HC Deb 10 February 1972 vol 830 cc1549-51
Q1. Mr. Meacher

asked the Prime Minister what plans he has for a further meeting with the North-West Industrial Development Association.

The Prime Minister (Mx. Edward Heath)

None, Sir. I have arranged to meet the Merseyside Advisory Committee on Unemployment when I am in Liverpool tomorrow.

Mr. Meacher

Is the Prime Minister aware that the whole of the North West now has unemployment rates which previously would have justified immediately the granting of intermediate area status? Is the right hon. Gentleman aware, further, that the Government contribution to the region is thoroughly inadequate since, although the region has the oldest industrial infrastructure in the country and the biggest concentration of substandard houses, public investment is still no more than adequate? What does the Prime Minister intend doing to remedy the problems on the scale required?

The Prime Minister

I discussed these problems with the North-West Industrial Development Association, and I pointed out the reasons why we differentiate between types of area. I discussed these matters on Tuesday afternoon in answer to other supplementary questions. Tomorrow I shall concentrate on the problems of Merseyside.

Mr. Tilney

Will my right hon. Friend bear in mind, when we welcome him in Merseyside tomorrow, our lack of amenity as well as our unemployment, and that both could be lessened by a massive public work which the Government alone could undertake, such as the multi-purpose and probably profitable reclamation of the Dee?

The Prime Minister

I am prepared to discuss that tomorrow evening, if the point is raised.

Mr. Heffer

When the Prime Minister discusses the great problem of unemployment on Merseyside, will he indicate to the advisory committee whether the Government have any plans to assist in the redevelopment of old schools, the housing programme, roads, and various buildings which are required in Liverpool, in view of the extremely high level of unemployment among building workers in the area? Will the Prime Minister say clearly what the Government intend to do to assist Merseyside in this direction?

The Prime Minister

I am prepared to discuss these problems with the advisory committee tomorrow. That is the purpose of my visit. This Government, after all, have undertaken the biggest programme for the replacement of old primary schools that any Government of this country have ever undertaken, in addition to the £160 million that we are spending on infrastructure in the development areas.

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