§ The Secretary of State for Trade and Industry and President of the Board of Trade (Mr. John Davies)
With your permission, Mr. Speaker, and that of the House, I should like to make a personal statement.
The House will recall that in the course of my speech during the debate on unemployment on 29th April I gave figures, recorded in column 748 of HANSARD, for the number of inquiries by industrialists about investment in the assisted areas and compared the number of inquiries in the first quarter of 1970 with those in the first quarter of 1971.
I regret that I have now been informed that the figure for the first quarter of 1970, which I quoted as 538, was not correct. This figure referred to the number of inquiries by people other than industrialists and should not have been used in making the comparison I did. The number of inquiries by industrialists during the first quarter of 1970 was in fact 2,400; the number had declined to 1,083 during the first quarter of 1971 rather than increased as I had suggested.
I wish to apologise unreservedly to the House for having given, in good faith, information which was incorrect.