HC Deb 08 May 1969 vol 783 cc639-40
14. Mr. Boston

asked the Secretary of State for Economic Affairs what steps have been taken on development policies for the South-East since the publication of the Government's review of the South-East Economic Planning Council's Report, "A Strategy for the South-East."

Mr. Urwin

As my right hon. Friend said in reply to my hon. Friend's Question on 20th February last, the Council's long-term strategy proposals for the region are being tested and followed up by the Joint Planning Study.—[Vol. 778, c. 138.]

Mr. Boston

Does my hon. Friend accept that these proposals are very welcome? Can he say what further consideration is being given to the "corridors of growth" proposals? Would he accept that his Department's endorsement of the proposals for the development of Sheppey are very welcome? Will he ensure that his Department will add what impetus it can to help maintain the momentum of this and other overspill schemes?

Mr. Urwin

I am glad to give my hon. Friend the assurance for which he asks. We will certainly expedite as quickly as possible the studies to which he refers. I would also remind him that, as we said in the Government's reply, talks about the expansions of Sheppey have been held by Kent County Council with the Greater London Council and Queenborough in Sheppey Borough Council; a financial study is to be made before decisions are taken about the size of any scheme.

Sir T. Beamish

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that in many important areas spending is largely at a standstill in the South-East as a result of wholly unjustified delays since the Government came to power?

Mr. Urwin

That is wholly untrue. The Government have done a great deal in this period. Since the first study of the planning council was published in 1967, they recognised that further studies would have to be undertaken. This is why we set up the South-East joint planning study to follow up this work. That study will be completed early next year.