HC Deb 24 April 1968 vol 763 cc205-6
18. Mr. Alison

asked the President of the Board of Trade in how many cases in each of the last three years he has refused to issue industrial development certificates in the West Yorkshire, South Yorkshire, and Yorkshire coalfield regions, respectively, as defined in the Yorkshire and Humberside Economic Planning Council's review.

Mr. Crosland

No industrial development certificates have been refused in these areas in the last three years.

Mr. Alison

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the fairly satisfactory employment figures in Yorkshire as a whole reflect a very unsatisfactory rate of net migration from the area, and that something more than negative help and industrial development certificates is required? Positive assistance is needed to offset the discriminatory help given to areas outside Yorkshire.

Mr. Crosland

I recognise that in this area, as in other areas, such as North-East Lancashire, the unemployment figures are not the only figures which we should consider; we should also look at the outward migration from the area. But the entire problem of what are known as the grey areas is being considered by the Hunt Committee, which expects to report in the autumn. Until it has reported, I do not think that any major change in Government policy would be justified.

Mr. Edwin Wainwright

Could my right hon. Friend say what is the difference between this Government's attitude to these areas and the Tory Party's attitude to them during its last few years of office? Would my right hon. Friend bear in mind that, if it were not for the drift of manpower from many parts of the Yorkshire-Humberside region, unemployment in these areas would make it necessary for them to be scheduled as development areas?

Mr. Crosland

I am very conscious of this problem. I know this area because my constituency is situated in it, although not in the coalfield part. But it was because of the problem of the intermediate areas, or grey areas as they have come to be called, that we set up the Hunt Committee to recommend what should be done about them. It would be wrong for the Government to adopt a major change in their regional policy some months before the Hunt Committee is due to report.