South and other areas to enable it to adjust itself, to modernise and transform itself, and to make itself what, with a little effort, it could easily become—an area which is really attractive, and one in which new industries will want to establish themselves and people will want to live and work.
The task facing the North-East is in no way impossible. A great deal of modernisation and diversification of industry has already taken place. Modern industries are already there in a big way. Nowhere is. that more so than in my constituency of Hexham. The transformation that has taken place in the Hexham division has been remarkable. In pre-war days, apart from 1225 agriculture, employment was almost entirely founded on mines and quarries. These are now largely worked out. But in recent years we have had a vast influx of modern industries, whose products range from rocket motors to plastics, and from chipboard to car components. They have all become established within the boundaries of my division.
The employment figures speak for themselves. I am glad that the right hon. Member for Easington (Mr. Shinwell) is in his place, because earlier this evening he was saying what a crime unemployment was. But when he and his colleagues in the Socialist Government left office in 1931 they left behind them, in the small town of Haltwhistle, in my constituency, unemployment at a rate of 70 per cent, of the insured workers. Today, the figure is 1.7 per cent. In Hexham, after two years of the efforts of the right hon. Gentleman and his friends, there was 31 per cent, unemployment. Today, it is 1.6 per cent. In the neighbouring town of Prudhoe there was unemployment at the rate of 49 per cent.; today, it is 4.1 per cent. I agree that that is too high, but it is a designated area and it is receiving new industries all the time. I am sure that what Hexham has been able to do in the past few years the whole of the North-East is also able to do. It will be fascinating to see the job being done.
I believe that the North-East is already over the worst. I am glad that the White Paper has clearly emphasised that this region is not one in decline, but is a region in transformation. Its problems are ones of adjustment. Contrary to what the right hon. Member for Batter-sea, North said yesterday, one very encouraging fact, which needs repeating, is that those industrialists who have come to the North-East in recent years are extremely happy in that area. They are now delighted that the Government are to bring about speedy improvements in communications, rebuild the city centres, expand education and trading facilities, and provide more amenities, besides streamlining administration.
The proposals contained in the White Paper will not provide crutches for dying industries, or subsidies for the undeserving, but they will enable the North-East 1226 to invest in success. I firmly believe that the Government's proposals are in the best interests of both the North and the South of England, and I shall have no hesitation in giving my support to the Government this evening.
I am glad to have this opportunity of adding my thanks to those which have been expressed to the Lord President of the Council for the great services that he has rendered to the North-East. We in the North-East—and I, in particular—would have been very glad to see him return to the House of Commons representing a constituency in the North-East. As it is, everyone in the North-East wishes him well and wishes him tremendous success in his by-election in St. Marylebone tomorrow.
§ 7.20 p.m.
§ Miss Margaret Herbison (Lanarkshire, North)
I wish that I could be as enthusiastic about the White Papers as was the hon. Member for Hexham (Mr. Speir). He seems to believe that their contents will be almost like a magic wand and that all the ills from which the North-East is suffering will disappear. I have read the White Paper on Central Scotland and I believe that its contents will certainly not cure Scotland of its deep-seated ills.
I remember clearly that during the 1959 election the Tory Party announced that new legislation on the distribution of industry which would be brought forward after the election. This legislation on employment and the location of industry was to work wonders in Scotland. During the whole of that campaign in every Scottish constituency, and particularly in the industrial areas where unemployment was heavy, almost all the propaganda from the Tory candidates and their helpers pinned its faith on the Local Employment Act.
The Secretary of State for Scotland, in the final speech of yesterday's debate, said:… the greater part of the Scottish economy is in good heart …"—[Official Report, 3rd December. 1963; Vol. 685, c. 1098.]I wish that I could be as complacent as he is. If I were. I would not feel so deeply for the 92,000 unemployed men and women in Scotland. The Secretary of State says that our economy is in good heart at the very moment 1227 when over 92,000 of our people are our of a job; and that seems to amuse the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, who, in his speech today, did a knock-about turn for the first 10 minutes and did not deal at all with the problems of the North-East and Scotland.
Almost 5 per cent. of all men are unemployed. This means that nearly five out of every 100 Scottish breadwinners are out of a job; but the biggest tragedy of all of this unemployment in Scotland is that 5,568 young people under 18 years of age are without a job. A large number of them have never had a job at all. I agree with my hon. Friend the Member for Jarrow (Mr. Fernyhough) that the biggest indictment any worth-while person would make of the Government is the damage they have done to the very souls of thousands of our young people. I see these young people at the weekends. They feel that they have been left on the scrapheap and that no one cares about them. The Local Employment Act has done nothing to redress the adverse balance in Scotland, the northeast of England, and some parts of Wales.
The vast majority of Scottish people are completely cynical about the contents of the White Paper. They have no faith in the promises which the Government are making a few months before an election. I understand that there is to be an effort to get 100.000 new jobs by 1971. Even that figure is an underestimate of the need in Scotland. We have so many declining industries, particularly in the industrial belt of Scotland, that by 1971 we shall need more than 100,000 new jobs.
The White Paper is supposed to present proposals which will bring about an improvement in the infrastructure, a word of which the Government seem very fond. The Government are hoping to improve housing, education, transport and general amenities. There are certainly areas in Scotland that need a great improvement in amenities. My hon. Friend the Member for Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Central (Mr. Short) spoke earlier today about the ghost villages which were once mining villages. There was some jeering from the other side of the House when he said this.
1228 I wish that the Prime Minister were in his place, because he could tell his backbenchers that on his estates in Lanarkshire there are villages which have been left derelict because of the closure of pits. One of the closed pits is in Douglas. We are desperately concerned about these places. If the Government can do anything to improve their amenities they will have the fullest backing from this side of the House.
My first comment on the improvement of the infrastructure is that it is coming 12 years too late. The Government have failed to realise the importance of education, housing, transport, and the improvement of amenities generally in trying to attract industry. I am surprised to find the Government, through the White Paper and Ministerial speeches, telling the people of Scotland and the north-east of England that they intend to spend greatly increased sums on education, because all the education authorities in Scotland have received information in the last fortnight that the estimates which they have put forward of the amount of school building they could comfortably manage had to be drastically slashed, in some instances by as much as 75 per cent. Ministers, therefore, will not be at all surprised that I am cynical about the White Paper, which says how much more will be spent on education.
The Chief Secretary to the Treasury spoke about improvements in university education in Scotland. He mentioned the new University of Strathclyde. This was the Royal College of Science and Technology, which has been promoted to university status, something which we on this side of the House have been urging for a long time. But even the £2 million which that university is to receive for development will not meet the need for extra places for university students in Scotland, and the sum of £330,000 for Glasgow University, is a mere bagatelle. I ask Ministers whether they have read the Robbins Report and realise what a shortage of places there will be even in 1971 unless investment in university education is radically increased. The Robbins Report and the present White Paper and Government statements do not go very well together.
My third comment is on transport. Scotland will be badly hit if the Beeching 1229 proposals are carried out. The Minister of Transport answered a number of Questions today from some of my hon. Friends who represent Scottish constituencies. He did not seem to take them very seriously. The Government tells us that in these areas that are designated as growth areas transport is of the utmost importance. A great part of Lanarkshire is designated as a growth area. The new town of Livingstone, in West Lothian, is also designated as a growth area. I wonder whether the Secretary of State for Scotland, or any of the Ministers responsible for this White Paper, have realised what the Minister of Transport is threatening to do to the railways that run through this growth area.
An announcement was made only about 10 days ago about the line going from Bellshill to Edinburgh, through the growth area of Lanarkshire and through Addiewell station, which serves Livingstone new town. Notices have been pinned up on the stations on this line that it is due to close in March next year. I say to the Secretary of State for Industry and Trade, who has just come into the Chamber—and I have a far higher regard and respect for him than for the Chief Secretary to the Treasury—that if he is at all concerned about the real growth of this area of Lanarkshire and the new town of Livingstone, he will take immediate steps to let the Minister of Transport know that the railway line that goes through that growth area and serves the Livingstone new town will not close.
Another new town, Cumbernauld, is in exactly the same position. The railway line from Cumbernauld is threatened with closure by the Minister of Transport. Surely it is nonsense for the Government to present a White Paper and to choose these areas as growth areas while, at the same time, neglecting to look at the Beeching proposals. If they had looked at them, they ought to have announced in the White Paper that these closures in the growth areas and new towns would certainly not take place. If that had been contained in the White Paper the people of Scotland might have had more hope that the Government, after 12 years of shilly-shallying, had decided to do something about their ills.
Even if there is a rapid and real improvement of the intrastructure of Scotland, or of the designated areas, 1230 even if housing improvements and educational facilities are there in abundance and all the other amenities are provided and the scars are swept away, and that does not attract sufficient new jobs to our people in Scotland, what do the Government propose to do? The White Paper is completely silent on this aspect.
The Secretary of State yesterday referred to the Labour Party's policy statement, Signposts for the Sixties, and my hen. Friend the Member for Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Central, quoted from that policy. I suggest to the Secretary of State for Scotland that not only should he read Signpost for the Sixties or rather little bits of the briefs on it that are sent from his own Conservative Central Office, but he should also read Signposts for Scotland, which contains the Labour Party's proposals for the rehabilitation of our country.
We state quite clearly there that we shall give every encouragement to private industry to settle in Scotland, but if that does not bring sufficient jobs to Scotland we are not silent, as the White Paper is and as all the Ministers are on whit then must be done. We say that it is the Government's responsibility to step in and to provide work under public enterprise, so our policy differs very greatly indeed from that of the Government.
I say again to the Secretary of State for Scotland and to the Chief Secretary to the Treasury that we in Scotland have no fear at all of Tory propaganda against nationalisation and public ownership. While we should give all possible help to attract private enterprise—and I have the closest cooperation with every industry in my constituency—we would never sink to the depths to which the Minister sank when these industries were nationalised, when he advised lack of co-operation by the very people who were needed to run them and said that if they co-operated they would be Quisling's. We would not do that on this side of the House.
If the Government and Tory Party were not strangled by their own doctrinaire philosophy, they would be able to realise the success of the nationalised industries. I have some proof of that success. I have here the 1231 Government's latest Bulletin for Industry, dealing with the nationalised industries. I find, under the heading "Productivity, costs and return on capital":So far as each industry is concerned,"—that is, the nationalised industries—it is the Government's policy to obtain improvements in financial results by improving efficiency and consequent reduction in costs.I agree with that completely.The nationalised industries have made substantial cost reductions by improved efficiency. For example, output per man shift in the coal industry increased by nearly 8 per cent, in 1962, and the average cost per ton mined has remained constant in real prices over the last five years. Sixty per cent, of all the output is now powerhauled and this is expected to rise to at least 80 per cent in the next three years The capital cost of electric power stations has been progressively reduced, from £53 per kW in 1948 to £35 per kW in coal-fired stations now being built for commissioning in 1965 onwards, despite increases of about 93 per cent between 1948 and 1962 in wages and materials entering into power station construction costsIs not that a marvellous story of success? That is why we are not afraid of any Tory attack on nationalisation. That is why we believe that if private enterprise, with all encouragement, does not bring sufficient jobs to the North-East, to Scotland and to areas in Wales, a Labour Government will step in and bring public enterprise to those areas. We feel that the only hope for such areas is to ensure that a Labour Government is returned.
I now want to say a word about my own constituency, where there is the cold-rolling part of a new strip steel mill. The management and workers in that mill have worked wondersin solving the teething troubles connected with the production of this new type of steel in Scotland. They have worked as a team. But quite a number of those men are working only four days a week because there are not sufficient orders for the excellent strip steel which they are producing.
The Government must take some of the responsibility for this. Some of the industries that we need in Scotland require strip steel, industries often referred to as consumer industries. A week ago I met the management and the men and had discussions with them. There is no doubt that both sides feel strongly that in that area the Government ought 1232 to be doing everything possible to attract these new industries. I am glad to be able to say that in Moodiesburn, which is a mile or two away from the mill, we have attracted one of the best firms from Wales, the South Wales Switch-gear Company. We are delighted to have that firm there. That very businesslike and shrewd company chose the area of Moodiesburn because the site was considered to be excellent.
For years I have been trying to get successive Presidents of the Board of Trade to do something useful in that area. I ask the Minister to get his regional office to have a look at this Moodiesburn site and see whether it can become one of the big new industrial estates, beginning by building advance factories which would use the material produced by the strip steel mill. This is an opportunity for the Government to show that they are in earnest about this development.
There has been criticism today of the cumbersome nature of the working of B.O.T.A.C. I have had experience of this in my constituency. I understand that the Estimates Committee recommended to the Government that a review should be made of the workings of the B.O.T.A.C. procedure. I should like to know whether the Government have done anything about that. It is important that B.O.T.A.C. should work very quickly. It is also important that B.O.T.A.C. should not have the final decision, because sometimes the decision must be political. At present, the Government cannot make a political decision because of the terms of the Act, and I should like the Government to consider that matter.
We have been told that the B.M.C. factory would result in ancillary industries being setup. There is one such firm which wants to start in my constituency, six miles from the B.M.C. factory. It has made an application to B.O.T.A.C. and it is now complaining about the delay. There are two places in that growth area where action could speedily be taken to show that the Government really mean to do something for Scotland.
§ The Secretary of State for Industry, Trade and Regional Development and President of the Board of Trade (Mr. Edward Heath)
Perhaps I may 1233 answer the hon. Lady's question concerning B.O.T.A.C. All the procedures are being reviewed. The review of some has been completed already. As for standard grants for building, the questionnaire has been greatly simplified so that it is much easier for firms to fill it in. In addition, there are now representatives in the regions to assist firms in completing the form and supplying the details. We find in some cases that time is taken up by many of the firms in producing up-to-date accounts and in making forecasts of their possibilities. It is right that B.O.T.A.C. should examine these matters thoroughly, and many firms pay tribute to the accountants of B.O.T.A.C. who assist them in doing this.
