HC Deb 15 July 1980 vol 988 cc1394-430
Mr. Spearing

I beg to move amendment No. 249, in page 210, line 1, after 'be', insert 'other than any part of that area to which an invitation or designation is already applicable'. We are now considering that part of the Bill relating to enterprise zones. It is fairly clear that if the Bill becomes an Act, orders relating to enterprise zones will be made in the fairly near future. The question of urban development corporations may, however, take a little longer.

In Committee, the Government were asked what would happen if a local authority made application for an enterprise zone, was invited to draw up a scheme, did a lot of groundwork and subsequently the area concerned became subject to an urban development corporation. The Government were asked whether the local authority or the urban development corporation would then become the enterprise zone authority. The Government made it quite clear that in those circumstances the borough council would remain the enterprise zone authority, even though an urban development corporation had subsequently taken over the area. The amendment seeks to ensure that if that position applies the Government cannot issue a subsequent invitation to the UDC, which is an authorised body under the schedule. I hope that the Government will write that provision into the Bill, if not by this amendment by some other suitable amendment.

I acknowledge that, unfortunately, even if the borough council is not invited, and does not produce a scheme, it is still open to the Government to invite a UDC to do so, if such a corporation is subsequently established. I deplore that fact. It is another matter, but it is related to the amendment. I hope that it will not occur. I hope that the Government will write into the Bill the assurance that was clearly given in Committee. That is the object of the amendment.

Mr. Fox

I can give the hon. Member for Newham, South (Mr. Spearing) the assurance that he requests. The amendment is concerned with an enterprise zone within an urban development corporation. We discussed that matter in Committee. Before a statutory invitation is issued we shall seek the agreement of all the relevant bodies in the area. If we wish to invite a UDC to prepare a scheme, we shall especially seek the agreement of the local authorities. I hope that the hon. Gentleman will accept that assurance.

A statutory invitation under paragraph 1 of the schedule will be issued only when we have reached an agreement with the body concerned about the details of the proposed zone. If the body concerned is a UDC, we expect it to seek the widest possible measure of agreement with the local authority. As we said in Committee, we are seeking co-operation, not competition, between the UDC and the local authority. We shall certainly stick to what I have said. I hope that, with that assurance, the hon. Gentleman will ask leave to withdraw the amendment.

Mr. Spearing

I am not entirely happy with that answer. If the Minister wishes there to be no competition it would be easy for the sort of provision that I have suggested to be written into the Bill—if not by this amendment, by some other amendment. There are two or three different sequences that can take place. If the Government are to seek the assent of a local authority before a UDC may be invited to establish an enterprise zone, it is clear that pressure might be put on it in other ways, under other provisions in the Bill, to give that assent.

It would give proper protection and a proper legal wording if the Government thought about the matter again and brought forth a suitable amendment in another place. I do not intend to ask leave to withdraw the amendment. I ask that it should be negatived, if that is the wish of the Government.

Amendment negatived.

Mr. King

I beg to move ammendment No. 250, in page 210, line 9, at end insert: '(5A) The invitation may specify an area in which publicity is to be given under paragraph 2(2) (aa) below.'.

Mr. Deputy Speaker

With this, it will be convenient to discuss Government amendments Nos. 252, 253 and 254.

Mr. King

The amendments respond to a request made by the right hon. Member for Birmingham, Sparkbrook (Mr. Hattersley) in Committee about the advertising of a scheme for an enterprise zone. The point that he made fairly is that it is not of interest purely within the area of the enterprise zone because there may be interests in the surrounding areas which might consider that they are adversely affected. The Government accepted the spirit of the right hon. Gentleman's amendment, although they were not able, at that time, to accept the detail, because it was not correct. We have now put that in a form that we believe to be correct. For Greater London it will be the Greater London area, for a district within a county it will be the county area, and for Scotland it will be a region.

