§ 9. Mr. Ridley
asked the Secretary of State for Economic Affairs, in view of the fact that payments for regional development are now running at over £250 million per annum, if he will give an undertaking to take steps to prevent this expenditure from further increasing.
§ Mr. Ridley
Does the right hon. Gentleman now accept the figure of £250 747 million a year which the Under-Secretary of State vehemently denied last time he answered Questions?
§ Dr. John Dunwoody
Does not my right hon. Friend agree that a great deal of good which results from this expenditure could be increased further if the money were applied more selectively within the development areas?
§ Mrs. Ewing
Does not the right hon. Gentleman agree that, as the view in Scotland in this matter is that we can no longer afford the luxury of partnership with England, which is bankrupt, and as the view in England, which is becoming clear in this House, is that Scotland is getting a hand-out, the solution to economic growth would be to get rid of Scotland and let her paddle her own canoe?
§ Miss Herbison
Will my right hon. Friend totally reject both the propositions made by the hon. Member for Cirencester and Tewkesbury (Mr. Ridley) and by the hon. Member for Hamilton (Mrs. Ewing)? Is he aware that in Lanarkshire we are delighted indeed with the very great help that has been given by the Government through the development area policy?
§ Mr. Shore
I thank my right hon. Friend for her support of our policy. I can certainly give her the assurance she asks for. Inevitably public expenditure on development area policy is bound to increase up to a point in simply reflecting 748 the success of that policy. In other words, if more firms invest in development areas there will be greater public expenditure on that account.