The hon. Lady says that the decision should be political. Is she urging that we should make available considerable sums of money to private firms, even though we may be advised that a project may not be viable? That would need a great deal of thought, and I do not think one should support that suggestion. That is what a political decision means. Either a decision is taken on the economic viability of a firm, or else there is a political decision, which means that it may not be economically viable.
§ Miss Herbison
I am grateful for the information which the right hon. Gentleman has given us on this question of the review. Now I come to the question of the political decision. I do not want to attract to Scotland industries which will not prove to be viable eventually. Sometimes it is a question of the amount which B.O.T.A.C. decides should be given, and it may be that the firm feels that it needs more in order to carry out the job that it wants to do. In such a case, which may be marginal but sometimes is very important, I would say that that is the time when the Government should make their political decision.
It is of the greatest importance, whether we have a Labour Government or a Tory Government, that there should be a thorough investigation into the financial standing of any firm that wants to go to such an area. As I have said, I want viable firms to go to Scotland. I hope that the Minister, in the remaining few months in which he will hold 1234 his office, will show the energy and initiative that he has shown in other spheres.
§ 7.48 p.m.
§ Mr. Charles Fletcher-Cooke (Darwen)
Although we are discussing two White Papers, it is clear from the debate that this is a national and not a regional problem. The reason why managers, their specialists, executives and skilled men are reluctant to go to the North-East is the same reason that they are reluctant to go to the North-West, to Ilfracombe or any of the other places, such as Anglesey, which have been mentioned in the debate.
The truth is that from a line north of the Trent and west of the Severn there is a quality of life which people think is not as good as that south of the Trent and east of the Severn. It has been noticeable in the debate that apart from Ministers, no Members have spoken or, I think, sought to catch your eye, Mr. Deputy-Speaker, except those from north of the Trent or west of the Severn.
Why is there this reluctance to move from what one may call broadly the London area? Why is there in this industrial country a unique problem which does not apply, I think, in any other industrial country to the same extent? People in Germany, for instance, are just as ready to live in the Hamburg area or the Munich area as they are to live in the area of the capital. In the United States people are just as ready to live in Minneapolis, or in its surroundings, Boston or San Francisco as they are to live in NewYork, if not more so. Only in the United Kingdom have we this desperate imbalance between the South and the North. The only way to cure this desperate problem is, quite bluntly, to make life in the North more attractive and life in the South less attractive. Both prongs of that attack must go forward.
I am glad that the long-term imbalance has at last been faced, because, although it is true that some grants there and some tax concessions here have had a good effect on the short and medium term, for the structural imbalance, nothing less than improving the quality of life north of the Trent and west of the Severn will do. That is why I think there must be decisions taken at national level 1235 and not, as is popularly thought, at regional level.
The Leader of the Liberal Party yesterday made a plea for autonomous, if not virtually sovereign, regions. That sounds very nice, and it might work in the North and the West. But I cannot see how it would work at the other end of the scale, in the South-East, because no autonomous body ruling the South-East, as he implies, would ever take the steps necessary—the sometimes radical steps and the sometimes harsh decisions—to keep the rateable value down in the area and to keep industry out.
Such examples of autonomy as we have had—for example, in the building of offices where the decision is, on the whole, made in the local planning authority—have shown that it is more than flesh and blood can stand for a local regional authority to resist the temptation to increase its rateable value, expansion and general activity, whereas in the case of the industrial development certificates—decisions taken nationally by the Board of Trade—there is much more firmness, toughness and reluctance to allow further expansion in the South-East. Therefore, the Liberal plea for regional sovereignty would not solve the problem of the South-East where toughness must be the order of the day.
This correcting of the imbalance involves the acceptance of a certain amount of industrial inefficiency and extravagance. In every case which one has and which I used to have professionally concerning applications for building industrial or commercial premises in the South-East it is always possible to make out a good case showing why it is necessary that a firm should be near its component manufacturers in Lewisham, near Gatwick Airport or Southampton Docks, or that its great market is in the Reading area; and of course they are all valid. However, it must be accepted that if we are not to congest the South-East and desert the North we must incur a certain amount of expense by resisting the very good individual arguments in each case.
This is, and must be, a national plan. The crux of it, rightly, is to be found in paragraph 7(ix) of the introduction to the 1236 White Paper on the North-East. There we find the very revealing decision that, whereas 5½per cent, of the public investment of Great Britain now goes to the North-East, this is to rise to 7 per cent. The implications of that are a national decision, because this means that some places will have their proportion reduced. I hope that it does not mean that whichever region gets in first is permanently pre-empting the total resources. I do not think that it means that. Even those of us who represent areas outside the North-East realise that there is still some margin to go for others, but there is a danger that if this is done bit by bit those who get in first will have this pre-emption.
I want to try to follow the example of the audience of the Secretary of State for Industry and Trade who, when he went to the North-West, said that he found no envy or sour grapes. My hon. Friend the Member for Manchester, Withington (Sir R. Cary) said that that was his experience in Manchester. It is a mistake to think that Manchester is the same as Lancashire, just as it would be a mistake to say that Paris was the same as France. It is true that around Manchester there is a certain congestion, but in the cotton belt of Lancashire the story is very different. One could almost apply the first six paragraphs of the White Paper on the North-East to the North-West.
The White Paper on the North-East states:It is a region in transformationnot "a region in decline."The problem is one of adjustmentfrom old industries to new. That is exactly the problem in the North-West.The overriding needis not only to diversify the structure.… these measures need to be reinforced by positive action to improve the whole range of services which underpin the region's economic activity and to make it demonstrably an attractive place in which to live and work.Then there is the problem of derelict sites and bad roads. It is almost exactly the same story in the North-West, the only difference being that for the present the North-West has a lower unemployment rate, and that may be because it is easier to adapt disused cotton mills to other purposes than it is to adapt coal mines or shipbuilding yards.
1237 A great deal of skill and self-help has been involved in converting old cotton mills to other purposes, but to diversify industries in this way has this great danger. By self-help one sometimes puts oneself out of the running for permanent improvement in the quality of life. I say to my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State with all the sincerity that I can, that the quality of life will not be improved by denying, as has been done, to the people of the North-West, particularly those in the cotton area, industrial development certificates under Section 14 of the Act simply because there are many old mills which can be used for the purposes required.
This has happened. There are many areas there in which the physical amenities and quality of life are very poor but which have been denied certificates simply because there are disused cotton mills which could be used. if it is important, as I believe it is, to improve the quality of life in those areas for exactly the same reason as it is to improve it in the North-East, we must be allowed new industrial buildings as well as new roads and things of that sort.
I am delighted to hear that my right hon. Friend is examining the possibility of a growth area—this great new concept—in the North-West. I hope that my right hon. Friend will choose the weaving belt, that area around Blackburn, Burnley, Darwen and Accrington which has had such transformations. I hope that he will not reject it merely because it is not flat. There is an idea that in order to be a growth area an area must be flat, and that is wrong. These hills add immensely to the quality of life.
It is some consolation when working to be able to lift one's eyes up unto the hills, and that is some compensation for not being able to lift them up unto the Hilton Hotel, which may be the only alternative if we do not soon restrain this imbalance between London and the North. I, therefore, ask my right hon. Friend to look at this area as a growth area and not to be put off by stories that hills make building and communications too difficult. I do not believe that to be the case.
1238 Quality of life is vital for the movement back of the population. The hon. Member for Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Central (Mr. Short) said he thought that housing was the most important of the priorities for quality of life. I believe, however, that it is not the most important but that clean air is the most important in these areas.
One will not get people to come from the South and build houses there if the air is so dirty, as it still is so very often, that the very cows in the fields are blackened. One will not get people to go there unless they first know that they and their children can breathe clean air.
I hope that there can be a little more assistance on the industrial side in this matter in order to give these firms still belching out that air, in spite of having spent a good deal of money, some subsidy or subvention if they are trying to avoid creating dirty air. They do not get enough assistance.
I have taken up with the Minister of Housing and Local Government a case in my constituency of a firm which does its best to provide clean air. But the job would involve the expenditure of so much money that it would go out of production and stop the employment of 200 or 300 people. It is a terrible dilemma. I hope, therefore, that clean air will be the first thing tackled in improving the quality of life. Other things have been mentioned in this debate and in the White Papers.
I end with a few words about the Civic Trust for the North-West. This is a self-help organisation under the dynamic direction of Colonel Michael Barton. It is doing a great deal to clean up these towns and give them a pride in their appearance, advising them on lay-out and on pilot schemes to make them attractive places for the executives and managers who must be induced to go to the North and who cannot be allowed any longer to clutter up the South-East as it is at present.
My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State is, I believe, a convert in this matter. It is, of course, difficult for a member of the Government who sits for a constituency in the London area to be very enthusiastic about this until he comes into direct contact with it. But I am sure that, as a result of these White Papers and of his visits round 1239 the country, my right hon. Friend is now totally convinced that we must prevent this imbalance from getting worse and, indeed, create a better situation by freeing the South-East of this terrible congestion, giving the opportunity to the North of the country to make a much better contribution, and making life much fuller and more abundant by measures which I hope he will enforce as strictly and imaginatively as the White Paper suggests.
§ 8.4 p.m.
§ Mr. Guy Barnett (Dorset, South)
I followed the speech of the hon. and learned Member for Darwen (Mr. Fletcher-Cooke) with interest. I was wondering what he thought were the important qualities in the so-called quality of life to which he referred. As his speech developed, I realised that he laid enormous emphasis on the importance of clean air. I am sure that he is right about that in the North-West. I believe I am right in saying that the Forestry Commission has difficulty in planting trees and growing them successfully on the Pennines because of smoke pollution from the North-West.
I represent a constituency in a part of the country which has some of the cleanest air in the land and which is an area of great amenity. Yet even so we have not been able to attract the industrialists we need for development. To us, the question of the development of the right infrastructure and the right services in order to attract industry is all important. Two weeks ago I was sorry to hear the Secretary of State when challenged on the small priority the Government have so far given to the problems of the South-West, say that the Government had no work in hand at the moment for the region.
Today, I noticed that the Chief Secretary made not one reference to the region. So it was with great interest that I listened to the hon. Member for Devon, North (Mr. Thorpe) outlining some of the problems of Devon, and, of course, of the South-West as a whole. Very rightly, he also laid great stress on the need for proper transport facilities. No doubt he, like many other hon. Members representing the South-West, was as disturbed as I was by the recent announcement by the Ministry of Trans- 1240 port of its road building programme for the whole of the country, which gave very low priority to the South-West.
I wish to quote from the Dorset Evening Echo as an example of the profound disappointment felt in the South-West at the lack of priority given by the Minister to its transport or road building needs. The Evening Echo said on 29th October:Three years ago we wrote in this column: 'Trunk roads in the South-West are being starved of money and their condition is growing steadily worse. This is certainly the case in Hampshire and Dorset. In both places the county councils have been struggling unsuccessfully to obtain from the Ministry of Transport adequate funds to maintain and improve roads under their care'.What was true in November, I960, is still true in October, 1963. Yesterday, Mr. Marples announced further details of his £212 million five-year plan for improving the nation's roads. The Wessex region has been virtually ignored, only a few small improvement schemes having been sanctioned for this area.How much longer is this part of Southern England to be neglected?This seems to be the crucial problem for the South-West. Anyone who looks at the map will see that it is a narrow peninsula about 200 miles long. The problem could, therefore, perfectly simply be solved, as the hon. Member for Devon, North pointed out, by building a motorway from the Bristol area right down to the tip of the peninsula, perhaps supplemented by a motorway running due south from Bristol towards Dorset.
From a motorway system of that kind, a feeder road system could be built up linking the motorways with centres of population and providing the kind of transport service that the area needs. But, so far from dealing with this problem, at the moment the Government threaten closure of branch line after branch line. It is factors of this sort that are at present discouraging industrialists from going where they are so desperately needed. It seems to be no accident that the highest unemployment rates in the region are in Cornwall and North Devon, the remotest areas of the South-West. We need transport facilities that will make it attractive for industrialists to go to that part of the country.
I hope that the Minister of Transport and the Government will begin to take a little more seriously than they appear 1241 to have done so far the needs of the South-West and will also study the memorandum of the joint committee as presented today and give it the attention it deserves.
The fact that, in 1958, the unemployment rate in the North-East was no higher than the national average is an indication of how quickly serious unemployment can develop in a region. It has arisen there in about four or five years. I believe that there are already in the South-West indications of serious trouble to come. I want to spend a little time on what I believe to be some basic problems of the region.
The South-West is heavily dependent upon agriculture, which is still its most important industry. But, of course, with increasing mechanisation, there has been a gradual decline in the number of workers required by it. This has meant, increasingly, a decline of employment opportunities in the rural areas. This, in turn, has affected the vitality of rural life and, of course, the vitality of the villages of the South-West.
I was very interested recently to see in the Western Gazette a leading article pointing out this difficulty. It said:… one suggestion is to select for development small towns and villages which have the potentialities and the necessary services and amenities.I take an example from my constituency of the kind of development that could take place in many parts of the South-West.
Fortunately, we still have an excellent railway service running through the village of Wool. A few years ago the Atomic Energy Authority set up an establishment within two or three miles of the village. This building, although it is of very considerable size, has, if anything, added to the amenities of the area. It has provided a great deal of employment which is badly needed in that part of my constituency and now no one there makes any criticism of such development.
I am not suggesting development generally on that scale in rural areas, because, clearly, a great deal of it would detract from amenity. But it seems to me that the scheme set out in the Western Gazette could help to arrest the decline of vitality in the villages and 1242 small towns of the South-West where, in addition, we are relatively short of the kind of amenities which large towns can provide. I believe that there is a strong case for developing some of the South-Western towns already in existence and, possibly, a strong case for the development of larger towns.
