HC Deb 11 July 1968 vol 768 cc720-2
19. Mr. Edward M. Taylor

asked the Secretary of State for Economic Affairs what study he has made of the dispersal of the offices of new Government agencies, boards, commissions and councils throughout the United Kingdom in promoting regional development; and if he will make a statement on the progress which has been made in this direction.

Mr. Urwin

We promote regional development by establishing the offices of Government Departments and other public bodies outside London whenever it is feasible to do so. Each case is studied on its merits and I will circulate a list of the offices planned for location outside London since 1st January, 1965. in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

Mr. Taylor

Has the Minister seen the report of the Location of Offices Bureau, which shows that no London firm or agency employing a significant number has moved to Scotland last year? Is he aware that the Government are creating new civil servants at the rate of 45 every day? Why cannot we get a fairer share? Will the Government take steps to halt emigration from Scotland, which was at a record level in 1967?

Mr. Urwin

It is unfortunate that the Administration supported by the hon. Gentleman failed to halt emigration from Scotland over a very long period of years. As to Government policy, I have already said that since 1965 we have given a much greater impetus to the dispersal of Government offices into the provinces, with specific emphasis on development areas. The hon. Gentleman will appreciate that Scotland already has its own administrative offices and that the possibilities of further new offices are often limited by operational requirements of the offices concerned. Nevertheless, Scotland is always considered when offices are to be dispersed or new ones are built in the provinces.

Mr. Speaker

Order. Long Answers mean fewer Questions.

Mr. Roy Hughes

Will my hon. Friend bear in mind that in South Wales we are particularly grateful for the Government's policies of dispersal, particularly for the Royal Mint at Llantrisant, the motor taxation offices at Swansea and now the census offices of the Board of Trade at Newport—all projects which will alleviate unemployment in this area?

Mr. Urwin

I am grateful for my hon. Friend's reminder about the value of Government work in this connection. When he reads the list of dispersals I am sure that he will be even more satisfied.

Following is the information:

(from the beginning of 1965)
Department Location
Inland Revenue (Schedule E Centres) East Kilbride
Investment Grants Organisation, Board of Trade Southend
Crosby (will, later on, move to Bootle)
Land Registry (Provincial Offices) Swansea
Land Commission, Head-quarters: Newcastle
Regional Offices Newcastle
Post Office (Giro) Bootle
Department Location
H.M. Stationery (Printing Works) Office Gateshead
Ministry of Social Security:
S.E.T. Duties Cumbernauld
Tokens for Welfare Milk Blackpool
Short-term Benefits Reading
Staff Training Billingham
Ministry of Transport (Licensing work) Swansea
Meat and Livestock Commission Milton Keynes