HC Deb 20 March 1972 vol 833 cc1068-9
25. Mr. Ewing

asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many Government advance factories are at present unoccupied in Scotland; and how many of that number have, respectively, never been occupied and been vacated, in the period June, 1970, to February, 1972.

Mr. Anthony Grant

Twenty-seven advance factories including two built for the Development Commission are unoccupied. Twenty-three have not yet been occupied and four have been occupied and vacated by the tenants since June, 1970.

Mr. Ewing

I thank the hon. Gentleman for his reply and also for understanding that these points were posed in the Question, despite how it is printed. There is obviously a difficulty in letting these factories. Will he accept that there is now a need to relax the conditions of letting, particularly as many of the factories are predominantly for male-employee industries? Will he examine also the possibility of handing over some of the smaller units to local authorities so that they may be used as sheltered workshops to deal with unemployment among handicapped people?

Mr. Grant

We endeavour to administer the advance factory policy as flexibly as possible for all types of employment. We shall keep the latter point made by the hon. Gentleman under consideration, but in the first instance the important thing is to get our own advance factories occupied.

Mr. Edward Taylor

Would it not help to fill these factories if my hon. Friend were willing to extend the special development area incentives to local firms considering expansion as well as giving them to incoming firms? Have the Government reached a decision about this yet?

Mr. Grant

All these matters are under consideration in our regional review and I cannot go further than my right hon. Friend has gone.