I believe I am right to put forward some of these suggestions and to emphasise as much as I can the points already made by the hon. Member for Devon, North because of the lack of interest which the Government appear to display in this subject. I am glad that the Chief Secretary has come back, because I would like to remind him of the importance of the South-West and express the hope that the Government will press on a little harder than they have done in looking after the interests of that part of the country.
At present, wage levels in the South-West are markedly lower than the national average of weekly earnings. It is an interesting fact that the average weekly earnings in the South-West region, according to the latest figures that I could obtain, are exactly £2less than the average weekly earnings in the London region. It is not, therefore, surprising that London acts as a magnet to the young people living in the South-West. Quite apart from the lack of opportunities for young people near their own towns, it provides them with an opportunity which they may take to get away. The result is that the South-West is starved of the kind of vitality which young people could bring to it. That is why I ask the Government to take the matter a great deal more seriously andprovide the South-West with the kind of transport system which it needs to develop and also to encourage industry to move into the region.
We had a similar experience in Dorset to the one quoted by the hon. Member for Devon, North. In 1960, an American firm, Formex, was anxious to move into the Weymouth area. To all intents and purposes agreement had been reached between the local authority, which was prepared to provide an industrial site, and this firm. But the firm met with nothing but discouragement and obstruction from the Board of Trade, with the consequence that it went to the Whitstable area, in the South-East. 1243 There, the firm is doing very well. But, like so many other firms which moved into that part of the world, inevitably it is adding to the congestion problem in the South-East.
I cannot understand why this firm was discouraged in its desire to settle in a factory on an industrial estate which the Weymouth Corporation was prepared to provide. I want to see a great deal more encouragement from the Government for the South-West. Unless this comes quickly I am afraid that we shall see this part of the country facing the kind of problems which have been discussed and which already exist in such a serious form in the North-East and Central Scotland.
§ 8.19 p.m.
§ Mr. Fergus Montgomery (Newcastle-upon-Tyne, East)
I hope that the hon. Member for Dorset, South (Mr. Barnett) will forgive me if I do not follow his argument. I offer my congratulations to my hon. Friend the Member for Belfast, South (Mr. Pounder) on his maiden speech. We all realise what an ordeal a maiden speech can be. I think that my hon. Friend performed with great confidence and fluency. Having been in this House for four years, I only wish that I could give a similar impression of confidence and fluency.
As this is the first debate in which I have spoken since my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Industry, Trade and Regional Development and President of the Board of Trade—it is quite a mouthful—was appointed, I should like to offer my congratulations to him. I do not think that any appointment has given me greater pleasure. I realise that it is a vitally important job and I am certain that my right hon. Friend will be successful in his office. I offer my congratulations to the hon. Member for Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Central (Mr. Short). I am sorry that he is not present in the Chamber. He happens to be a constituent of mine. I hope that he will make many more speeches from the Opposition Front Bench during many years to come. As I say, the hon. Gentleman is a constituent of mine and I always try to be nice to my constituents. That is why I am saying all this. But I hope that he will see the error of his 1244 ways and will vote for his Conservative candidate at the next election.
I am delighted to welcome this programme for the North-East. Like my hon. Friend the Member for Hexham (Mr. Speir) and certain other of my hon. Friends, last Session I abstained from taking part in the Division after an economic debate, because I felt that not enough was being done for the North-East. We were delighted when my right hon. Friend the Minister for Science was appointed, with a special responsibility for the North-East area. The party opposite cannot have it both ways. At the time of that appointment they said that it was a "gimmick" deliberately aimed at getting votes at the next General Election. Now their cry is that it is all long-term and that nothing is being done short-term. Hon. Gentlemen opposite must make up their minds. Either it is a "gimmick" to get votes, or it is a long-term policy for the good of the area. I happen to believe that it is for the good of the area.
The north-east of England is one of our old industrial areas which in the years following the Industrial Revolution produced much of our national wealth. It also bore many of the sores and scars of that Industrial Revolution. I think it is obvious that the North-East has not had its fair share of our national prosperity recently. Surely it is logical for any Government to try to show that the drift from these old industrial areas into the Midlands and the South-East must stop, because if nothing is done to stop that drift, ultimately the South-East and the Midlands will become problem areas because of the increasing population and the difficulties that that will bring in respect of housing and education, to mention only two topics. The principal aim must be to spread prosperity more evenly over the whole country and I shall support anything which I believe to be beneficial to the north-east of England. After listening to some hon. Members opposite one would think that the Government deliberately created unemployment—
§ Mr. Montgomery
—and I think this very unworthy of hon. Gentlemen opposite. I do not think that any Government, of whatever political complexion, 1245 wishes to see a high rate of unemployment. Any Government must always seek to preserve a buoyant and strong economy. I am sorry, but I cannot hear what the hon. Member for Cardiff, South-East (Mr. Callaghan) is saying.
§ Mr. Callaghan
I was saying that no one wants unemployment, but the policy of the Government may well lead to it, as it has in fact done twice before, in 1957 and again in 1961.
§ Mr. Montgomery
With respect, I would say to the hon. Gentleman that the record of this Government on employment over the last 12 years will stand comparison with the record of the party opposite when in power immediately after the war. One of the cries of hon. Members opposite each time they are tackled on this subject is that there had been a great war and that they were faced with all the problems accruing from it. No body denies that, but in those clays they had markets into which they could sell more easily. Then we had a sellers' market. Today it is a buyers' market and it is more difficult to expert goods abroad. Therefore, I think that the level of employment in this country over the last 12 years is something upon which this Government should be congratulated.
To get back to the plans for the North-East; one of the considerations which I think tremendously important is the increase in public investment which has stepped up from £55 million to £80 million in the current year, increasing to £90 million next year. That is a tremendous advance. I am delighted that one of the things which is receiving special attention is the improvement of roads within the area, and from the area to the rest of the country, I have long advocated that we should have a motorway between the North-East and the booming Midlands, but my right hon. Friend the Minister of Transport never seems to agree with me on this subject. However, according to the plan, we are to have an extension of the M.1 to connect with the A.1at Doncaster and that at least is some compensation which will certainly be advantageous to the North-East. I believe that the better communications between the North-East and the rest of the country, the more attractive will be the area to industrialists, and certainly to those industrialists seeking to expand.
1246 I am disappointed that there is no mention in the Report of another bridge across the Tyne between the present Tyne Bridge and the site of the Tyne tunnel. The lack of such a bridge is one of the causes of the: traffic bottleneck in the City of Newcastle. If we had a bridge, I feel that it would be a tremendous improvement to the communications in the Tyne-side area. I commend the Government for the grant of £250,000 towards the capital cost of improving the airport at Woolsington. This airport serves a tremendous need in the North-East, but its present state is most unimpressive when compared with airports in America serving smaller cities which are less important than Newcastle, One wonders what sort of impression is gained by an industrialist coming to Newcastle for the first time when he steps off the plane at this airport, and the sooner we get an airport worthy of the North-East, the better it will be for the area.
A few moments ago I spoke about the scars of the Industrial Revolution. One of them is the bad housing which, unfortunately, is all too prevalent m the North-East and in all our old industrial areas. Therefore, the aim to increase the rate of house building in the North-East to 25,000 a year is particularly welcome. I think that the plan for modernising our towns is extremely worth while because the more attractive we can make our town centres, the more social and cultural facilities we can provide, the more attractive we shall make the north-east area to people who want to settle there. It will act as. a magnet to draw them to the North-East. Often I have heard people say that they came to the North-East with foreboding because they felt that they were being condemned to live in some outpost. But having settled there, they have grown to love the area and have found the local people friendly and charming. Having once settled, nothing would induce them to move away to any other part of the country.
Yesterday the right hon. Member for Battersea, North (Mr. Jay) chastised the Government on this Report for selecting a growth zone in the North-East and for not taking the whole of the area. I sympathise with those parts of the North-East which are not included in the growth zones, but I feel that the Government's plan is realistic because what they are doing by means of this 1247 plan is to concentrate on those parts of the area which are most promising for development instead of spreading things evenly over an enormous area. They are concentrating mainly on the area where growth can take place much more quickly. As the places within the growth zone become more prosperous the prosperity will spread outwards into the areas outside the growth zone.
I wish to mention two problems, one of which is urgent. It is that of unemployment among young people. This is a serious problem in the North-East. The 1951 census figures shown in the Report reveal that the proportion of school children in the region was above the national average. Therefore, today in the North-East we have a serious social problem caused by the unemployment among young people. Unemployment is bad enough at any time, but it must be soul-destroying for anyone to begin his adult life living on the dole. I visited the youth employment bureau in Newcastle recently, on a Friday, and it was worrying to read the numbers of unemployed. When one actually goes to the youth employment bureau, and sees the youngsters who make up the numbers one reads about in the papers it brings home to one how tremendous the human problem is. I should like to see some sort of crash programme instituted by the Government to ease the situation in the North-East and in other areas of high unemployment.
What is being done to encourage the expansion of the headquarters of firms, their sales organisations and their research sections to move into areas of high unemployment? I feel that the Government could give a lead here by transferring staffs of Government Departments or of nationalised industries into the North-East and similar areas.
Nevertheless, I believe that the plan offers a real hope for the north-east of England. It will be necessary for the Government and for the areas in the North-East themselves to "sell" the virtues of their part of the country to industries which are thinking of expanding. It is no benefit to the North-East whatever if people harp on the 1930s and paint a picture of woe and depression. 1248 Our aim should be to show that the North-East is an area of great potential where there are great assets.
Yesterday, my right hon. Friend made a very important announcement when he said:What I wish to add is that even if it were necessary to moderate the growth of public service investment in the country as a whole, exceptions would be made for these growth areas where the programme will be maintained so long as the necessary resources are available. Local auhorities, the construction industries and those who live in the regions can look forward with confidence to continued backing from the Government for the development and modernisation of the basic public services for which the investment is being used."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 3 December, 1963; Vol. 685, c, 992.]I believe, therefore, that this programme heralds a period of great opportunity for the North-East, and, with the assurances which were given by my right hon. Friend yesterday, I believe that the people of the North-East will accept the challenge. I look forward to the time, in the not-too-distant future, when the prosperity of the whole of North-East England will be much more soundly based than ever before.
§ 8.30 p.m.
§ Mr. James Boyden (Bishop Auckland)
I wish that the hon. Member for Newcastle-upon-Tyne, East (Mr. Montgomery would at least try to be fair about the unemployment figures. If he says that the unemployment in the 1930s was inevitable and that the Government could not do anything about it, well and good; but he must admit, if he looks at Table I in the plan, that in most of the years there was a Tory Government. For instance, in the period 1923–27, there was 15 per cent, unemployment in the North-East and, again, in the period 1930–34, to which the hon. Member for Manchester, Withington (Sir R. Cary) referred, there was 27.5 per cent. These are monthly averages. So one could go on.
§ Mr. Montgomery
I did not really talk about unemployment in the 'thirties. I did not blame any Government for what happened at that particular period—
§ Mr. Montgomery
No, not naturally—because, as my hon. Friend the Member for Hexham (Mr. Speir) pointed out, one 1249 knows that in the period 1929–31 the figures were much worse than under a Conservative or National Government. I spoke about the figures between 1945 and 1951, when the party opposite was in power.
§ Mr. Boyden
In the period 1930–34, the monthly average was 27.5 per cent. Is the hon. Gentleman saying that that was due to a Labour Government? Again, to take the recent figures, they were worst in the Northern Region between 1959 and 1962, every year except one. I shall come back to figures a little later.
One of my local newspapers called this plan mutton dressed as lamb. I thought that that was rather a good summary of the situation. It is the most amateurish document which I have ever seen come out of a Government Department. There have recently been some very good Reports made by Committees to the Government—the Robbins Report, the Newsom Report, the Buchanan Report, and others—documents prepared with a very high degree of efficiency and at a very high level of thought. But this document actually has within it a sentence which tears the whole thing to pieces. Under the heading, "The Pattern of Development", we read in the first paragraph:It must be emphasised that the figures put forward are all very approximate and are merely attempts to show the possible scale of the trends envisaged. They are neither predictions nor proposals.What on earth are they? This is a document upon which the future of the North-East is to be based, a document in which there are no figures worth talking about at all.
This is characteristic of the Government. Their method of proceeding is by special high-powered committee to look at one section of a problem. Here, in regard to regional development, they have followed exactly the pattern which was followed in education. In education, the Government have taken the line that one should look in isolation at a part of education, whereas, of course, everyone knows that education is a unity. Precisely the same thing has been done in regard to regional planning and 1250 industrial development, and here is the first miserable product of a piece of study which is hardly worthy of a training college student's research.
The best argument to bear out my point in this connection is to be found in what is said about travel-to-work. On page 30, there is the heading "Mobility". The paragraph refers to my constituency and the constituency of my hon. Friend the Member for Durham, North-West (Mr. Ainsley). This is what is said:Most of those likely to be coming to work there"—i.e., the growth zone—from elsewhere will be from towns or villages not far away. The distances of travel-to-work involved will therefore be quite modest and in line with present trends.When I challenged him about the distances that many young people would have to travel from Barnard Castle and Middleton-in-Teesdale to Teesdale, the Ministry's training centre, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Labour said that he knew the area very well and the distances were quite small. But, of course, the hon. Gentleman travels by motor car. My constituentshave to travel by bus, by train, if there is one, or by bicycle, and the distances involved are by no means small. From Middleton-in-Teesdale—where there was 25 per cent, unemployment at the height of the winter for several months—even from Barnard Castle, which is quite well served, it takes hours to travel by bus to Teesdale, and I doubt very much that the young people in Middleton would be able to get to the training courses in time. If the proposal to close the Bishop Auckland—Darlington line is put into effect, there will be people who will just not be able to get to work. I hope that the Chief Secretary will put this point to the Minister of Transport. If the people in my constituency are to have to travel these distances they must have a guarantee that some form of public transport will be preserved.
