HC Deb 12 December 1963 vol 686 cc542-3
6. Mr. Wingfield Digby

asked the Secretary of State for Industry, Trade and Regional Development whether he will now lake into account the local level of earnings as well as local unemployment, before deciding whether to encourage or discourage new light industries in a district.

Mr. du Cann

My right hon. Friend's powers to influence the location of industry derive from the Local Employment Acts. In exercising these powers, he does no: regard the level of earnings as a relevant criterion.

Mr. Digby

Will my hon. Friend bear in mind that the standard of living is very relevant and that it is often a good deal lower than in some of the areas getting extensive financial help from the Government?

Mr. du Cann

I know that my right hon. Friend is very well aware of my hon. Friend's feelings on this subject, with particular reference to the future of market towns. The points which he and others have brought to my right hon. Friend's attention are being considered.

Sir J. Maitland

Is my hon. Friend aware that in many small market towns unemployment is exported and that it is not noted that the towns are doing very badly and that many are beginning to die on: heir feet? Will the Government take particular note of this important topic and deal with it before it is too late?

Mr. du Cann

Yes, Sir. My hon. Friend raises a very important question, and this is one of the points which was mentioned in the memorandum given to my right hon. Friend by the deputation from the South-West, and it is certainly under consideration.