There is an additional amendment in case the zone is on the edge of a county where a district might be affected. It gives the Secretary of State the power to describe a wider area for which publicity should be given. The amendment should command the support of the House.

Amendment agreed to.

10.15 pm
Mr. Graham

I beg to move amendment No. 251, in page 210, line 22, at end insert— 'any such scheme shall specify the planning criteria or limits applicable to any proposed development in the area concerned or any parts of that area and may include any other general conditions as the body may require'. In the view of the Opposition this is the main debate that the House can have on the issue of enterprise zones. I begin by reiterating the point that the Opposition made plain in Committee—that our attitude to the enterprise zone concept remains severely critical and very sceptical.

I remind the House of the genesis of the enterprise zone idea. It was in a speech by the Chancellor of the Exchequer at a meeting on the Isle of Dogs. He said: Independent countries like Hong Kong or Singapore have been entirely free to make themselves magnets for enterprise, with generally benevolent tax and customs regimes, freedom from exchange controls and an absence of unnecessary regulations and heavy social or other obligations on commercial industry. In Committee, Labour Members constantly pressed the Government to be more specific about the kinds of activities that they envisaged would be allowed inside the zones and, more importantly, the kinds of activities that would be excluded.

In Committee, the Under-Secretary of State for Scotland said something that made us very uneasy. When he was pressed on the different planning relaxations in different enterprise zones, he said: It is bound to follow that the local authority which has planned the operation to the greatest extent and has the least restrictions will gain most. However, that should not surprise us because it is the object of the exercise."—[Official Report, Standing Committee D, 21 May 1980; c. 1334.] Taken against the background of the idea and the philosophy in the mind of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, this makes us very uneasy. We fear that the spirit of it is to jettison as many so-called restrictions as possible. That is why we seek in our amendment to impose some order and some restraint on the freedoms which are sought in this idea.

In Committee, speech after speech implied that it was because of compliance with planning and building controls, and because of compliance with or a need to comply with health and safety regulations, that, somehow or other, a burden had been imposed on embryo economic activity which in many cases had prevented it from coming to fruition. What a lame excuse for some of the failures of British business. In our view, it is far too simplistic to suggest that all industry needs is freedom to operate in order that wealth will be created, that jobs will be created and that all will be well.

British industry has been notably unsuccessful in the past in its attempts to manage and invest for the long-term benefit of the British economy. Arguably, British industry is responsible for much of the weakening of the economy that has taken place. It is responsible for poor management, for missed opportunities, for a lack of reinvestment, for shifting investment abroad by multinational companies, and for high unemployment while British business has been restructuring, amalgamating, taking over and closing.

On this issue, as on the urban development corporations issue, our scepticism has been echoed by others. The Town Planning Institute has it about right when it says: Industry is primarily concerned to make a financial profit. It can only satisfy social, environmental and community considerations where these are coincidental to its main aim—or when it is required by law to do so. The Government need to be reminded that in inner city areas there are a number of historical disadvantages—poor access to sites, small and difficult sites, a lack of room for expansion, a poor environment, old and unsuitable buildings—and the Government ought to give better credit than they have to the valuable groundwork that has already been done by councils.

We believe that in terms of reducing the planning controls and removing restrictions, at the very least there is a risk that the enterprise zone concept will produce buildings which in themselves will be unattractive, and whole areas which have a second-rate environment because nobody has the responsibility for trying to ensure that people can live and work in pleasant conditions. Who, for instance, will take responsibility for urging that housing will be a feature of enterprise zones? Yes, housing, for those who work in the zones will need to have roots. Are enterprise zones designed to be ghost towns at night? Are they merely to be factory estates that will be open from 9 am to 5 pm, and thereafter become dead towns?

