HC Deb 18 July 1963 vol 681 cc710-1
11. Mr. Dodds

asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government and Minister for Welsh Affairs what consultations have taken place or are contemplated for the provision of local employment in connection with the proposal by the London County Council for a new town of 25,000 people on Erith Marshes by the transfer of industry from London to the Erith district, in keeping with the policy of decentralisation of employment from London.

Sir K. Joseph

The only consultations about industry which have taken place with my Department have concerned the possibility of Exchequer assistance towards the cost of transferring non-conforming industry in London to the Erith area. No other consultations are contemplated at present.

Mr. Dodds

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that when the plans were first discussed it was visualised that about 2,000 of the people from the new town would find employment locally? Is he aware that the unemployment situation in the Erith and Crayford areas has developed alarmingly in the last few months? Will he, therefore, bear in mind—since London said that it would look to his Department to find the money to transfer industry—that unless this is done before the new population moves in, Erith and Crayford could become another depressed area, which we want to avoid?

Sir K. Joseph

Before any decisions are taken the L.C.C. will obviously be re-examining the prospect of moving non-conforming industry—industry that can not, by its nature, go to development or overspill areas—to a place like Erith.