This brings me back to the business of Government by ad hoc commitee. We have a Beeching Report, a Buchanan Report, and then a little Report like this. They do not hang together. As for making the quality of life in my constituency better, all that is proposed will add to the drain away of young people, the best and most energetic people, and, of 1251 course, will accelerate the decline of the amenities which we have.
Hon. Members opposite have talked a lot about the quality of life. The quality of life in my constituency has for a good many years been a very good quality of life. The life in the villages that are classed as D, and which the document talks of as places where there will have to be careful scrutiny of social investment, have a most vigorous church life, youth clubs, Boy Scouts, Girl Guides and football teams. Very often the schools are of miserable construction—one in Witton Park is a miserable building put up temporarily in the 'thirties—but, as schools, they are excellent. That is the sort of life that excluding Bishop Auckland, Shildon and Barnard Castle from the growth zone will gradually undermine.
I am pleased that the Secretary of State is prepared to see the Barnard Castle and Shildon councils over this matter of the boundaries. The boundary excluding these places is as amateurish as the basis of the plan itself, and the Government must reconsider where they are drawn. The position at present is quite absurd. That a village like Pierce-bridge—and I have nothing against Piercebridge; it is a splendid village—should be in the growth zone, while Bishop Auckland is excluded—by a line that is not even drawn straight—is ridiculous. Bishop Auckland is the commercial centre of a wide area round about, much of it included in the growth zone. The town of Shildon will undoubtedly lose 700 or 800 acres to the new town of Newton Aycliffe—yet Shildon itself is excluded.
To improve the quality of life in this part of the country requires that the people making the plan should consult the people affected by it. Neither Bishop Auckland nor Shildon have been consulted about the size of Newton Aycliffe, yet half the working population of Newton Aycliffe will have to come from my hon. Friend's constituency (North-West Durham) and mine. We are not attacking Newton Aycliffe as a town, or its growth. We are attacking the way in which Bishop Auckland and Shildon have been completely ignored, although they are inextricably mixed up in the life of that part of the country.
1252 I object to the patronising tone of the document when referring to what it calls the modernisation of towns. Just listen to this:The modernisation of towns is of course more than just central redevelopment. There must also be continual improvement of a wide range of civil facilities, from libraries and swimming baths to street lighting and public gardens …Does the Treasury Bench really think that there is a single councillor in the North-East that does not know that?
What the Labour-controlled councils know—I cannot speak for the Tory controlled council, although I expect that many of them know the same—is that they have had the building programmes of branch libraries slashed over the years by the party opposite. They have had swimming-bath programmes—including the scheme at Bishop Auckland—cut out time after time. One absolutely scandalous case occurred in the constituency of my hon. Friend the Member for Consett (Mr. Stones). The local miners' welfare fund had a very large sum of money that those in charge of it were prepared to put into the construction of a swimming-bath, but the Ministry of Housing and Local Government stepped in and deliberately stopped that project, although they have built the bath recently. This is the sort of policy that every Labour councillor throughout the North-East knows very well indeed.
Improve the quality of life—Durham County Council spent many thousands of pounds on improving the Bowes Museum. I must admit that Lord Eccles, the then Minister of Education, was very helpful, but the major contribution to that improvement came from the Durham County Council and not from Government sources at all. There has hardly been a council housing programme in the North-East that has not been slashed by the party opposite at one time or another.
As for schools, when Durham was starving in the 'thirties, and new grammar schools were being built in the constituency of the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, they could not be built in the North-East and Durham because there was not the money for them—the money was going into building roads to keep men from starving. That is one of the 1253 reasons for the backlog in schools, and it is one of the reasons why Durham today has to come forward with plans for the reconstruction of grammar schools because the reconstruction schemes are still not completed.
Bishop Auckland grammar school has been turned into a big grammar school for boys and girls, but the money still needed to make that a more effective grammar school—it has always been effective—is not there. There has been a Government cut. The new grammar technical school in Barnard Castle is only half a school because, again, the Government has not included it in the programme. That was going on all the time I was on the Durham County Council and my hon. Friend the Member for Durham, North-West (Mr. Ainsley) was on the Durham County Council. Talking about improving the quality of life is all right, but it has not been supported by the Tory Government in the way that local people have wanted these 10 years.
The future position does not look as bright as hon. Members opposite have been making out. The only finance which has very largely been made good by the central Government is in relation to derelict land and roads. I have been campaigning ever since I have been in this House for a larger grant for derelict land, and only in the last few months has this been achieved. One of the Ministers in another place who is associated with this scheme came to Durham two or three years ago and expressed astonishment at what the Durham County Council had done over the years in the reclamation of pit heaps.
The county council's record there is very much better than the Government's. It is only now, a few months before a General Election, that the Government have discovered that there is a derelict land problem in the North-East. What is likely is that the local authorities will have to make a much larger rate levy in future, because of this general programme in Cmnd. 2206, and one of the things the Government must do is announce greatly increased rate deficiency grants in areas in the growth zone where this improvement of the quality of life is to take place. Otherwise, we shall have the quite ridiculous position of the Government pushing 1254 their plans forward, and the local Tories complaining at local elections about the rates going up.
Sometimes Tories masquerading as Independents make out that their policy is almost the same as the Labour Party's, but there is always one rub—they are never prepared to spend money. I hope that the order will go out from the Tory Central Office to Tories, and fellow-travelling Tories, that, in future, they should support the local rates charged because they have to be paid to get the Government out of their mess.
It is all very well for the Government to set up an office in Newcastle, and suggest that it can advise the local authorities in technical matters and so help them over the difficulties that they will meet with expansion, but the fact is that there is a shortage of professional and technical people in the North-East, and that helps to hold up the development. One of the minor causes of unemployment in the North-East is the shortage of architects, engineers, quantity surveyors, plasterers, bricklayers—teachers, for that matter. It has nothing at all to do with the so-called quality of life in the North-East. It was deliberate policy on the part of the Government, until very recently, to depress the conditions of the public servant. I can remember on the Newcastle Regional Hospital Board when architects, engineers and quantity surveyors were leaving the office to go into private employment because of the wage freeze and the long, slow negotiations between the Ministry of Health and this category of worker.
The situation is improving but we have this overall shortage, and part of it is due to inadequate remuneration, For example, the Government do not intend to carry out the kind of policy which would ensure that areas where the number of teachers fall below the quota can recruit a shock brigade to deal with the situation.
§ Mr. Ainsley
I could give my hon. Friend chapter and verse of a case in which a college is being closed down.
§ Mr. Boyden
The Newsom Report, in an Appendix, has a very sensible suggestion to deal with the matter. This is the kind of proposal with which the Government ought to be coming forward.
1255 The North-East Report says that the region needs more office development. Nobody knows that better than my hon. Friends the Members for Durham and for Durham, North West and myself. For years we have campaigned to get the Government to fulfil the promise made by the Labour Government towards the end of its term of office to transfer Government Departments to Durham. The present chairman of the Durham County Council was concerned in an interview with a right hon. Gentleman opposite about this. The permanent official pleaded with him to be quiet and to accept what the Government had to say, and I remember that six months afterwards he said, "I was foolish. I should have blown my top at the way in which they were treating us". For years the City of Durham, which is Tory-controlled, the County Council and Durham M.P.s have pressed Government Departments to get them to fulfil the original promise.
There is serious misconception in this question of the quality of life. In his opening speech the Secretary of State said,We do not want the diversity of regions to be weakened by an unchecked drift towards the south"—that is quite right—and an endless future of uniform asphalt conurbations."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 3rd December, 1963, Vol. 685, c. 986].But the Government have given very little consideration to that in this plan for the extension of the conurbations of Tyne-side and Tees-side. There is no systematic evidence adduced that the extra people they propose to encourage to go there will not lead to the situation which the right hon. Gentleman feared. Certainly the plan has no use at all for the quiet, good quality life which goes on at Crook, Willington, Bishop Auckland, Shildon, Barnard Castle and Middleton. Middleton and Barnard Castle are not even development districts. A place which had 25 per cent. male unemployment last winter is not even a shaded area on the map but is completely white.
The Government seem to have accepted as inevitable that industry must be crammed into conurbations. The very word itself is horrible. The life of the small places, where life is intimate and 1256 pleasant and people know each other and there is a good interplay of local democracy, seems to have no attraction for them. We have a particular problem of what are called D villages, where the outlook is almost hopeless. I have always advocated a policy for these villages; although one does not expect them to expand, funds should be made available to tidy them up and to give them a reasonable life, particularly for the old people. Yet in six of the D villages in my constituency the Government turned down an application for old people's bungalows. They said that we must take old houses and modify them.
I want to read a sentence from a letter because my reaction to it represents the opinion of many of my constituents. It is to a redundant railway man, from the manager of the Ministry of Labour employment exchange. It begins:Dear Sir, With reference to your recent application for training, headquarters have intimated that as the prospects of finding employment locally are poor, they are not prepared to accept your application unless you are prepared to move from this area.This is the sort of letter which my constituents will be receiving in increasing numbers in the future. So much for the conception of Government planning.
§ 8.50 p.m.
§ Mr. Percy Browne (Torrington)
One always feels at this time of the day, when one is told that one must sit down in five minutes, that perhaps it would have been better if one had not been called at all. [Hon. Members: "Then sit down."] Hon. Members will appreciate that one prepares what one wishes to say but then has to concertina it into a short time.
Nevertheless, I am grateful for the opportunity to speak. An hon. Member from the Liberal Party and another from the Socialist Party from the southwest of England have had an opportunity to speak, and I am glad to have the chance to speak on this subject as a Member of the Government party.
It is an interesting coincidence that I made my maiden speech on the Local Employment Bill just before the hon. Member for Bishop Auckland (Mr. Boyden) made his speech on the same Bill, and I will read what I said then, because it is rare that one finds four 1257 years later that one said exactly what one still thinks. I said:If we are to stop this drift from the land, we must take action more drastic and also more expensive than is proposed in this Bill."—[Official Report, 9th November, 1959; Vol. 613, c. 62.]That was in November, 1959, talking about the Local Employment Act, 1960.
In Devon we have a static population. We gain by elderly folk coming into the district to retire, but our own young folk leave the district through lack of diversity of opportunity. This lack of diversity of opportunity is our biggest bugbear. The chairman of the Joint Committee for the Economy of the South-West, which has recently been formed in the four western counties, Sir George Hayter-James, said that this was what was wanted more than anything else. I mentioned this in my maiden speech. We are losing young folk from our countryside every year. It was interesting to read the article in The Times entitled "Drift from Devon's Dying Hamlets" and to see how the numbers have decreased in village schools and how many schools have closed down. We have such charming names as Sampford Courtenay, Woolfard is worthy, Stockleigh English and Cheriton Fitzpaine, some of which are in my constituency.
We have as our basic industries—first, farming. The population of farm employees in Devon has fallen from 19,000 to 12,000 over the past five or ten years. Through lack of improvement in farm incomes there has been amalgamation of farms on an ever-increasing scale. Tourism is our second biggest industry. Five million people come to the South-West every year. I use the word "industry" on purpose. We are far too dependent on shipbuilding, as I know to my cost, as a yard was closed down in my constituency earlier this year. A few of us managed to get it going again and it has been put on to a permanent basis, I am glad to say.
The key to our problem, which is slightly different from that of the North-East and of Scotland, is communications. We have everything else to offer. We have a lovely countryside, not too hilly. We have a seaboard. The cost of living is not nearly as high as it is in the south-east of England. I read in the paper the other day, for instance. 1258 that the price of a house down there is about £1,500 less than the price of a house of the same size in the south of England. We have not derelict land. We have virgin soil to offer.
What we lack is communications. What we want is a decent road system to the South-West. I should like to join issue with the hon. Member for Devon, North (Mr. Thorpe) on one or two points, but I must continue on my way. I hope that the hon. Member for Cardiff, South-East (Mr. Callaghan) will forgive me if I go on for a moment or two over my time. We have a feeling that we are literally at the end of the line. Our branch lines are threatened, though I was encouraged to discover from my right hon. Friend the Minister of Transport, whom most of the time I fight, that if an area has been turned into a development district he will take that into account when a Beeching proposal is made.
There is a development district in my constituency. We have formed a development project in Bideford. In the last six months we have written to 900 firms asking them if they would be interested in coming to Bideford. Twenty firms have been sufficiently interested to say that they would like to come and have a look. Of these I am happy to say—I touch wood—that two may come, but the remaining 18, as well as many who said that they were not even prepared to come and have a look, had only one criticism to make about coming to our area. They said, "You have the labour. You agree that we can train youngsters from your technical college and the other schools. It is a lovely part of the world. You have everything we want. But your roads are lousy. The communications are hopeless. Until the communications are improved, we are not coming down there".
What I can never persuade my right hon. Friend the Minister of Transport to realise is that tourism is an industry. During the summer months the roads get congested—over-congested. Not only may this drive away the tourists but managers of businesses come down in the summer months, see the congestion on our West Country roads as it is today, and say, "Not for us, chum". I want to impress upon the Government the necessity above all else of bringing 1259 communications to the West Country. We want our regional plans. We have a very good beginning in the formation of the Joint Committee I mentioned. We will want undoubtedly, as the Devon County Council is already doing, more key settlements and more zoning of industry. As a palliative meanwhile, until we get our regional plan, will the Minister of Transport get out his bulldozers and his concrete and build us a road to the South-West? Then I am quite certain that we could, through our own initiative, attract many more industries to our part of the world.
