HC Deb 16 March 1970 vol 798 cc16-7
25. Mr. Hooley

asked the Minister for the Civil Service if he is satisfied that future plans by all Government Departments for dispersal of their administration from London are taking sufficient account of the employment needs of economic regions other than the South-East; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Shore

Yes, Sir. Our policy is to continue to give preference to the development areas, subject to the claims of operational efficiency. Under current plans the great majority of dispersal work will be going to areas other than the South East.

Mr. Hooley

Does my right hon. Friend agree that it is very important to have administrative forms of employment in areas of high unemployment? Will he look particularly at the needs of intermediate areas such as South Yorkshire, where there is a great rundown in mining, and also a run-down of manpower in the steel industry?

Mr. Shore

I accept what my hon. Friend says. There is a need to consider intermediate areas as well as development areas—and also other areas where needs can be met other than at the expense of development and intermediate areas, through the allocation of Government offices.

Mr. Patrick Jenkin

In view of the serious falling-off in orders for the Royal Mint, is not there a case for an entirely new inquiry into the question whether this establishment should be moved to South Wales? Is not there a grave risk that the skills and reputation that the Royal Mint has built up in its establishment at Tower Hill will be lost if the men there are not prepared to go and be employed in South Wales?

Mr. Shore

That is a separate question. I welcome the hon. Member's interest in this matter, which was not very obvious in previous times. The whole purpose of the dispersal policy is to benefit areas where high levels of unemployment exist, while not denying jobs to areas where full employment is established.