HC Deb 08 February 1967 vol 740 cc1645-6
42. Mr. Peter Mills

asked the President of the Board of Trade what plans his Department has made to retain existing industry in the Okehampton area of Devon.

Mr. Darling

None, Sir. It is not for the Board of Trade to make such plans, but naturally I hope that existing industry in Okehampton will prosper.

Mr. Mills

Will the right hon. Gentleman bear in mind that there is grave danger of existing firms in the area moving away as they wish to expand but find that it is not profitable to do so in an area which is not a development area? Will he see what he can do to make this a development area, otherwise the problems will be very serious in the years ahead?

Mr. Darling

I have no evidence that existing firms are going to move out of the area, but if the hon. Gentleman has any I would like to discuss it with him.

Mr. Corfield

Will the right hon. Gentleman bear in mind that one of the main reasons for the relatively high unemployment rate in the South-West is the deplorable communication? Will he make representations to his right hon. Friend that these should have top priority if the Government mean business in their regional development policy?

Mr. Darling

I will see that the hon. Gentleman's observations are brought to the attention of my right hon. Friend the Minister of Transport.