HC Deb 04 March 1963 vol 673 cc29-30
59. Mr. Willey

asked the Parliamentary Secretary for Science, as representing the Lord President of the Council, what detailed information regarding the north-eastern region he is commissioning.

Mr. Denzil Freeth

My noble Friend has already obtained a wide range of detailed information from Departments, local authorities and other local interests, and the Government are now undertaking a concentrated study to be made of the region's growth potentialities.

Mr. Willey

Is the hon. Gentleman aware of the need to co-ordinate all these efforts, that there are efforts being made locally which ought to be encouraged and that what is needed is some co-operation between those of the Government and those made locally? Will he consider subsidising the initiative which has been taken in the North-East by providing this information?

Mr. Denzil Freeth

I think there are two points here. The first is to get good co-operation between the local authorities and the officials of the central Government, and it was with this end in view that my noble Friend went last month to the North-East and is now in the North-East with a body of officials from other Government Departments, in order to ensure the close co-operation of those Government Departments with his Department and the local authorities concerned. With regard to the wider question, once the immediate measures necessary to help the unemployment have been put in hand, my noble Friend is of the opinion that it may well be desirable to institute a continuous economic and demographic survey of the whole region as a basis for future decisions and policies, and this will mean also the co-operation of the North-East Development Council and the universities, in addition to the local authorities and Government Departments.

Mr. Jeger

Is it intended that the Lord President will travel a little further south from the North-East when he has concluded his mission there? Is the hon. Gentleman not aware that unemployment is as high as 10 per cent. in south Yorkshire?

Mr. Denzil Freeth

I think the first part of the supplementary question is hypothetical and the second is a fact.

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