HC Deb 30 April 1969 vol 782 cc1424-5
27. Mr. Boston

asked the President of the Board of Trade if he will make a statement about his policy concerning industrial development certificates arising from the publication of the Government's review of the South-East Economic Planning Council's report, A Strategy for the South-East.

Mrs. Gwyneth Dunwoody

The Government's reply to the Council's report answers very fully the various points raised about industrial development certificate policy in the South-East. We have nothing further to add.

Mr. Boston

Would my hon. Friend accept that there are parts of the South-East which do not enjoy the prosperity of the region as a whole, and that this needs to be recognised in other parts of the country as well? Would she confirm that her Department will continue to exercise a flexible policy on i.d.cs., and give the maximum encouragement to town development schemes in the region?

Mrs. Dunwoody

We take into account as far as possible the difficulties faced by some small areas of the South-East and will continue to be flexible in the way that we consider every i.d.c. application.

31. Mr. Edward M. Taylor

asked the President of the Board of Trade by what percentage the number of industrial development certificates granted in 1968 exceeded the number granted in 1965 in Scotland, England and Wales, respectively; and what were the comparable percentage increases in the factory floor covered by the industrial development certificates.

Mrs. Gwyneth Dunwoody

The increases by number of approvals were 7.9 per cent., 68 per cent. and 105.2 per cent., and by area 7.1 per cent., 25.2 per cent., and 96.6 per cent., respectively. The figures fluctuate from year to year and comparisons based on individual years can be misleading.

Mr. Taylor

Are not those astonishing and depressing figures for Scotland? How can the Minister justify a situation in which the percentage of i.d.cs for Scotland granted in 1967 and 1968 was lower in both years than at any time since 1961? Is the hon. Lady aware that this is a scandalous state of affairs in view of the rapid decline in some of our traditional industries in Scotland?

Mrs. Dunwoody

The hon. Gentleman should try not to let his imagination run away with him. [Interruption.] In the four years 1965 to 1968 the number of i.d.cs approved for Scotland increased by 112 per cent. over the period 1961 to 1964. More than 42,000 jobs, 23,000 of them for men, are in prospect over the next four years in authorised new building and buildings taken over by manufacturers in Scotland.

Mr. Gordon Campbell

Will the hon. Lady withdraw what she said about my hon. Friend's imagination—[HON. MEMBERS: "No."]—remembering that she had to make a correction in the OFFICIAL REPORT after giving an incorrect Answer the other day to one of my other hon. Friends?

Mrs. Dunwoody

I will certainly not withdraw my remark in view of the facts. The occasion to which the hon. Gentleman is referring was one about which I sent a letter of apology to the hon. Member concerned. The position arose because, off the cuff, I gave a figure quickly. If the hon. Gentleman is so worried about this issue and is interested in the figures, he should congratulate the Government on what they have been doing and not keep harping about the past.