HC Deb 13 June 1977 vol 933 cc14-5
7. Mr. Costain

asked the Secretary of State for Industry if he will now give development area status to Folkestone and Hythe.

Mr. Bob Cryer

This would not be justified.

Mr. Costain

Does the Minister appreciate that unemployment in Folkestone and Hythe has been well above the national average almost since the present Government came to power? Why should a district with such good facilities for commerce and industry be deprived of the opportunity to get people to move to it because of legislation introduced by this Government? How high must unemployment rise before the Government come to their senses and give us development area status?

Mr. Cryer

The unemployment in Folkestone and Hythe is certainly regretted by the Government, but the area has a number of factors that are special to it in that it is a seaside area with seasonal variations in employment. The Government are concerned but can see no justification at this stage for altering the area's status as the hon. Gentleman requests.