HC Deb 21 March 1968 vol 761 cc594-6
Q4. Mr. Derek Page

asked the Prime Minister if he is satisfied with the coordination of Ministerial Departments concerned with problems of overspill; and if he will make a statement.

The Prime Minister

Yes, Sir.

Mr. Page

Is my right hon Friend aware that there is constant difficulty in co-ordinating the industrial build-up with housing construction in our overspill towns? Will he take steps to see that the flow of industry to towns such as King's Lynn is adequate for the building programme?

The Prime Minister

I am aware that this problem faces a number of areas. The point was raised not long ago by the hon. Member for Sudbury and Woodbridge (Mr. Stainton) in a different context, in areas which have an overspill, particularly from London, and where housing developments have been running ahead of factory developments. I referred to the position about i.d.c.s, but my hon. Friend will be aware that during the 18 months following the measures of July, 1967, the amount of new industrial development has been somewhat restricted. It is now picking up very fast.

Sir D. Renton

Is the Prime Minister aware that at Huntingdon, where there has been large-scale development under the Town Development Act, the health and educational services have not kept pace with the growing increase in the population through town development? Is he aware that it is essential that these services should keep pace? Will he do something to ensure that they do?

The Prime Minister

I am aware of the right hon. and learned Gentleman's interest in this, and, speaking as a Member for an overspill area, coping with very big movements out of Liverpool, I know of some of the problems taking place with health, education and other services. This is certainly one of the matters requiring a very high priority in interdepartmental considerations.

Mr. John Fraser

Will my right hon. Friend recognise, on the other side of the coin, that those in conurbations like London, who have the greatest need to find housing in new towns, also have employments which make it difficult for them to move to such areas? Would he look at this?

The Prime Minister

While recognising the problem affecting development in new towns, in overspill towns as well as in the development areas, it is extremely difficult to maintain a proper balance here between this and new industrial development. I hope that my hon. Friend will feel that it is right to put our main weight so far into development areas. I do not for one moment underrate the importance of what he has said.

Mr. Peyton

Is the Prime Minister aware that if all Departments, including No. 10 Downing Street, were to overspill their present tenants—[Interruption.]—this would be a source of great pleasure, delight and relief to the entire nation?