HC Deb 12 February 1973 vol 850 c962
9. Mr. Pavitt

asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many factories on the Park Royal Industrial Estate are still vacant following closures; what is the total amount of space available; and what action he proposes to take to encourage skilled industries to settle in this area.

The Under-Secretary of State for Trade and Industry (Mr. Anthony Grant)

Factories in the estate belong to a number of owners and the information requested is not readily available. The incentives to encourage industrial expansion on a countrywide basis have been provided by the Government in the measures announced by my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer last March.

Mr. Pavitt

May I inform the hon. Gentleman that there are wide open spaces in an area which used to be the workshop of the world? Will he seriously consult the Department of the Environment and the Department of Employment to change the situation, which is having a terrible effect socially in my constituency? We find that what was a skilled area with a multiple number of trades within it is becoming a derelict area of warehouses.

Mr. Grant

Whilst I will always discuss these matters with the Department of the Environment, I must put the matter into perspective by asking the hon. Gentleman to remember that the unemployment rate for the London area is one of the lowest in the country; it is half the national rate. The loss of jobs in manufacturing industry has been partly set off by increased employment in the service industry in the area.

Mr. Mackie

This is becoming a problem in other estates in London where firms are closing down. It is all very well to say that there is plenty of employment, but when a man has been employed for 20 or 30 years in a particular job it is much more difficult for him to change than the Minister thinks. I agree about the unemployment figure.

Mr. Grant

The hon. Gentleman must accept that there are areas in the country with very much graver problems than the London area.