HC Deb 01 December 1966 vol 737 cc603-4
22. Mr. Pardoe

asked the First Secretary of State and Secretary of State for Economic Affairs what advice he has received from the South West Regional Planning Council about unemployment in Cornwall.

Mr. Albu

None, Sir, but the council is aware of the longer term employment problems of Cornwall, is watching the position closely and will comment in due course.

Mr. Pardoe

Is the Minister's reply that he has had no response or advice from the planning council, an indication that he has as little confidence in the Bristol bureaucrats as we in Cornwall have? Will he continue to ensure that he gets no advice from this council, since it does not represent us in Cornwall and consists of the wrong men, chosen in the wrong way, making the wrong decisions in the wrong place about the wrong area?

Mr. Albu

That may be a personal opinion of the hon. Member, but it shows that he does not understand the purpose of the planning council. It is not to look after the narrow constituency interests of the hon. Member, but to concern itself with the long-term economic planning of the whole region.

Dr. Dunwoody

In view of the Minister of Labour's welcome announcement yesterday of the setting-up of four new training centres and the fact that the siting of one of them has not yet been decided, will my hon. Friend consult the regional planning council as to the advisability of siting the fourth centre in Cornwall?

Mr. Albu

Yes, certainly.

Mr. Bessell

Does the hon. Gentleman recall that the Economic Planning Council for the South-West has not yet submitted any report and the only recommendation it has made has been rejected by the Government? Will he therefore consider dismissing its present members?

Mr. Albu

Certainly not. As I said, the hon. Member's hon. Friend does not understand the functions of this council. We are very satisfied with the work this council is doing.

Mr. Geoffrey Wilson

Does the hon. Gentleman appreciate that the unemployment rate in Cornwall is the highest we have had since the war? Are four new training centres enough? Something much more vital should be done.

Mr. Albu

Perhaps the hon. Gentleman will be glad to know that the rise in the unemployment rate in Cornwall compared with last year is less than one-quarter of the rise in the country as a whole.