HC Deb 18 July 1963 vol 681 cc718-9
36. Mr. Wingfield Digby

asked the President of the Board of Trade what proposals he has for Government assistance to establish new industries in the south-west of England where wages are below the national average.

The President of the Board of Trade (Mr. F. J. Erroll)

I shall continue to encourage industrial development in all localities in the south-west of England listed as development districts, where the provisions of the Local Employment Act apply.

Mr. Digby

Is my right hon. Friend aware that they are not all development districts? There is some despondency in the West Country about the difficulty of attracting the small industries which we need. We could do with help from my right hon. Friend's Department.

Mr. Erroll

I have a great deal of sympathy with the view expressed by my hon. Friend, but my first priority must be the development districts, although, of course, from time to time there are projects which are tied to a particular locality. When they are tied to the South-West, industrial development certificates will, of course, be granted.

Miss Herbison

Surely the President of the Board of Trade is aware that in development districts like north Lanarkshire, where there is very heavy unemployment, wages are lower than they are in equivalent places in the Midlands and the South. What does he propose to do to try to bring more work to the people of Scotland who are desperately in need of it?

Mr. Erroll

Relative wage levels are not among the factors which I take into consideration in operating the policy for steering industry.