In conclusion, I must disagree with this comment my right hon. Friend the Minister of Housing and Local Government made in a letter he wrote to my hon. Friend the Member for Plymouth, Devonport (Miss Vickers):I was interested in what you said about expanding some of the towns in the West Country. We have, as you might have supposed, given some thought to it in the department. The great difficulty is that towns like Plymouth are too far from the exporting authorities with whom arrangements must be made if these town development schemes are to work. The exporting authorities do not want to send their people so far away, and it is certainly very difficult to persuade industry to relocate itself over these distances.My experience is that none of the business men who come down there consider this as a difficulty in itself. We have to expand our ports. We must have better roads. Surely we must have growth zones and improve the communications between them. Although many of the things in the development plan for the North-East are what we want—schools, and so on—the first need for the West Country is better roads.
§ 8.58 p.m.
§ Mr. James Callaghan (Cardiff, South-East)
I understand that the Minister is anxious to rise at 9.25, so I will do my best to compress my remarks. Indeed, my speech may be all the better for being briefer.
I listened, as did the rest of the House, to the maiden speeches of my hon. Friend the Member for Dundee, West (Mr. Doig) yesterday and the hon. Member for Belfast, South (Mr. Pounder) today. My hon. Friend the Member for Dundee, West brings to the House a long experience of muni- 1260 cipal affairs. He will find, as many have found before him, that that is one of the best trainings which an hon. Member can have to enable him to make contributions to the welfare of our people through our debates in the House.
The hon. Member for Belfast, South, brings with him a self-confidence which I think all of us envied and admired. It is now getting on for 19 years since I became a Member of Parliament with the rest of the 1945 vintage, yet I find it no easier to speak here than when I first came to the House. Frankly, I find it rather harder.I only hope that the hon. Gentleman will maintain the perfect confidence that he showed. I congratulate him on his outstanding maiden speech.
I want to direct the attention of the House to the Motion and the Amendment that we are debating tonight. The Motion asks us to welcomethe emphasis placed … on regional development as a means of promoting the growth and well-being of the country.We have not seen many signs of regional development yet. What we have had are two White Papers—one for the North-East and one for Scotland—which are not plans, but programmes for regional development—and there is a substantial difference between the two categories. What we have not seen—and this is the first point to which the Amendment refers—is similar proposals, even of this modest character, for the rest of the country.
My hon. Friend the Member for Dorset, South (Mr. Barnett) and other hon. Members have referred to the position in south-west England. But even in some of the areas concerned, such as Durham—and my hon. Friend the Member for Durham, North-West (Mr. Ainsley) made a speech which, on all hands, was regarded as being a most moving plea for the people in his area—much has been omitted from the proposals for development. I hope that my hon. Friend's plea will not fall on deaf ears.
Then we heard that Wales was a success story. This is far from the truth. In North Wales the decline in the slate industry has resulted in a fall in the number of people working in the industry from about 13,000 before the war to 3,000 now. Relative to the scale 1261 of population, what has happened to the slate industry in North Wales is as serious as the decline in the traditional industries in the north-east of England. Let us go to the other end of Wales, and consider some of the valleys.
In Abertillery, the figure of unemployment in September was 6.5 per cent.; in Brynmawr, it was 5.7 per cent.; in Caerphilly—and if there is to be a growth point anywhere it should be in Caerphilly, at the confluence of so many valleys; a meeting point where one would expect to see natural growth—it was 71 percent.; in Pontlottyn, it was 7.9 per cent., and in Tredegar it was 74 per cent. I hope that the Minister will recast his phrase before he speaks of Wales as being a success story.
There has been a great deal of improvement in South Wales, largely due to the Distribution of Industry Act, but there are still important areas in Wales, southwest England, north-west England, as well as Scotland and the North-East, where we need development plans of a much more pronounced character than those we have had from the Government today.
I agree with the hon. Member for Manchester, Withington (Sir R. Cary) that these plans should have been introduced 30 years ago. I was absolutely in agreement with that part of his speech. Let me remind hon. Members that 30 years ago there was an Act under which we were paying people their expenses to move from the North to London. The Ministry of Labour itself paid a large number of fares to achieve that purpose. In those days we had a completely wrong conception—not on this side of the House; we were saying, "Take the work to the worker". Those plans should have been brought forward 30 years ago, and it is a great tragedy that they were not.
But if the Government had gone on building on the Distribution of Industry Act, which they found when they came into office, we would not have been faced with the history of the last 12 years. This must never be forgotten, even though the Government like to think that the slate is wiped clean every time they have a new Prime Minister. The Government found an instrument, in the Distribution of Industry Act, which had been the means of distributing industry widely throughout the country. What they did 1262 was, first, to neglect that instrument and allow it to rust and, finally, to abandon it in favour of the Local Employment Act. Today we are witnessing, in the form of these new White Papers, a partial recantation, or an admission of error.
What the Government are doing is to recreate much of the machinery, in terms of Government, as described by the Secretary of State yesterday, and to recreate much broader areas, however imperfect, than existed under the Local Employment Act. In fact, they are going back to many of the principles that underlay the Distribution of Industry Act.
What I regret is, and what has been a crime against these areas, is that for 12 years we have laboured under a mistaken philosophy, of which only now the Government: are repenting and confessing their error. The hon. Member for Newcastle-upon-Tyne, East (Mr. Montgomery) said that nobody wanted unemployment. I agree. The Government Front Bench do not want unemployment, but their policies lead to unemployment. Their very failures of omission and commission have allowed the growth of unemployment in these areas. Their failure to foresee the consequences of the decline in the traditonal industries in the areas have led to unemployment. Therefore, they areas much responsible as if they had willed it, and it is this belated confession that we see in the White Papers.
The Local Employment Act was doomed to be a failure from the start, but to say that it was a failure does not mean that it did not bring individual successes to particular areas where there was heavy unemployment. Of course it did. If it had not done that, it would not have done anything at all, but in terms of distributing industry, as distinct from removing pockets of heavy unemployment, the Act was doomed to be a failure from the moment it was placed on the Statute Book. The Act has failed, hence the proposal now put before us. Therefore, the first part of the Opposition's Amendment, referring to belated proposals and the omission of many important areas, seems absolutely justified by the history I have described.
The next point in the Opposition Amendment is that these proposals do not offer effective immediate help. It is very difficult to have a crash programme which 1263 will offer immediately effective help when we have lost so many years. We must all acknowledge that it takes time to gear up even the programmes which the Government have put forward, but there are things that can be done. There are things in terms of human compassion that can be done, and when we talk about areas, regions and plans, as we have been reminded by a number of hon. Members we are talking about men and women. All of us who have visited and who know these areas feel that there is an atmosphere about them, a strength and solidity. They are part of this country in a sense which I do not feel the Metropolis to be part of the country.
I know of no prouder moment than to stand on a Saturday in July at the Durham miners' gala and watch these men, women and children marching behind their banners, with the bands playing and flags flying, and see that great army of men and women, part of Britain, marching up the racecourse to hear speeches from their leaders. It is a wonderful and proud moment. I invite hon. Members opposite who have not had the experience to stand in the crowd. They will feel proud to be part of that Britain.
In this debate we are dealing with the lines of men and women and their very real suffering. The Government have an obligation to help these men and women. My hon. Friend the Member for West Ham, North (Mr. A. Lewis) and other hon. Members asked a Question on Monday about giving some immediate relief to the unemployed. The point was raised again today by my right hon. Friend the Member for Easington (Mr. Shinwell). We are told it cannot be done. Cannot it? Is there no help that can be given to these people for a few weeks?
The Minister of Housing and Local Government is to reply to the debate and I do not suppose that he will be able to give us an answer, but I put it to the Government for serious consideration. At present there are a quarter of a million men and women who have been out of work for over two months. A married man and his wife are trying to make out on £5 9s. a week, or, if they have a child, £6 9s. Would it not be possible, in these areas, for men and women who have been unemployed for more than 1264 two months to be given some special help for a period on either side of the Christmas season?
Are we saying that with all the rest of the things that we can do, with the money that we can commit to Blue Streak and TSR2, the money that we can commit to education, the money that we can find for almost anything, it is beyond the administrative wit of the House of Commons to find a solatium for the unemployed who have been out of work for over two months? It will be a disgrace if we cannot find it. I urge the Government to think carefully about trying to help men and women in this position whose reserves are bound to have run down.
The White Paper proposals offer neither immediately effective help nor, as my hon. Friend the Member for Bishop Auckland reminded us, a few moments ago, a long-term remedy. I think that some of my hon. Friends have been doing the Government an injustice. They think that these White Papers are plans. They are not plans. They are not described as plans. The Government do not claim that they are plans. They claim that they are programmes for development and growth, or, as I would say, they are a programme of public works relief. These are not plans.
The Secretary of State shakes his head. Let us examine the proposition and see how far this is true. Do the White Papers give an assessment of the developing position in relation to population or working population? They do not. For example, they are not even drawn up on the same basis. I looked through both of them to try to find out how many new jobs or workers it was estimated would be needed in the two areas, or would be looking for jobs in those areas. Both sets of figures, so far as they exist, are drawn up on a different basis.
In the North-East we are given the total of new jobs for men only. In Scotland, we are given the total for workers, men and women. So it is impossible even to put those two figures together and to say how many new jobs or new workers we expect to find in those areas. Is that what one would expect to find in a plan?
§ Mr. Heath
I was not shaking my head when the hon. Gentleman said that it is not a plan. I agree with him that it is a programme. I was denying his suggestion that this was nothing more or less than a programme of public relief. I would remind him that this is an attempt to create a fundamental structure in the regions which is long-term and it is not public relief.
§ Mr. Callaghan
If this is an attempt to provide a fundamental structure, what is the superstructure that it has to support? Before we determine what the foundations are, we want to know what load has to be carried by the foundations. We do not know, and the Government do not know, how many workers they expect to have in these areas. They do not know, and the White Papers do not tell us, what the requirements for housing are in these areas.
What the White Papers tell us is that in the North-East housing is to be stepped up by 7,000 houses per annum, and in Central Scotland it is similarly to be stepped up by 7,000 houses per annum. But no one knows whether this higher figure is related to any particular number of workers or increase in the population, because no one knows the number of workers or what the increase in population will be. This is not planning. The right hon. Gentleman can call it a programme, if he likes, but it is nothing to do with planning.
The Government have not accepted the concept of planning, either regionally or nationally. Do we know whether the communications will be adequate to fit the unknown number of workers in an unknown number of factories? How can we know until we know what basic assessment has been made? Do we know what retraining will be necessary? None of the basic factors that is requisite to drawing up the regional plans is present in either of these White Papers. Therefore, it should be quite clear that these are not plans; they are programmes of public works. If the right hon. Gentleman does not like the word "relief", I will leave it out. They are programmes of public works, but no one knows what industrial superstructure they will be able to support, or even if it will be there.
1266 Let us look at what the future holds for us: I think that it probably holds very great promise. Unlike the Secretary of State for Industry and Trade, I do not feel "daunted"—that is the word he used yesterday—by the prospect that lies ahead. If he feels daunted, the sooner he resigns from his job the better.
Looking back over the last 40 years, the population of this country—[Interruption.] This has relevance, as even the hon. Member for Carlton (Sir K. Pickthorn) will see later—has increased by about 8 million. During the course of that time in Wales the population has remained practically stationary. In Scotland, there has been a small increase. In the North, there has been an increase of about 200,000. But in London, the: South-East and the East there has been an increase of mammoth proportions.
This is based on an increase in population in the last 30 or 40 years from 44 million to 52 million. What is the estimate up to the turn of the century? This is the exciting or daunting prospect. The estimate is that living in this country will be upwards of between 65 million and 70 million people within the next 35 years. This is the prospect that we have to face and for which we have to plan.
Over the next 30 years—and here the hon. Member for Carlton will see the significance of what I am saying—the population will grow twice as fast as it has grown during the last 30 years. If we look at the consequences that the growth during the last 30 years has had upon the distribution of population, we can see the magnitude of the problem that we have got to face, looking ahead. First, there will be pressure on the land. I am glad that the Minister of Housing and Local Government is to wind up the debate. He has told us that he is having land studies made. I do not think that there is much point in having land studies made or, indeed, in assembling statistics of any sort unless we are to take action after we have made the studies. What I would like the Minister to tell us is what he is making his land studies for. I hope that the right hon. Gentleman has noted the question.
§ Mr. Callaghan
I shall be grateful if the right hon. Gentleman will tell us what the land studies are designed for. He has been very busy in this Parliament. We thought that he was getting ready to nationalise land when he spoke on an earlier occasion. He told us that he was getting ready to nationalise land which was planned for major development. He did not use the word "nationalisation", but he said:… land planned for major development …both to control and phase the development and to help in meeting the cost …This should be brought into public ownership.
The right hon. Gentleman also said:We may well have to devise new machinery for the purpose.To make sure that he was more fully understood, he said:I have written this passage out because it is important and I should like to get it right."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 18th November, 1963; Vol. 684, c. 656.]Unfortunately, the effect was spoilt by the Minister of Public Building and Works, who said that this great nationalisation programme, which we had been getting ready to cheer,represents no departure from current policy."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 18th November, 1963; Vol. 684, c. 755.]The Minister of Housing and Local Government had not said that there was need to create new machinery. Will he do so? I have just quoted what he said. The argument is not between him and me; it is between him and the Minister of Public Building and Works, who is not here.
We are now able to give the Minister of Housing and Local Government another opportunity, in the remaining short life of this Parliament, to explain what he wants to do with his land surveys and his land nationalisation programme. He is an up-and-coming politician. I do not want to damn his career for a moment, but I am bound to tell him that he is likely to find a readier acceptance on this side of the House of his ideas for land nationalisation than he will on his own side.
However, the Minister of Housing and Local Government has not fully repented, because he said that, the public having bought it—I had not better call it the "Land Commission"; that would 1268 be getting too near to our own proposals—the public body buying the land would be ready to sell it back either to public or private enterprise.
