HC Deb 30 April 1969 vol 782 cc1410-1
4. Mr. Lane

asked the President of the Board of Trade what is the scope of the study of the effectiveness of the investment grants system which he is undertaking; when the examination will be completed; and if he will publish the results.

Mr. Dell

I hope that it will be possible to examine the more significant questions relating to the effectiveness of the investment grant system. I would not expect to get quick answers to such complex questions and I have, therefore, placed no time limit on its completion. I will consider the desirability of publication when I have had an opportunity to see how far it has proved possible to overcome the difficulties which this sort of study must encounter and to arrive at informative answers to the questions posed.

Mr. Lane

As these grants now cost over £400 million a year, and as there is widespread and growing doubt about their effectiveness, could not the Minister at least undertake to ensure that this study is pursued with maximum urgency, even if he cannot put a time limit to it today?

Mr. Dell

I will certainly ensure that the study is conducted as quickly as is possible in the circumstances. There is, I think, increasing evidence that the investment grant system is an effective way of creating new investment.

Mr. Maclennan

Before the Government come to any conclusion about how to finance the assistance to the intermediate areas which was announced last week, will the results of this study be available to them?

Mr. Dell

No. The study will obviously take some time and the other decisions will have to be made before these results are available.