HC Deb 05 December 1963 vol 685 cc1341-2
10. Mr. W. Hamilton

asked the Secretary of State for Industry, Trade and Regional Development how many new jobs have been created in the new towns since the inception of the 1946 Act; and how many have been created in development areas and districts in the same period.

The Secretary of State for Industry, Trade and Regional Development and President of the Board of Trade (Mr. Edward Heath)

Information on all new jobs created is not available. The following figures represent employment estimated to arise from projects to which location approval has been given. For new towns outside development areas and districts to the end of October, 1963, the figure is 106,000. The comparable figure for development areas and districts, including new towns which are or have been in these areas, is about 430,000.

Mr. Hamilton

While one cannot read too much into these figures, would not the right hon. Gentleman nevertheless agree that new towns have as much, if not more, potential than the development districts or growth areas which he outlined in the recent White Papers? Would he not, therefore, assume from that that one way of encouraging growth even further in places like Scotland would be to designate: many more new towns?

Mr. Heath

New towns have obvious potentialities, but they have to be considered on their merits together with other factors which I mentioned on Tuesday.

Mr. Popplewell

Will the right hon. Gentleman be a little more explicit? Is it not possible to have actual figures of new jobs rather than to rely on estimates? It will be remembered that it was once said that 17,000 jobs were in the pipeline for the North-East and that we found out later that only 2,200 had been provided. There is some difficulty and perhaps the right hon. Gentleman will consider whether he can give the figures for which we are asking.

Mr. Heath

The difficulty with the new towns is that the figures include jobs which come through overspill arrangements and which are therefore existing and not new jobs. Without a continuing process of inquiry in all the factories in the new towns and the development districts, it would not be possible to give the details at any one moment of the number of new jobs brought to those areas.