§ 17. Mr. Fletcher-Cooke
asked the Secretary of State for Economic Affairs when he now expects to receive the report of the Hunt Committee on the grey areas.
§ 34. Mr. George Jeger
asked the Secretary of State for Economic Affairs whether he has now received the report of the Hunt Committee on grey areas; and if he will make a statement.
§ 50. Mr. Roy Hughes
asked the Secretary of State for Economic Affairs when he now expects to receive the report of the Hunt Committee.
§ Mr. Fletcher-Cooke
But would the right hon. Gentleman give an undertaking 753 that if the report, as seems almost inevitable, criticises fundamentally the Government's regional policy he will observe the report rather than stick slavishly to his previous policy?
§ Mr. Shore
I understand the natural impatience of hon. Members to get the report as soon as we set up a committee to undertake a study. But I cannot accept that there has undue delay in this case. The Hunt Committee has had only 18 months to study a very substantial area of the country which no Government has previously examined. This is bound to take time.
§ Dr. Gray
In view of the low average wages prevailing in Norfolk, the greyest of grey areas, instead of replying airily about the publication of the Hunt Committee's Report, will my right hon. Friend consider the anxiety and urgency with which rescue from the Government is needed in Norfolk and other areas?
§ Mr. Gordon Campbell
Does the right hon. Gentleman realise that the Edinburgh Leith area, which has been a grey area, is now being bled white because more than 40 firms have closed down or moved, and has he looked at a map of Scotland, which the Government have now made into a modernistic sculpture with a hole in the middle?
§ Mr. Arthur Davidson
Is my right hon. Friend aware that North-East Lancashire expects a very honourable mention in the Report, and that the announcement of the new town makes help for North-East Lancashire even more urgent? Will he act on any recommendation in the Hunt Report that increased help should be given to North-East Lancashire?
§ Mr. Shore
I know that the problems of North-East Lancashire have been thoroughly studied by the Hunt Committee. I point out to my hon. Friend the welcome change, compared with a year ago, in the unemployment position in the North-East Lancashire area. I cannot at the moment say what the conclusions of the Hunt Committee are, but my hon. Friend can be assured that the Hunt Committee has been considering very carefully the position of North-East Lancashire.
§ Mr. John Hall
Will the Minister heed the heartfelt plea by his hon. Friend the Member for Yarmouth (Dr. Gray) that the people in this country be rescued from this Government?
§ Mr. Bagier
My right hon. Friend said that the Report of the Hunt Committee would be published as soon as possible, but, since the Report may have an effect on development policy, will he be more specific and say how soon?