Here we see a bit of the old Adam creeping in. The right hon. Gentleman is not fully a Socialist yet, but he is coming along, and I hope that he will take the opportunity tonight to explain to us in relation to this vast growth of population over the next 20 or 30 years how these land studies and his land programme will fit the needs of the situation.
I come, in my last five minutes, to the final part of our Amendment. [Hon. MEmbers: "Go on."] The Minister wishes to have 35 minutes, and he is fully entitled to them if he wants them. Every unprejudiced person who considers this prospect, whether his name be Toothill, in Scotland, or Crowther, in London, comes to the conclusion that we cannot have regional planning without a framework of national planning. The words of the Crowther and Buchanan Reports have been read into Hansard twice during the course of this debate and, therefore, I will not take time in reading them in again, but the Government cannot accept national planning. The Secretary of State went out of his way yesterday to describe a national plan as a rigid, theoretical framework. Why does he damn concepts like this which he may well be glad to cling to in a few years' time? He will need a national plan, and if he does not realise it yet he will have to have a period in opposition to cogitate on it.
Of course, a national plan should not be rigid or theoretical. It should be flexible and adaptable, but practical. That is the whole purpose of a national plan. Let us get a conspectus of the economy as we see it. How are we to meet the problem, which will, in my view, submerge London, the South-East and the East unless it is properly controlled, of another 13 or 14 million people within the next 25 years being added to the population of these islands? Are we to have a plan for their future and the development of the areas outside London and the South-East? If we are, as has been said in this debate, we need plans for London and the South-East as well as programmes for Central 1269 Scotland and the North-East. The two things hang together and must be dovetailed together.
I have no doubt—and my hon. Friends and I have preached this in fair season and foul season—that we must have a programme of industrial development which will direct or compel industry to settle in particular points. I choose my words carefully. The word "direct" is included in "Signposts for the Sixties", the Labour Party document. The word "compel" is extracted from a speech by the Chancellor of the Exchequer when he was introducing the Local Employment Bill. I do not mind which hon. Members opposite care to select, but they will find that members of the public in this country are more educated than they think. The public are not babies about this, and they recognise that there must be a measure of direction or compulsion if we are to achieve the balance in this country which is necessary.
I said recently that the Government were going on a spending spree. Ministers have been very sensitive about this and have kept bringing it up. I do not know why they should, because how otherwise are we to contrast all the programmes that they have now set their hand to with the fact that two years ago they could not find sixpence for the nurses? If this is not going on a spending spree, I do not know what it is.
We on this side are quite clear about what can be done. It is an ironic fact that when during the General Election in 1959 we put forward plans for expansion and growth based oh a growth rate of 4 per cent., it was hon. Members opposite who pooh-poohed it. They said that it could not be done. They accused us of reckless electioneering. I am not saying, however, that it cannot be done now. What I do say is that there is nothing in the past performance of the Government that would justify any rational elector thinking that they can do it, mean to do it, or will, if they win the election, do anything else but abandon it when they get back.
We on this side have a clear programme. We believe firmly in location of industry and in taking any necessary steps to achieve that aim. We believe that the workers and the population will start to cluster around the industries where they are situated. We believe in 1270 a programme of using both private enterprise and public enterprise, either singly or in unison, either in partnership or severally, in order to achieve our ends because we believe that it is time this country returned to a conscious policy of shaping and designing its own future and of shaping the towns and countryside in which we live.
It is high time, in fact, that we took control of our surroundings instead of allowing ourselves to be controlled by them. It is because right hon. and hon. Members opposite have failed to adapt themselves to that concept—and these White Papers are themselves a confession of their failure—that they are, like the dinosaurs, doomed to disappear.
§ 9.27 p.m.
§ The Minister of Housing and Local Government and Minister for Welsh Affairs (Sir Keith Joseph)
I should like to start by joining in congratulating my hon. Friend the Member for Belfast, South (Mr. Pounder) on a most extraordinarily assured, fluent and eloquent speech with which I am sure he impressed everyone who heard him. I only regret that I heard only the end of it, but if that was a taste of what had gone before—and I gather that it was—the House will greatly look forward to hearing him again.
I can add some substance to the compliments paid to him by pointing out that today my right hon. Friend the Chief Secretary gave a full answer on some aspects of the position of Northern Ireland in reply to another of my hon. Friends who spoke yesterday.
I turn now to the main subject before the House. I repeat that, as my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Industry and Trade explained yesterday, there are several different categories of regional need. There is, of course, first, the need of these regions, particularly Central Scotland and the North-East, where the prime objective must be to stimulate and increase employment and to make much increased use of what are now under-used resources. In both those regions, the existing lack of full use of resources is coupled with severe obsolescence but, broadly, there is not an overall shortage of land.
Then there are the regions where the precise opposite is true, and I speak now of the South-East and the West Midlands 1271 where, as the hon. Member for Cardiff, South-East (Mr. Callaghan) has perfectly accurately explained, we are faced by an intense land shortage coupled with a very full, almost a strained use, of resources. In between these two extremes there are the regions like the North-West and Wales where there are, in parts and to some extent, under-used resources, where there is therefore, in certain parts, need for more jobs, where there is grave obsolescence and again where, in some parts and some parts only, there is considerable land shortage.
My hon. Friend the Member for Manchester, Withington (Sir R. Cary), in what I thought was a courageous, impassioned and perceptive speech, stressed the urgency and importance of dealing with the North-West, and my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Darwen (Mr. Fletcher-Cooke) spoke of the possibility of growth areas within it.
I am anxious to explain very briefly what the Secretary of State and I are doing about Wales. As the House will remember, my right hon. Friend the Member for Bromley (Mr. H. Macmillan) announced nearly a year ago that the Welsh Office was being strengthened in order to prepare, in co-operation with other Government Departments, a plan for Wales, broken down into a number of different plans for the different parts of Wales, which would analyse the needs of Wales over the next 20 years.
The purpose of the plan, which will be reviewed every few years and kept up to date, will be to use to the full the resources of Wales, to counter depopulation and to provide fuller use of resources where they are at the moment under-used.
But, of course, as again my hon. Friend the Member for Withington said so justly, the essence of this activity and planning is, as hon. Members opposite will agree, priorities, and that is why the first plans to emerge from my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State are the plans and programmes for Central Scotland and the North-East.
I am glad that the general approach of the Government and of the White Papers have been given a warm welcome by my hon. Friend the Member for 1272 Darlington (Mr. Bourne-Axton), my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Darwen, my hon. Friend the Member for Hexham (Mr. Speir) and my hon. Friend the Member for Newcastle-upon-Tyne, East (Mr. Montgomery).
My right hon. Friend will follow these two plans with further plans which will bring together, to the extent needed in a particular region, the various relevant factors, including industry, land use and social investment. Land shortage is, of course, one of the key problems and it is, as the hon. Member for Cardiff, South-East rightly stressed, being intensified by the rapidly growing population and by the even more rapid growth of demand for housing by reason of increasing prosperity leading to younger marriage and longer survival to retirement.
The great population growth began to appear only in the very late 1950s with a sudden, sharp and since then, maintained rise in the birth rate.
The House will be interested to know that the land studies which lie behind the plans prepared for the areas of congestion in the South-East, the North-West and the West Midlands—the land studies of the areas responding to this rapid rise in the population—were put in hand two or three years ago and are already far advanced for those regions. We need, as the hon. Gentleman said, to find land for housing and servicing the very large number of extra people, mostly born within the region with which we shall be dealing and which we have to expect over the next 20 years. It will be when the Government make known their decision on the plans for the South-East that they will also makeknown the exact and precise limits of the policy connected with the forward acquisition of land about which I spoke in the debate on land prices about three weeks ago.
A number of speeches have been made about the needs of the South-West and it would not be right for me to leave the general subject of the regional plans without referring to them. As my hon. Friend the Member for Torrington (Mr. P. Browne) and the hon. Members for Dorset, South (Mr. Barnett) and Devon, North (Mr. Thorpe) will know, representatives of the South-West have recently seen my right hon. Friend the 1273 Secretary of State for Industry and Trade. He has undertaken that, after considering their representations, he will make arrangements to see those interested again in the new year. They can be assured that the arguments that they have advanced today—
§ Mr. Hayman
May I ask the right hon. Gentleman whether he will indicate the place in these regional plans occupied by the South-West? Will it be the last plan of all to be implemented?
§ Sir K. Joseph
As I said, the House must recognise that the essence of planing is priority. My right hon. Friend will consider, and will see those concerned in the South-West in the new year.
§ Mr. Speaker
Order. If the Minister does not give way, the hon. Gentleman must not persist in attempting to intervene.
§ Sir K. Joseph
How do the Government visualise the achievement of the purposes of the regional plans? Let me say at once that on the central Government there is responsibility to co-ordinate national and regional policies and to do so by means of machinery and finance.
The objectives of the Government have been clearly stated. They are to achieve the fuller use of national resources and a more even spread of prosperity. These purposes march parallel with the purposes of modernisation which are the theme of Government policies. Within these policies, obviously, the Government's national economic policy, the Government's land use policy and the Government's social policy and, above all, the Government's investment priorities, must take the Government's regional policies into account.
But this will involve some change in the present machinery and the planning machinery being set up is not just being 1274 set up in order to prepare static plans. The essence of planning machinery must be to anticipate emerging trends which can be forecast, and as I shall show—[Hon. Members: "Hear, hear."]—the assumptions within the plans will need constant consideration as the factors within them change.
Before hon. Gentlemen opposite cheer too hard they should remember that there is a definite limit, in the world in which we live, to the amount of change which can be anticipated. But to the extent to which it can be anticipated, the purpose of the plan is to anticipate those changes.
Therefore, as they are produced the plans will be kept under consideration and revised to keep them up-to-date. Many people, in studying this subject of regional planning, have talked a great deal of the part that might be played by new regional authorities. The right hon. Member for Orkney and Shetland (Mr. Grimond)—I am sorry that he is not present and I hope that he will read what I have said—made a good point in the speech he made yesterday about the importance of getting a greater percentage of regional participation in the preparation and implementation of regional planning.
There is a great deal of ambiguity about what is sometimes said regarding regional authorities. Sometimes they are referred to as if they were to be directly elected regional authorities with powers superimposed on existing authorities. Sometimes they are spoken of as if they were to supersede local authorities in at least some of their powers.
Let me state the view of the Government in three sentences. There is certainly need for some machinery at regional level. The view of the Government is that this should be achieved by strengthening central Government in the regions—and generally by making the central Government more region-conscious. In the view of the Government there is no room in our small island for a new tier of regionally elected authorities sandwiched between central Government and reorganised local government.
The need for reorganised local government is urgent. There must be local government power and local units to secure the effective implementation of 1275 government policy at the local end. The reorganisation of local government is in progress. It is necessarily a slow job. But by April, 1965, we shall have Greater London and the West Midlands reorganised. We shall have a decision—I am not saying what that decision might be—on Tyneside, where an urban county has been proposed, and perhaps the new arrangements in force. We shall have West Yorkshire settled, and Merseyside and South Lancashire well on the way.
That covers, by April 1965, the six conurbations. In addition, Tees-side—where a single county borough has been proposed—should be settled by then. Again, I make no reference to what decision may be taken on that by the Government.
In short, by April, 1965, we shall have settled most of the business of local government reorganisation and got much of it into operation. Of course, finance is crucial, and concurrently with the reorganisation of finance, the relationship between central and local government will be being re-examined. Once all this is settled, local authorities will be much better organised to make their contribution and participate effectively in both the preparation and implementation of the regional policies.
These reorganisations nearly all involve two-tier authorities. They involve separating off the powers which need to be exercised in a comprehensive way over, generally, a large built-up area—powers of transport, overspill and planning—fromthe personal services which need to be exercised by local authorities in closer contact with the citizen.
The hon. Member for Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Central (Mr. Short) spoke as if two tiers, including one on a regional basis, might well be an answer which would attract any possible Labour Government. Let us be quite clear that two-tier local government, including a regional tier, would be the end of local government as we know it today.
There are three different and parallel lines of responsibility. There is, first, the national policy for the region, and this is prepared by the central Government in partnership with regional interests. Within this there must be 1276 local control over built-up areas wide enough to make sense of planning, transport and overspill. Finally, there must be local services provided by a really local authority. All this cannot be done within two tiers without wrecking either local Government as we know it or withdrawing personal services to a distance very remote from the citizen.
§ Sir K. Joseph
In London we are providing, for the first time, the strategic services in regard to which decisions need to be taken for all Londoners by an authority which, for the first time, has metropolitan powers. This will be to the enormous benefit of Londoners.
The opponents of this local government reorganisation—and they are many—argue either that the reorganisation is too drastic or that it is not drastic enough. Those who argue that it is too drastic defend the status quo, understandably, but, I believe, not realistically, in the light of the needs of today. Those who argue that this reorganisation is not drastic enough ignore both our history and the purpose of local government. We cannot strengthen local government by giving it responsibilities which only central Government, particularly in a densely packed island like ours, can finally discharge. All we are doing is putting local government in shape to cope with the local end of the regional planning job. To impose on top of all this reorganised local government a third tier would almost certainly be too complex and almost certainly ineffective.
Nor would such a regional tier necessarily be able to reach the right decisions. Here, I want to answer the speech of my hon. Friend the Member of North Angus and Mearns (Sir C. Thornton-Kemsley). There are inherent clashes of interest within each region. There are the overspill authorities and the receiving authorities. There are the areas within a growth zone and not within a growth zone. It is most unlikely that a regionally elected local authority, with representatives of local authorities upon it, directly or indirectly elected, would be able to reconcile these conflicting interests.