If the discipline of planning in enterprise zones is to be reduced, curtailed or minimised, the planners will have few opportunities to ameliorate the effects of incompatibility in mixed-use situations. The conflicts between users will remain. The conflicts about access, parking and site problems will flourish. In our view, enterprise zones are a direct attack on planning controls and public participation in planning. They endanger the right of the public to examine all planning proposals, to put their objections to the local authority and to seek an inquiry if they wish. If an enterprise zone builds in safeguards, the amount of time taken for the safeguards that we would like would negate the enterprise zone concept, with its emphasis on speeding up bureacratic procedures.

I am worried about the effect of enterprise zones on the borders. We have the problem of designating the areas. I wish to talk about the problems that will exist on the periphery of the designated zones—the shadow areas outside the lines drawn on a map. I am sorry that the Minister is temporarily absent, as he has assiduously attended our proceedings. The Minister and the Under-Secretary will recall that in Committee I used my knowledge of the situation in Glasgow and on Merseyside to illustrate the problem of the border areas. On Clydeside, the Co-operative Insurance Society, with a large investment of capital, and with a property developer, has invested millions of pounds in developing the Clydebank town centre and creating many jobs. Its investment is geared to conforming with strict planning criteria, but it will have no access to the financial inducements that are offered to those who will operate in the adjacent enterprise zone. Can the Minister add to his sympathetic response to my representations at that time? I remind the Minister of the helpful remarks of the Under-Secretary of State when I referred to the fears of large investors such as the Co-operative Insurance Society and the Birkenhead Co-operative Society on Merseyside. He said: We have no wish to create embarrassments for example, in Clydebank, for institutions currently investing in shopping and similar facilities. Neither in drawing the physical boundaries of enterprise zones, nor in agreeing the details of schemes is it our intention to put anyone currently investing in the area out of business. We recognise and take on board the problems that hypermarkets may involve."—[Official Report, Standing Committee D: 15 May 1980, c. 1135.] Will the Minister say now how such potentially conflicting interests will be reconciled, and will he say whether enterprise zone criteria specify activities to be included and excluded?

Our amendment will abate some of the dubious claims for enterprise zones, but the problems of inner city areas must be tackled seriously, not used as a cover for social experimentation. The enterprise zone concept is concerned more with ideology and politics than with economic realism. The key factors holding up industrial development are not taxation or planning restriction. What Britain needs, and what these areas need, is a planned growth in the national economy, continued effort by local and national government to sustain small and medium businesses, the encouragement of bringing in grass root endeavours by co-operatives, and, above all, the avoidance of throwing Britain back into the past by diminishing the hard-won advances made by organised labour, the community and environmentalists. Our amendment seeks to restrain the damaging excesses that are so clearly inherent in the schedule. I commend it to the House.

Mr. Rippon

I think that on this occasion the hon. Member for Edmonton (Mr. Graham) has been less than fair to the concept of an enterprise zone. It is an extremely imaginative proposal, which has commended itself to many people. On the other hand, it can be said that the concept has not yet been thoroughly thought through. It is regrettable from many points of view that it has been inserted at a late stage so that there has been no Second Reading. There is only a two-line clause on which the complex schedule is founded. That cannot be regarded as satisfactory. It is clear that we shall not have an adequate opportunity tonight to raise many of the technical problems which the schedule raises—for example, the tax concept to which the right hon. Member for Down, South (Mr. Powell) referred.

It is admitted that these enterprise zones are an experiment. In the words of the Minister in Committee, it will be an extremely expensive experiment, so there are to be only half a dozen sites of about 500 acres. But if it is to be an experiment, let us try to get it right in the beginning.

I regret that, for example, there is no procedure for the consideration of any application by a local authority. It is entirely up to the Secretary of State whom he invites to prepare an enterprise scheme.

The local authorities that are chosen will be in a very favourable position. Those who work and carry on business in an enterprise zone will receive important tax benefits, which will have some effect on the surrounding areas.

