HC Deb 01 February 1967 vol 740 c576
Mr. Dean

The right hon. Gentleman has been able to give only very little information about the way in which this money will be allocated among the various development districts, the particular point which I put to him. He said that it would be on the basis of the insured population. Surely he is not suggesting that the respective economic prospects of the development districts and unemployment in the development districts in the West Country are not to be taken into account in this allocation.

Mr. Jay

I was not saying that it would be proportionate to the insured population as between development areas and the non-development areas. I was saying that one could work on the assumption that it would be roughly proportionate to the insured population as between one development area and another, but I do not think that it is possible in advance to give a strictly accurate estimate, or an exact delimitation of the figure.

However, I was about to say in conclusion that I believe that the West Country has many attractions to light industry and that the volume of unemployment, although the percentage figures look formidable, is remarkably small. New and diversified industries such as we are now introducing should help to ease the problem of seasonal unemployment in particular which has dogged the South West for so long, and it is certainly our firm intention to push on vigorously with all the plans covered by these Estimates and others until the economy of the South-West, in industry and in tourism and the service trades, has been established on a far stronger basis than it is now.