1277 I return again to the speech of the right hon. Member for Orkney and Shetland. I think that he made a valid point in urging that there should be greater public and regional participation in the preparation and implementation of plans. I only ask that he should not be so dazzled by regionalism as a panacea as to think that, to achieve it, we must have a regional tier of local government itself. The whole question of how to associate regional interests and local effort with the preparation and implementation of the regional plan is very much in the mind of my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State.
Several speeches have been made, notably by the hon. Member for Durham, North-West (Mr. Ainsley) yesterday in, if I may say so, a most sincere and impressive speech, and by the hon. Member for Bishop Auckland (Mr. Boyden) today, referring to the difficulties of travel-to-work in those areas which are outside the growth zone. I ask hon. Members to accept that the whole purpose of the growth zone is to build up prosperity to the point at which it spills over into the region outside the growth area itself. In the meantime, my right hon. Friends concerned are determined to make travel as convenient and as practicable as possible between areas outside a growth zone and within it.
The hon. Member for Sedgefield (Mr. Slater) asked me yesterday about Customs facilities at the airport at Middle-ton St. George if it should be transferred to civil purposes. I assure him that that point will be considered if the eventuality occurs.
§ Mr. Callaghan
The right hon. Gentleman is the second Minister to pay tribute to the speech of my hon. Friend the Member for Durham, North-West (Mr. Ainsley). Is he saying that my hon. Friend must go back to his constituency, where he has a level of unemployment among the heaviest in Britain, and wait for the spill-over from a growth area which has not yet been started? Will not the right hon. Gentleman give him some immediate assistance?
§ Sir K. Joseph
As the hon. Gentleman knows, the development district which the hon. Member for Durham, North-West represents retains all the inducements and attractions of developing districts today.
1278 And, may I add, I agree entirely with what was said by my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Darwen about the urgent importance of clean air.
The right hon. Member for Easington (Mr. Shinwell) and the hon. Member for Cardiff, South-East urged, with very strong feeling, that, in the meantime, while these plans are being implemented, there should be an increase in unemployment benefit in the regions concerned. This, as the House will agree, is a subject not exactly apt to be debated at length at this time, but I must remind right hon. and hon. Members that there was an increase, relatively a large increase, as recently as March this year—a rise of 16s. 6d. in the unemployment benefit for a married couple. Therefore, the rates have been fairly recently reviewed.
I come now to the main party issue which, I believe, emerges from our two-day debate. It can be summed up in one word, "realism". We are all glad that the right hon. Member for Huyton (Mr. H. Wilson) has at last recognised that this is a changing world. Indeed it is. The world has changed. Conditions have changed. Problems have changed. Everything has changed except Socialist attitudes and Socialist policies.
The central Government have great responsibilities and great power to create employment, both directly by their social policies, and by their financial priorities. Clear priority has been given to these two regions, with massive increases in investment. The central Government also have, of course, great influence as a customer for Government supplies. The central Government have to create a climate, by their fiscal and economic policies, in which private enterprise is expansion minded. And the central Government have to try to co-operate with private and public enterprise to ensure that unit costs enable private enterprise to remain competitive in this highly competitive world.
I have tried to explain to hon. Members opposite that there is a very large sector in which the central Government have power to increase employment, particularly in connection with social investment policies, and it is a large part of these plans to stimulate 1279 these by central Government decisions. Work on housing, communications, education, health, and all the other parts of the social infrastructure is being massively increased in the regions of Central Scotland and North-East England.
Occasionally, a venture crops up, like that at Fort William, where the Government can be a partner with private enterprise. But hon. Members must recognise that the bulk of this country's trade is the result of private enterprise responding incessantly and ceaselessly to the ever-changing conditions of markets at home and abroad. The obvious trading opportunities are taken by private enterprise. Government intervention in this intensively quick-changing and competitive world by direct production decisions would be avery hazardous affair. Right hon. and hon. Members opposite give the impression that they would, where-ever there was some unemployment, set up factories to make—what? For whom? At what price? For which market?
The hon. Member for Cardiff, South-East was gracious enough to speak for a shorter time than he could have done. I appreciate that, but in his short speech I think that the whole House will recognise that he spoke of economic matters deeply affecting the life and the future prosperity and employment of this country, but never once mentioned exports.
We are asked what precise industrial pattern there will be in any one of those regions. It is possible to forecast and anticipate some emerging trends in public and private enterprise and, to the extent that that is possible, we shall do it, but, in this rapidly-changing competitive world, it is not practicable exactly to lay down who will be employed, making what, in two or three years' time.
Because of competition, the products, and the methods of making products, and the way in which the products are sold, are being incessantly changed in response to the market at home and overseas, and it is only as private enterprise responds successfully, by good management, to these ever-changing competitive conditions that the country's prosperity and employment will increase.
1280 As my hon. Friend the Member for Newcastle-upon-Tyne, East rightly said, it is a buyers' market. It was a sellers' market when the last Socialist Government were in power. When the last Socialist Government were in power, the world was starved for goods after the war. Our main competitors were still laid low, and all the countries we have more recently freed—and which can now shop round the world for the most modern equipment work against us with three shifts a day with low-paid labour—had not been emancipated then. The Socialist Government were working in a sellers' market, but hon. Members opposite do not recognise that that is changed, and that it is a buyers' market now.
Let me give an illustration from an intervention made by the hon. Member for Jarrow (Mr. Fernyhough) in the speech of his hon. Friend the Member for Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Central. He said, "If there is some unemployment, let us start a Government factory to make telephone equipment"—resulting from my right hon. Friend the Postmaster-General's great new investment programme. Do hon. Members realise that private industry has already taken into account in its own expansion plans the expanded telephone programme that was likely? Do they realise that the factories concerned with making telephone equipment are now in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Aycliffe, near Darlington, and that any new production in a nationalised factory could only result in restricting production in the development districts?
The hon. Member for Jarrow spoke of the need to increase purchasing power. We must all agree with him there, but purchasing power to increase—what? Is it to increase the power to consume more tea, petrol, cotton, copper, newsprint or timber that can only be bought by selling exports?
This is not a world in which nationalised enterprise, or slow-moving Government management decisions make sense, and equally out of date is the attitude of the right hon. Member for Battersea, North (Mr. Jay). He made use yesterday of some highly-selective figures. He had also obviously not read the White Papers, because he said that Sunderland and the Hartlepools are not in the 1281 growth zone in the North-East. But they are in the growth zone.
More important, he misused, I am sure unintentionally, a figure about the success of the Labour Government in steering industry to the development districts when they were in power. He said that during the period of Labour power they steered 30 per cent, of all new factory development, measured in sq. ft., to the development districts. That is true. What he did not tell the House was that this can be broken down into two periods. From 1945 to 1948, when the world was starved for good safter the war, the then Government managed to steer 45 per cent, of the new industrial capacity to the development districts. But immediately after the present Leader of the Opposition became President of the Board of Trade the figure dropped not to 30 per cent., but to 19 per cent., far below our own proportion.
§ Sir K. Joseph
Of course, office employment must be spread and will be spread, but, as the Guardian said:If Mr. Jay's speech yesterday represents Labour's last word, their recipe is 'Back to 3 951'. Mr. Jay trotted out all the old devices that were used by the Attlee Government.The hon. Members puts great emphasis on strong negative control. Of course, tight control has its place—and my right hon. Friend is a tough customer to deal with—but it is not enough. There must be substantial inducements, and my right hon. Friend the Chancellor and the Secretary of State have provided very substantial and continuing inducements to the growth areas.
My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State said:
We envisage that for some years after 1965 the growth areas will receive the same generous proportion of a steadily expanding level of total public service investment".—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 3rd December, 1963; Vol. 685, c. 992.]
But also, of course, they will continue to receive, as will all the development districts, help with the building of factories, grants, loans and free depreciation.
But the Opposition, after all this time, do not even accept the idea of a growth point. We believe that, faced as we are in these two regions with the coincidence of cyclical change and technological revolution, the quickest and surest way to spread employment is by building up a chosen place until it is so brimful of prosperity that it spills over all round. We think that growth points are good methods in these regions. Most people accept the Tightness of the decision but not the Labour Party. Problems change, conditions change, the world changes, but the Socialists' magic wand, their unrealistic approach, never alters with them.
§ Our approach is systematic and will be effective. The Opposition's attitude and policies are out of date, wrong and irrelevant. I therefore ask the House to accept the Motion and decisively to reject the Amendment.
§ Question put, That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question:—
§ The House divided: Ayes 316. Noes 230.1285
|Division No. 4.]||AYES||[10.0 p.m.|
|Agnew, Sir Peter||Biggs-Davison, John||Campbell, Gordon (Moray & Nairn)|
|Aitken, Sir William||Bingham, R. M.||Carr, Compton (Barons Court)|
|Allan, Robert (Paddington, S.)||Birch, Rt. Hon. Nigel||Carr, Rt. Hon. Robert (Mitoham)|
|Allason, James||Bishop, F. P.||Cary, Sir Robert|
|Amery, Rt. Hon. Julian||Black, Sir Cyril||Channon, H. P. G.|
|Arbuthnot, John||Bossom, Hon. Clive||Chataway, Christopher|
|Ashton, Sir Hubert||Bourne-Arton, A.||Clark, William (Nottingham, S.)|
|Atkins, Humphrey||Box, Donald||Cleaver, Leonard|
|Awdry, Daniel(Chippenham)||Boyd-Carpenter, Rt. Hon. John||Cole, Norman|
