HC Deb 29 April 1976 vol 910 cc544-5
10. Mr. Hardy

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what has been the amount spent per head on the promotion and provision of industrial development in Northern Ireland during the last two years.

Mr. Moyle

I understand my hon. Friend is referring to the amount spent per head of population in Northern Ireland.

The total amount spent on industrial development, including capital assistance towards re-investment, between 1st April 1974 and 31st March 1976 was, on the basis of the 1971 census, £86.50 per head of population.

Mr. Hardy

Does my hon. Friend consider that the people of Northern Ireland are adequately aware of the fact that in this important field, as in others, they are given markedly greater opportunity than that enjoyed by citizens in the rest of the British Isles? If he is not so satisfied, will he ensure that these benefits are repeatedly explained, perhaps in order to increase the revulsion against violence which has already been mentioned?

Mr. Moyle

I am satisfied that the people of Northern Ireland are to a large extent aware that they get a better deal in these respects than do most other sections of the United Kingdom. My hon. Friend's point will be borne in mind and publicised to them.

Mr. McCusker

On what basis is the hon. Gentleman able to make those comments? Does he not agree that for any meaningful comment to be made on those figures we need equivalent figures for other peripheral deprived regions? Does he have those figures?

Mr. Moyle

The hon. Gentleman's last question would be better addressed to my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Industry. There is no doubt that far more aspects of industrial promotion are the subject of Government support in Northern Ireland than in other parts of the United Kingdom. If the hon. Gentleman wished, I could provide him with a list, if he has not got the pamphlet from my Department of Commerce.

Mr. Fernyhough

As my hon. Friend says that £86 per head is spent on industrial development in Northern Ireland, and as I represent part of the North-East of England, which has had problems similar to those of Northern Ireland, may I ask what is the comparable figure for the North-East?

Mr. Moyle

I cannot tell my right hon. Friend the comparable figure for the North-East. He could obtain that by putting a Question to my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Industry. The problems in the North-East are not quite comparable with those in Northern Ireland. As well as a security problem, in Northern Ireland there is the periphery problem.