The theory behind the concept of the enterprise zone is valuable, and it is one that I share. In many areas industry and commerce need to be stimulated by the removal of what the Minister described in Committee as a proliferation of controls, regulations and requirements imposed on industry and commerce in this country…As a result, Governments have been driven to a whole range of additional stimuli—incentives, subsidies, regional aids and various other measures to reinvigorate those sectors. The Minister referred to the original idea, which was put forward by the Chancellor of the Exchequer in his speech on the Isle of Dogs. In Committee, my right hon. Friend said: The simple concept that my right hon. and learned Friend put forward was the alternative approach that if one could free industry and commerce from much of the bureaucracy and complication surrounding them, this might obviate the need for artificial stimuli, and industry could flourish in a climate more readily indentified in certain other countries. I agree with that concept, but I would not suggest that it should be limited to five or so areas of a total of about 3,000 acres.

Mr. Spearing

We cannot afford any more.

Mr. Rippon

My reservations about the enterprise zones are limited to the drafting of schedule 25 as it stands.

10.30 pm

I believe that it must be accepted that the Government's views on how more relaxed forms of planning can be operated are not very clear. They appear to be based on broad land use planning. In Committee the Minister said that there would be arrangements that would: allow all types of inoffensive development to go ahead quickly without rigmarole. Although such development would be subject to building controls, if there is some form of limited zoning or whatever it may be, thereafter it will be a very simplified procedure "—[Official Report, Standing Committee D, 15 May 1980; c. 1165–72.] I believe that that needs to be put in a statute, with more particularity than exists at present.

If land use zoning is all that is intended, all that the planning provisions of a free enterprise zone come to is the production of the equivalent of a proposals map, normally contained in a local plan, with two things missing. First, one will not have to have regard to conformity with any structure plan. Secondly, there will be an absence of the normal statutory provisions. If that is what is intended, it should be clearly stated in the Act. It is fundamental to the enterprise zone that people should know just how the planning procedures will be carried out.

If I look at another aspect of taxation, as did the right hon. Member for Down, South, I feel some concern over the provision concerning rates. Tax relief will be an important concession that the Secretary of State will be able to make in a particular area. As I understand it, the rates on property in an enterprise zone are to be so organised that every hereditament is to be exempt, except for a restrictively designed class, predominantly the dwelling house. That will be an expensive provision, as the Minister suggested. It is wider than it need be. It covers all existing, as well as all new, development. It covers hereditaments used for any purpose; for example, betting shops and off-licences. We are not dealing with Hong Kong or Singapore, where there can be special tax arrangements. The owner of a betting shop or off-licence could move to an enterprise zone, and be in a favourable position compared with competitors only a few yards away.

Enterprise zones are an excellent idea, but if we are not careful many of the criticisms made in Committee will prove all too correct. First, there will be not necessarily an increase in activity but simply relocation of businesses, as I mentioned. Secondly, I am concerned that there appears to be no provision for infrastructure costs. A 500-acre area with special arrangements cannot be established without considering how to deal with infrastructure costs. Finally, if we are not careful, the scheme will simply attract mobile development, which can take immediate advantage of the enterprise zone, rather than the labour intensive undertakings that are so necessary in many areas.

More fundamentally, one could say that enterprise zones are the carrot and urban development corporations the stick of this movement of central Government towards control of local administration. I hope that at any rate in another place the Government will give serious consideration to the detailed provisions of clause 25 so that we can restrict the powers of the Secretary of State and his degree of control of these schemes, which have not yet been as carefully thought out as they need to be.

Mr. Mikardo

The speech of the right hon. and learned Member for Hexham (Mr. Rippon) has fully substantiated his claim that the provisions for enterprise zones have not been thought through at all. He raised many questions. With his great knowledge, he could have raised many more had he wished to devote more time to the matter. The Government have not even attempted to answer these numerous questions. Today's debate and the debates in Committee on enterprise zones have been conducted in a penumbric cloud of hypothesis. The question whether enterprise zones are—in the words of "1066 and All That "—"a good thing", will depend on the conditions applied to them.