|Balniel, Lord||Boyle, Rt. Hon. Sir Edward||Cooke, Robert|
|Barber, Rt. Hon. Anthony||Braine, Bernard||Cooper, A, E.|
|Barlow, Sir John||Brewis, John||Cooper-Key, Sir Neill|
|Barter, John||Bromley Davenport, Lt.-Col.Sir Walter||Cordeaux, Lt.-Col. J. K.|
|Batsford, Brian||Brooke, Rt. Hon. Henry||Corfield, F. V.|
|Beamish, Col. Sir Tufton||Brown, Alan (Tottenham)||Costain, A. P.|
|Bell, Ronald||Browne, Percy (Torrington)||Coulson, Michael|
|Bennett, F. M. (Torquay)||Bryan, Paul||Craddock, Sir Beresford (Speithorne)|
|Bennett, Dr. Reginald (Gos & Fhm)||Buck, Antony||Crawley, Aldan|
|Berkeley, Humphry||Bullard, Denys||Critchley, Julian|
|Bevins, Rt. Hon. Reginald||Bullus, Wing Commander Eric||Crosthwaite-Eyre, Col. Sir Oliver|
|Bldgood, John C.||Burden, F. A.||Crowder, P. P.|
|Bitten, John||Butcher, Sir Herbert||Cunningham, Sir Knox|
|Curran, Charles||Johnson Smith, Geoffrey||Pym, Francis|
|Currie, G. B. H.||Jones, Arthur (Northants, S.)||Quennell, Miss J. M.|
|Dalkeith, Earl of||Jones, Rt. Hn. Aubrey (Hall Green)||Ramsden, Rt. Hon. James|
|Dance, James||Joseph, Rt. Hon. Sir Keith||Rawlinson, Sir Peter|
|d'Avlgdor-Goldsmld, Sir Henry||Kaberry, Sir Donald||Redmayne, Rt. Hon. Martin|
|Deedes, Rt. Hon. W, F.||Kerans, Cdr. J. S.||Rees, Hugh (Swansea, W.)|
|Digby, Simon Wingfield||Kerby, Capt. Henry||Rees-Davies, W. R. (Isle of Thanet)|
|Donaldson, Cmdr. C. E. M.||Kerr, Sir Hamilton||Renton, Rt. Hon. David|
|Doughty, Charles||Kershaw, Anthony||Ridsdale, Julian|
|Drayson, G. B.||Kimball, Marcus||Rippon, Rt. Hon. Geoffrey|
|du Cann, Edward||Kitson, Timothy||Roberts, Sir Peter (Heeley)|
|Duncan, Sir James||Lagden, Godfrey||Robinson, Rt. Hn. Sir R. (B'pool,S.)|
|Duthie, Sir William (Banff)||Lancaster, Col. C. G.||Robson Brown, Sir William|
|Eden, Sir John||Langford-Holt, Sir John||Rodgers, John (Sevenoaks)|
|Elliot, Capt. Walter (Carshalton)||Leather, Sir Edwin||Roots, William|
|Elliott, R. W.(Newc'tle-upon-Tyne,N.)||Leavey, J, A.||Ropner, Col. Sir Leonard|
|Emery, Peter||Leggs-Bourke, Sir Harry||Royle, Anthony (Richmond, Surrey)|
|Emmet, Hon. Mrs. Evelyn||Lewis, Kenneth (Rutland)||Russell, Ronald|
|Erroll, Rt. Hon. F. J.||Lilley, F. J. P.||Sandys, Rt. Hon. Duncan|
|Farey-Jones, F. W.||Linstead, Sir Hugh||Scott-Hopkins, James|
|Farr, John||Litchfield, Capt. John||Seymour, Leslie|
|Fell, Anthony||Lloyd, Rt. Hn. Geoffrey(Sut'nC'dfield)||Sharples, Richard|
|Fisher, Nigel||Longbottom, Charles||Shaw, M.|
|Fletcher-Cooke, Charles||Longden, Gilbert||Shepherd, William|
|Forrest, George||Loveys, Walter H.||Skeet, T. H. H.|
|Foster, John||Lucas, Sir Jocelyn||Smith, Dudley (Br'ntf'd & Chiswick)|
|Fraser, Ian (Plymouth, Sutton)||Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh||Smithers, Peter|
|Freeth, Denzil||McAdden, Sir Stephen||Smyth, Rt. Hon. Brig. Sir John|
|Galbraith, Hon. T. G. D.||MacArthur, Ian||Soames, Rt. Hon. Christopher|
|Gammans, Lady||McLaren, Martin||Speir, Rupert|
|Gardner, Edward||Maclay, Rt. Hon. John||Stevens, Geoffrey|
|George, Sir John (Pollok)||Maclean, Sir Fitzroy(Bute & N. Ayrs)||Steward, Harold (Stockport, S.)|
|Gibson-Watt, David||Macleod, Rt. Hn. Iain (Enfield, w.)||Stodart, J. A.|
|Gilmour, Ian (Norfolk, Central)||MacLeod, John (Ross & Cromarty)||Stoddart-Scott, Col. Sir Malcolm|
|Gilmour, Sir John (East Fife)||McMaster, Stanley R.||Storey, Sir Samuel|
|Glyn, Dr. Alan (Clapham)||Macmillan, Maurice (Halifax)||Studholme, Sir Henry|
|Glyn, Sir Richard (Dorset, N.)||Maddan, Martin||Summers, Sir Spencer|
|Godber, Rt. Hon. J. B.||Maginnis, John E.||Talbot, John E.|
|Goodhew, Victor||Maitland, Sir John||Tapsell, Peter|
|Gough, Frederick||Markham, Major Sir Frank||Taylor, Sir Charles (Eastbourne)|
|Gower, Raymond||Marples, Rt. Hon. Ernest||Taylor, Edwin (Bolton, E.)|
|Grant-Ferris, R.||Marshall, Sir Douglas||Taylor, Frank (M'ch'st'r, Moss Side)|
|Green, Alan||Marten, Neil||Teeling, Sir William|
|Grosvenor, Lord Robert||Matthews, Gordon (Meriden)||Temple, John M.|
|Gurden, Harold||Maude, Angus (Stratford-on-Avon)||Thatoher, Mrs. Margaret|
|Hall, John (Wycombe)||Maudling, Rt. Hon. Reginald||Thomas, Sir Leslie (Canterbury)|
|Hamilton, Michael (Wellingborough)||Mawby, Ray||Thomas, Peter (Conway)|
|Harris, Frederic (Croydon, N.W.)||Maxwell-Hyslop, R. J.||Thompson, Sir Kenneth (Walton)|
|Harris, Reader (Heston)||Maydon, Lt.-Cmdr. S. L. C.||Thompson, Sir Richard (Croydon, S.)|
|Harrison, Brian (Maldon)||Mills, Stratton||Thorneycroft, Rt. Hon. Peter|
|Harrison, Col. Sir Harwood (Eye)||Misoampbeli, Norman||Thornton-Kemsley, Sir Colin|
|Harvey, John (Waithamstow, E.)||Montgomery, Fergus||Tiley, Arthur (Bradford, W.)|
|Harvie Anderson, Miss||More, Jasper (Ludlow)||Tilney, John (Wavertree)|
|Hastings, Stephen||Morgan, William||Touche, Rt. Hon. Sir Gordon|
|Hay, John||Morrison, John||Turner, Colin|
|Heald, Rt. Hon. Sir Lionel||Mott-Radclyffe, Sir Charles||Turton, Rt. Hon. R. H.|
|Heath, Rt. Hon. Edward||Neave, Airey||Tweedsmuir, Lady|
|Henderson, John (Cathcart)||Nicholls, Sir Harmar||van Straubenzee, W. R.|
|Hendry, Forbes||Nicholson, Sir Godfrey||Vane, W. M, F.|
|Hicks Beach, Maj. W.||Nugent, Rt. Hon. Sir Richard||Vaughan-Morgan, Rt. Hon. Sir John|
|Hiley, Joseph||Oakshott, Sir Hendrie||Vickers, Miss Joan|
|Hill, Mrs. Eveline (Wythenshawe)||Orr, Capt. L. P. S.||Vosper, Rt. Hon. Dennis|
|Hill, J. E. B. (S. Norfolk)||Orr-Ewing, Sir Charles||Walder, David|
|Hirst, Geoffrey||Osborn, John (Hallam)||Walker, Peter|
|Hobson, Sir John||Osborne, Sir Cyril (Louth)||Walker-Smith, Rt. Hon. Sir Derek|
|Hocking, Philip N.||Page, Graham (Crosby)||Wall, Patrick|
|Holland, Philip||Page, John (Harrow, West)||Ward, Dame Irene|
|Hollingworth, John||Pannell, Norman (Kirkdale)||Wells, John (Maidstone)|
|Hopkins, Alan||Partridge, E.||Whitelaw, William|
|Hornsby-Smith, Rt. Hon. Dame P.||Pearson, Frank (Clitheroe)||Williams, Dudley (Exeter)|
|Howard, Hon. G. R. (St. Iyes)||Peroival, Ian||Williams, Paul (Sunderland, S.)|
|Howard, John (Southampton, Test)||Peyton, John||Wills, Sir Gerald (Bridgwater)|
|Hughes Hallett, Vice-Admiral John||Pickthorn, Sir Kenneth||Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)|
|Hughes-Young, Michael||Pike, Miss Mervyn||Wise, A. R.|
|Hulbert, Sir Norman||Pilkington, Sir Richard||Wolrige Gordon, Patrick|
|Hurd, Sir Anthony||Pitman, Sir James||Wood, Rt. Hon. Richard|
|Hutchison, Michael Clark||Pitt, Dame Edith||Woodhouse, C. M.|
|Iremonger, T. L.||Pott, Percivall||Woollam, John|
|Irvine, Bryant Godman (Rye)||Pounder, Rafton||Worsley, Marcus|
|Jackson, John||Powell, Rt. Hon. J. Enoch||Yates, William (The Wrekin)|
|James, David||Price, David (Eastleigh)|
|Jenkins, Robert (Dulwich)||Price, H. A. (Lewisham, W.)|
|Jennings, J. C.||Prior, J. M. L.|
|Johnson, Dr. Donald (Carlisle)||Prior-Palmer, Brig. Sir Otho||TELLERS FOR THE AYES:|
|Johnson, Eric (Blackley)||Proudfoot, Wilfred||Mr. Chichester-Clark and Mr. Finlay.|
|Abse, Leo||Grimond, Rt. Hon. J.||Paget, R. T.|
|Alnsley, William||Hamilton William (West Fife)||Pannell, Charles (Leeds, W.)|
|Albu, Austen||Harper, Joseph||Pargiter, G. A.|
|Allaun, Frank (Salford, E.)||Hart, Mrs. Judith||Parker, John|
|Allen, Scholefield (Crewe)||Hayman, F. H.||Parkin, B. T.|
|Awbery, Stan (Bristol, Central)||Healey, Denis||Paton, John|
|Bacon, Miss Alice||Henderson, Rt. Hn. Arthur(Rwly Regis)||Pavitt, Laurence|
|Barnett, Guy||Herbison, Miss Margaret||Pearson, Arthur (Pontypridd)|
|Baxter, William (Stirlingshire, W.)||Hill, J. (Midlothian)||Peart, Frederick|
|Beaney, Alan||Holman, Percy||Pentland, Norman|
|Bellenger, Rt. Hon. F. J,||Houghton, Douglas||Popplewell, Ernest|
|Bence, Cyril||Howell, Charles A. (Perry Barr)||Probert, Arthur|
|Benn, Anthony Wedgwood||Howell, Denis (Small Heath)||Proctor, W. T.|
|Bennett, J. (Glasgow, Bridgeton)||Howie, W. (Luton)||Pursey, Cmdr. Harry|
|Benson, Sir George||Hoy, James H.||Randall, Harry|
|Blackburn, F.||Hughes, Cledwyn (Anglesey)||Rankin, John|
|Blyton, William||Hughes, Emrys (S. Ayrshire)||Redhead, E. C.|
|Boardman, H.||Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.)||Rees, Merlyn (Leeds, S.)|
|Bottomley, Rt. Hon. A. G.||Hunter, A. E.||Reid, William|
|Bowden, Rt. Hn. H. W. (Leics, S.W.)||Hynd, H. (Accrington)||Reynolds, G. W.|
|Bowen, Roderic (Cardigan)||Hynd, John (Attercliffe)||Rhodes, H.|
|Bowles, Frank||Irvine, A. J. (Edge Hill)||Roberts, Albert (Normanton)|
|Boyden, James||Janner, Sir Barnett||Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvon)|
|Braddock, Mrs. E. M.||Jay, Rt. Hon. Douglas||Robertson, John (Paisley)|
|Bradley, Tom||Jeger, George||Robinson, Kenneth (St. Pancras, N.)|
|Bray, Dr. Jeremy||Jones, Rt. Hn. A. Creech(Wakefield)||Rodgers, W. T. (Stockton)|
|Brockway, A. Fenner||Jones, Dan (Burnley)||Ross, William|
|Broughton, Dr. A. D. D.||Jones, Elwyn (West Ham, S.)||Royle, Charles (Salford, West)|
|Butler, Herbert (Hackney, C.)||Jones, J. Idwal (Wrexham)||Shinwell, Rt. Hon. E.|
|Butler, Mrs. Joyce (Wood Green)||Jones, T. W. (Merioneth)||Silkin, John|
|Callaghan, James||Kelley, Richard||Silverman, Sydney (Aston)|
|Carmichael, Neil||Kenyon, Clifford||Silverman, Sydney (Nelson)|
|Castle, Mrs. Barbara||Key, Rt. Hon. C. W.||Skeffington, Arthur|
|Chapman, Donald||King, Dr. Horace||Slater, Mrs. Harriet (Stoke, N.)|
|Collick, Percy||Lawson, George||Slater, Joseph (Sedgefield)|
|Corbet, Mrs. Freda||Ledger, Ron||Small, William|
|Craddock, George (Bradford, S.)||Lee, Frederick (Newton)||Smith, Ellis (Stoke, S.)|
|Cronin, John||Lee, Miss Jennie (Cannock)||Snow, Julian|
|Crosland, Anthony||Lever, Harold (Cheetham)||Sorensen R. W.|
|Cullen, Mrs. Alice||Lever, L. M. (Ardwick)||Soskice, Rt. Hon. Sir Frank|
|Dalyell, Tam||Lewis, Arthur (West Ham, N.)||Spriggs, Leslie|
|Darling, George||Lipton, Marcus||Stones, William|
|Davies, G. Elfed (Rhondda, E.)||Loughlin, Charles||Strauss, Rt. Hn. C. R.(Vauxhalf)|
|Davies, Harold (Leek)||Lubbock, Eric||Stross, Dr. Barnett(Stoke-on-Trent, C.)|
|Davies, Ifor (Gower)||Mabon, Dr. J. Dickson||Swain, Thomas|
|Davies, S. O. (Merthyr)||McBride, N.||Swingler, Stephen|
|Deer, George||McCann, John||Symonds, J. B.|
|Delargy, Hugh||MacColl, James||Taverne, D.|
|Dempsey, James||MacDermot, Niall||Taylor, Bernard (Mansfield)|
|Diamond, John||McInnes, James||Thomas, George (Cardiff, W.)|
|Dodds, Norman||McKay, John (Wallsend)||Thomas, Iorwerth (Rhondda, W.)|
|Doig, Peter||Mackie, John (Enfield, East)||Thompson, Dr. Alan (Dunfermline)|
|Donnelly, Desmond||McLeavy, Frank||Thornton, Ernest|
|Driberg, Tom||MacMillan, Malcolm (Western Isles)||Thorpe, Jeremy|
|Duffy, A. E. P. (Colne Valley)||MacPherson, Malcolm (Stirling)||Timmons, John|
|Ede, Rt. Hon. C.||Mallalieu, E. L. (Brigg)||Wade, Donald|
|Edelman, Maurice||Mallalieu, J. P. W. (Huddersfield)||Wainwright, Edwin|
|Edwards, Rt. Hon. Nese (Caerphilly)||Manuel, Archie||Watkins, Tudor|
|Edwards, Robert (Bilston)||Mapp, Charles||Weitzman, David|
|Edwards, Walter (Stepney)||Marsh, Richard||Wells, William (Walsall, N.)|
|Evans, Albert||Mason, Roy||White, Mrs. Eirene|
|Fernyhough, E,||Mayhew, Christopher||Whitlock, William|
|Finch, Harold||Mellish, R. J.||Wigg, George|
|Fitch, Alan||Millan, Bruce||Wilkins, W. A.|
|Fletcher, Eric||Milne, Edward||Willey, Frederick|
|Foley, Maurice||Mitchison, G. R.||Williams, D. J. (Neath)|
|Foot, Dingle (Ipswich)||Monslow, Walter||Williams, LI. (Abertillery)|
|Forman, J. C.||Moody, A. S.||Williams, W. T. (Warrington)|
|Fraser, Thomas (Hamilton)||Moyle, Arthur||Wilson, Rt. Hon. Harold (Huyton)|
|Galpern, Sir Myer||Mulley, Frederick||Winterbottom, R. E.|
|George,LadyMeganLloyd(Crmrthn)||Neal, Harold||Woodburn, Rt. Hon. A.|
|Ginsburg, David||Noel-Baker, Francis (Swindon)||Woof, Robert|
|Gordon Walker, Rt. Hon. P. C.||Oliver, G. H.||Wyatt, Woodrow|
|Gourlay, Harry||O'Malley, B. K.||Yates, Victor (Ladywood)|
|Grey, Charles||Oram, A. E.|
|Griffiths, David (Rother Valley)||Oswald, Thomas|
|Griffiths, Rt. Hon. James (Llanelly)||Owen, Will||TELLERS FOR THE NOES:|
|Griffiths, W. (Exchange)||Padley, W. E.||Mr. Short and Mr. Rogers.|
§ Main Question put and to agree to.1287
§ That this House welcomes the emphasis placed by Her Majesty's Government on regional development as a means of promoting the growth and well-being of the country, 1288 and, in particular, approves the programmes outlined in the Command Papers on development and growth in North-East England and Central Scotland (Command Papers Nos. 2206 and 2188).