HC Deb 26 June 1969 vol 785 cc1686-7
13. Mr. Ogden

asked the Secretary of State for Economic Affairs what consultations he has had with organisations in the North-West regarding the provision of economic aid to that region.

Mr. Shore

Following my statement on 24th April, I have consulted the North-West Economic Planning Council about our proposed new measures of assistance to the region and the precise boundaries of the North-East Lancashire intermediate area. I have also received representations from a number of local authorities and other bodies in the region, whose views I have carefully considered.—[Vol. 782, c. 668–72.]

Mr. Ogden

Is my right hon. Friend aware that we in the North-West fully appreciate the massive aid which has been given by the Government to the region? Bearing in mind the likely advantages and disadvantages of aid based on geographical areas—either intermediate or development area—will he give an assurance that the more delicate mechanism of housing, urban renewal and this kind of development is given full consideration?

Mr. Shore

The problems of communications and urban renewal are just as important in the development of regional planning as specific incentives and aid to industry. I assure my hon. Friend that full weight is given to these factors in allocating public expenditure and in regional planning.

Mr. Arthur Davidson

May I further embarrass my right hon. Friend by congratulating him on the aid which he has given to North-East Lancashire, and particularly to my constituency, which is greatly welcomed? Will he ask his right hon. Friends to publicise the great advantages to industrialists of development and expansion in the North-East Lancashire region?

Mr. Shore

My hon. Friend will recall that we went as far as we could in yesterday's statement in announcing the immediacy of the measures which we had introduced. Our purpose is to engage the interests of industrialists at the earliest moment.

Sir C. Osborne

If the economic position generally is as rosy as the Chancellor made out yesterday, why is it that hon. Members on both sides of the House are continually complaining of poverty and unemployment in their own districts?

Mr. Shore

That is a very interesting question which shows that the hon. Gentleman has not thought at all about regional policy. The plain truth is that it is possible to have periods of national prosperity coupled with regional depressions, and we had this for many years under the Governments of right hon. Gentlemen opposite.