HC Deb 09 July 1968 vol 768 cc205-6
Q1. Mr. Sheldon

asked the Prime Minister what plans he has for the unification of location of industry policy.

The Prime Minister (Mr. Harold Wilson)

Present arrangements already ensure the proper co-ordination of Government policy in this field but if my hon. Friend has any particular suggestions to make I would be happy to consider them.

Mr. Sheldon

Since the many successes of Government policy in the regions are largely due to effective use of I.D.C.s and investment grants, would not my right hon. Friend agree that if policy and administration were built around these successes we might be able to encourage rather better movement of industry to those parts of the country where it is most needed?

The Prime Minister

These instruments are important, but they are only part of the much wider responsibility of the economic planning councils whose responsibility goes beyond industrial planning and industrial location and extends to the whole system of social planning, road planning and town and country planning generally. It is for that reason that their work is coordinated by the Department of Economic Affairs.

Mr. Deedes

Is the Prime Minister aware that, at least in the South-East, all too often there arises a conflict between policies of the Board of Trade, the D.E.A. and Ministry of Housing and Local Government, and that it is very difficult to run policy under three masters?

The Prime Minister

I am not aware of any conflict between the Departments, but I was aware of some anxieties in the South-East about the responsibility of the Joint Committee of Local Authorities on the one hand and the work of the Economic Planning Council on the other. I understood it had been pretty well sorted out by now.