HC Deb 01 February 1967 vol 740 cc503-4
42. Mr. Christopher Price

asked the President of the Board of Trade what criteria are used by the Board of Trade Advisory Committee in deciding to accept or reject applications for building grants or loans under the Local Employment Acts.

Mr. Jay

The Committee does not recommend acceptance unless it is satisfied that there are good prospects of the undertaking being carried on successfully and providing continuing employment for the development areas.

Mr. Price

Would my right hon. Friend agree that the committee now operates far too much in an atmosphere of secrecy? Would it not be a good thing if it were compelled openly to declare its reasons for the very small number of rejections it makes? Is he aware that there are firms attracted by his Department into development areas on the understanding that they will get grants but which are being turned down apparently for no reason at all?

Mr. Jay

I think there is a misunderstanding here. B.O.T.A.C. advises the Government only on one point, the viability and probable success of the individual firm. The information is necessarily confidential and could not possibly be made public.