HC Deb 23 July 1979 vol 971 cc8-9
6. Mr. Dormand

asked the Secretary of State for Industry if he will make a statement on his recent visit to the North-East of England.

Sir Keith Joseph

The listening, discussing and visiting were helpful to me. I found much agreement that enterprise and competitiveness are important.

Mr. Dormand

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that in the North-East his visit was regarded as a cosmetic farce and that the lack of serious discussion has caused great annoyance, not least among the trade unions? In the light of the damage that his regional policy statement has done—to say nothing of the damage that will be done by his statement on shipbuilding this afternoon—will he now consider the establishment of a Northern development agency, which has been agreed by the CBI and the TUC in the North—perhaps the only thing they have ever agreed upon?

Sir K. Joseph

I think that the people of the North-East should take some credit for persuading me that the grants under the regional development scheme should remain the same in the special development areas.

Mr. Radice

How much extra unemployment will be created in the Northern region by the measures announced by the right hon. Gentleman last week?

Sir K. Joseph

The intellectually honest answer I can give is "None", and I shall explain why in tomorrow's debate.

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