HC Deb 27 April 1970 vol 800 cc848-50
3. Mr. Sheldon

asked the Minister of Technology if he will now carry out an inquiry into the working of the regional employment premium; and if he will publish the results.

The Minister of State, Ministry of Technology (Mr. Eric Varley)

I have nothing to add to my answer of 26th January to the hon. Member for Morecambe and Lonsdale (Mr. Hall-Davis).[Vol. 794, c. 983–4.]

Mr. Sheldon

Would not my hon. Friend agree that, to test the efficacy of some of the incentive schemes which presuppose that people will act in a certain way in which they would not otherwise act, it is necessary to carry out a survey to make sure that they are acting in the way suggested? Will my hon. Friend look at this again and try to copy the system for investment grants, where a study is being made?

Mr. Varley

We want to consider the form of the study. All experience shows that changes in regional policy take several years to become fully effective, but we shall bear in mind the point made by my hon. Friend.

Mr. Hall-Davis

Is it not reasonable that, when the new system has been operating for some time, there should be a published study of the discrimination against service industries compared with manufacturing industries, and whether experience has shown that this is sound?

Mr. Varley

We are considering the form of the study. As he knows, guarantees were given for seven years on R.E.P. We shall consider the hon. Gentleman's question on the study when the form of it has been decided.

Sir K. Joseph

Will the hon. Gentleman confirm that as things stand the R.E.P. terminates in 1974?

Mr. Varley

An undertaking was given to the House that it would continue for seven years. Whether it will continue after that period I cannot say.

Mr. Blenkinsop

Will my hon. Friend give an absolute assurance that no action will be taken which will in any way endanger the position of some of our development areas which are dependent on R.E.P.?

Mr. Varley

I agree that it would be disastrous for the regions if we were to cut back on the full range of incentives available now.

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