HC Deb 09 April 1964 vol 692 cc1209-10
Q8. Mr. Ginsburg

asked the Prime Minister whether he will appoint a Minister of State to assist the Secretary of State for Industry, Trade and Regional Development in work connected with regional development.

The Prime Minister

No, Sir.

Mr. Ginsburg

Will the Prime Minister look at this again, because did not the former Prime Minister indicate last year that he would keep this matter under review? Is it not a fact that the Secretary of State for Industry, Trade and Regional Development has got too much to do at present and is falling down on his job? In particular, is it not the case that many of the older industrial areas are not getting their proper share of modern growth industries?

The Prime Minister

I thought that the complaint of hon. Members opposite was that my right hon. Friend had been too active, not that he had been inactive.

Mr. Wade

Is the Prime Minister satisfied that there is adequate coordination between the different Ministers and Ministries concerned directly and indirectly with regional development? If he is not, what does he propose to do to ensure that there is better co-ordination and, in particular, that conflicting policies are not pursued?

The Prime Minister

I am satisfied on co-ordination. If I may follow up a reply which I gave to the hon. Member for Dewsbury (Mr. Ginsburg), if I thought that the Secretary of State wanted reinforcing by a Minister of State or another Minister, I would do it. But I do not think that that is the case.

Mr. Ross

If the Prime Minister changes his mind about this, will he take great care not to appoint the right hon. Member for Wolverhampton, South-West (Mr. Powell)?

Mr. Hector Hughes

Will the Prime Minister bear in mind the important and invidious fact that in all the Government's attempts at regional development, such as the Channel Tunnel, new towns, and that kind of thing, the north-east of Scotland has been markedly neglected? Would he therefore appoint a Minister of State whose duty would be to look after the north-east of Scotland, to stop the drift south and to encourage trade, industry, commerce and employment to go to that region?

The Prime Minister

I think that the hon. and learned Member knows that we are carrying out a series of surveys, and one in the north-east of Scotland—[Interruption]—no, in the Borders and the Highlands of Scotland as well. I should like to see the results of the survey which I hope we shall have soon.