HC Deb 06 July 1970 vol 803 cc303-4
11. Mr. Maclennan

asked the Minister of Technology what is his policy regarding the criteria governing the issue of industrial development certificates.

Mr. Rippon

Industrial development certificates will continue to be freely available in the development and intermediate areas. Elsewhere, applications will be judged on their merits, taking account of the nature of the project and the needs and resources of the area concerned.

Mr. Maclennan

But is there any intention to alter the criteria to ease up on the issue of development certificates in the already highly industrialised parts of the country? Is the Minister aware that uncertainty about his Government's regional policy is leading to considerable anxiety in the development areas and that we cannot wait indefinitely for the Government to review their policy, about which, after all, they gave the impression in opposition of having made up their minds?

Mr. Rippon

I am looking at the working of the present system. I can assure the hon. Gentleman and the House that they will not have to wait indefinitely for any changes which may be made. If there are any anxieties on the part of individual firms and the hon. Gentleman cares to write to me about them, I will deal with them quickly.

Sir H. Legge-Bourke

In reconsidering this matter, would my right hon. and learned Friend assure us that he will not overlook the needs of those areas lying between the major city centres of East Anglia, in some of the smaller towns of which there is a real danger of a steady drift downwards unless there is some improvement in this field?

Mr. Rippon

I will ensure that all applications are judged on their merits, taking into account all the local factors such as those to which my hon. and gallant Friend has referred.

Mr. Alan Lee Williams

Is the right hon. and learned Gentleman aware that even the suggestion that he might be considering easing the criteria in the non-development areas could immediately lead to a seizing up of the applications and that it is absolutely essential that he give an early date for his decision?

Mr. Rippon

There is no reason why applications should seize up.