HC Deb 12 December 1963 vol 686 cc541-2
5. Mr. P. Browne

asked the Secretary of State for Industry, Trade and Regional Envelopment when he intends to visit the West Country to study the problems of unemployment in that area.

Mr. Heath

I expect to visit the South West on 2nd and 3rd of January.

Mr. Browne

Is my right hon. Friend aware of the pleasure given us by the news that he is to visit us so soon after taking up his appointment? May I hope that he will visit my constituency where we have a development district with three times the national average of unemployment? Will he please come down by car and then join us in our battle with the Minister of Transport to see that we have better roads to the South-West?

Mr. Heath

I will let my hon. Friend and other hon. Members concerned see the programme as soon as it arranged. I will certainly undertake to travel part of the way by road, but I hope that I do not also have to battle against the weather.

Mr. Thorpe

Will the right hon. Gentleman give an undertaking that he will try to visit all the areas which are scheduled as being in need of special assistance under the Local Employment Act, in particular that area of North Devon, whore the unemployment rate is five times that prevailing nationally?

Mr. Heath

What is most important is that I should have the opportunity of meeting all those concerned with these problems. We will arrange the programme with that in view. I will certainly visit all the areas I can.

Several Hon.Members


Mr. Speaker

I am afraid that we cannot go all round areas now.