§ 50. Mr. Blenkinsop
asked the Minister of Technology whether he will make a statement on the action he has taken to encourage new industrial research and development work in the North-East.
§ Mr. Benn
Yes, sir. I have asked my hon. Friend the Member for Middles-brough, West (Dr. Bray) to take special responsibility for developing my Department's regional policies in support of the Government's general policies for development areas. With this in mind I am now seeking and hoping to encourage viable projects.
§ Mr. Blenkinsop
While welcoming that Answer from my right hon. Friend, may I ask if he could say in particular, what use is being made of resources which are already there, on Tyneside, for example, in conjunction with universities? It is very urgent that we should not let these resources lie idle.
§ Mr. Benn
My hon. Friend will realise that in thinking of regional policy from the Ministry of Technology's point of view we have these sorts of considerations very much in mind. We have increased the number of contracts with I.R.D., and the N.R.D.C. has spent £1.4 million in the North in the last 18 months. In this and other ways we are hoping really to help.