HC Deb 26 April 1977 vol 930 cc1025-7
Q2. Mr. Ridley

asked the Prime Minister when he next intends to pay an official visit to Humberside.

Mr. Foot

I have been asked to reply.

My right hon. Friend has at present no plans to do so.

Mr. Ridley

Does the Lord President think that the granting of development area status to Grimsby will have any effect on the by-election that is now going on there?

Mr. Foot

I think the hon. Gentleman put his Question down before the alteration in the development area status had been made. If he had known, he might perhaps have withdrawn the Question.

Dr. Edmund Marshall

Will my right hon. Friend accept the gratitude of the people in a great many parts of the county for the decision to extend development area status in Humberside, and will he look again at the possibility of further extensions to other parts of the county?

Mr. Foot

Representations have been made by a large number of people in Humberside that this extension in development area status should occur. I believe that representations were even made by some members of the Conservative Party in the area. I am sorry that Conservative Members should have received the announcement so churlishly.

Mr. Wood

If the Prime Minister is unable to visit Humberside, will the Leader of the House explain why Bridlington, with a much higher rate of unemployment, has not been included in the development area whereas Grimsby, for reasons which we cannot quite under stand, has been included?

Mr. Foot

There are variations in the unemployment rate in different places. As I am sure the right hon. Gentleman will understand, one of the factors that we took into account was the position in Hull was well as Grimsby. If there was to be an improvement in the development area status of the Hull area, we believed that it was only right that there should be an improvement in Grimsby as well.

Mr. Corbett

As the Prime Minister is not going to Humberside, will my right hon. Friend persuade him to have an urgent meeting with the proprietors of the London Evening News and Evening Standard and urge on them the need to come clean with the 6,000 workers employed by both papers about their plans to cut the throat of at least the Evening Standard under the guise of giving London a new paper?

Mr. Speaker

Order. That is an excellent example of a question which is not related at all to the Question on the Order Paper. We might as well just have Questions to the Prime Minister without an Order Paper.

Mr. Prior

Will the right hon. Gentle man look at the fact that only last night at any rate it was impossible to find out which parts of the Grimsby area came within the new district and which parts came without? Does that not suggest that it was all done in a bit of a hurry and for a very specific purpose?

Mr. Foot

I do not see why the right hon. Gentleman should be so suspicious. Considering that some of his hon. Friends, perhaps belatedly, were joining with others in asking that the Government should take this course, I think he should accept what has been proposed more generously. If there is any difficulty about defining the areas, I hope that we shall be able to sort it out as speedily as possible.

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