§ 1. Mrs. Castle
asked the Secretary of State for Industry, Trade and Regional Development when he will publish his proposals for the development of the North-West.
§ The Secretary of State for Industry, Trade and Regional Development and President of the Board of Trade (Mr. Edward Heath)
Before publishing proposals for the future development of the North-West, I must await the report of the North-West Regional Study Group which is now at work.
§ Mrs. Castle
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that we in the North-West are tired of waiting for this kind of treatment which is urgently required in the area? Is it not absurd that the South-East Study, for example, should have been given priority over this region? Is the right hon. Gentleman further aware that the Lancashire and Mersey-side Industrial Development Association, in its latest annual report, points out that the drift of working population from the North-West is still disturbing? 1452 What is the good of introducing industries at a later date if the population has left? When can we expect this report?
§ Mr. Heath
I announced on 2nd March that the Study Group was beginning this work. If the results are to be useful and fruitful, then the Group must be given a sufficient time to complete the study. The study of the South-East was primarily a land use study, which took two years. I hope that we shall be able to complete the North-West Study in considerably less time; but it certainly cannot be done in three months.