HC Deb 13 July 1970 vol 803 cc1132-3
31. Mr. Murray

asked the Minister of Technology if he will examine the question of upgrading Leith from intermediate development to full development area status; and what discussion and consultations he intends to undertake in this matter.

Mr. Ridley

We are looking into the position of Edinburgh and Leith in relation to the Scottish Development Area.

Mr. Murray

Will the hon. Gentleman bear in mind that this is a matter of some urgency, that Leith is the only major port in Scotland which is not backed by a full development area to its landward side, that there is an urgent need for growing trade in Leith, and, lastly, that there is growing anxiety about the persistently high rate of unemployment in Leith?

Mr. Ridley

We are considering this matter in accordance with our pledges during the election campaign. However, I am sure that the hon. Gentleman would agree that it would be better to get the policy right before starting to alter the boundaries.

Mr. Benn

It may have been accidental, but the hon. Gentleman has made a very important announcement, that he is prepared to look again at the boundaries of the development areas and intermediate areas. Will he confirm that he is ready to receive representations from other areas which have a claim to special status?

Mr. Ridley

No. This applies only to Edinburgh and Leith. The Conservative Party made a pledge to re-examine the boundaries in Edinburgh and Leith, and we are doing that. It does not apply to any other part of the country.