The right hon. and learned Member reminded us that one of the Government's objectives was to enable people to act without the controls and regulations that are imposed on others. The issue hinges on what controls and regulations people will be relieved of. The right hon. and learned Gentleman reminded us that the Chancellor of the Exchequer first mooted the idea in a speech that he made on the Isle of Dogs. He held out Hong Kong and Singapore as shining examples of what he would like to see developed on the Isle of Dogs. I hope that he is not suggesting that children should work more than 50 hours a week, as they do in Hong Kong. I also hope that he is not suggesting that any resident of the Isle of Dogs that criticises a Minister should, as in Singapore, automatically go to gaol without trial.

The Isle of Dogs was in my constituency before a redistribution of parliamentary boundaries pushed me a few hundred yards to the north. At that time there was a factory on the Isle of Dogs that emitted a powder with a highly noxious lead compound. It distributed that powder, among other places, across a primary school playground. I do not know whether anything would have been done to prevent such emissions in Hong Kong or Singapore. I hope that the regulations that prevent noxious gases from being spread over playgrounds will also apply to enterprise zones.

I have deliberately chosen exaggerated examples, as I accept that such things are unlikely to happen. Where is the line to be drawn? Any judgment about enterprise zones must depend on whether they are to be relieved of their obligations to protect those who work and live in them, and to maintain environmental conditions. The right hon. and learned Gentleman spoke at length. Indeed, if he had had time I am sure he would have spoken about other matters. He spoke about relief from normal planning regulations. That could be damaging. As he suggested, serious environmental damage might ensue. Relief from planning regulations might benefit an entrepreneur, but it would not benefit those living round the factory.

There is nothing to suggest that only planning regulations will be lifted. What about health and safety regulations? Will anybody be relieved of them? What about the regulations that prevent the emission of noxious substances. The Alkali Inspectorate looks at such emissions all the time. What about smoke in an otherwise smokeless zone? What about pollution of rivers and canals by industrial effluent? Is there to be relief from all controls and regulations? We do not know, because the Government have said nothing one way or the other. They are keeping mum.

This is a matter on which we must be vigilant. We are not in a position to make a final judgment. When reading the Committee proceedings, I got the impression that members of the Committee shared that view. We shall have to monitor events to find out what is allowed in enterprise zones and what effects that has.

There have been references to the Isle of Dogs. I understand that there have been two bids for an enterprise zone there—one from the London borough of Tower Hamlets and one from an urban development corporation that has managed to put in a bid even though it does not exist. By some subterfuge—I am sure that if it had happened under a Labour Government the Daily Mail and the Daily Expresswould have been screaming their heads off—a development corporation that does not exist has put in a bid in competition with that entered by the London borough of Tower Hamlets. What is the Government's attitude to that?

If there is to be an enterprise zone, and if the handling of the zone is to be a delicate matter, would it not be better for it to be handled by those who know the area, operate there, administer the area, are accountable to the people who live in the area, and can be called to account by them if there are deleterious, let alone dangerous, effects?

The Government owe us a duty to give the House their view of competition between a local authority and an urban development corporation in an enterprise zone. The Under-Secretary is a great example of one who does not give anything away and does not say much, but I hope that he will not run away from his serious obligation to give a specific answer to the question.

Mr. Ogden

I join my hon. Friend the Member for Bethnal Green and Bow (Mr. Mikardo) in asking the Under-Secretary to use the opportunity presented by the debate to give us as much information as he can. I hope that it will not cause the hon. Gentleman trouble if I say that there are times when he is helpful and enjoys giving information to individual hon. Members or to the House. However, there are other times when his answers are perfect parliamentary replies, accurate and concise but tell us nothing that we did not know before. I hope that tonight he will tell us something that we did not know before.

If some of my questions were asked and answered in Committee, I can only say that that is not the same as questions being asked on the Floor of the House and hon. Members being given more up-to-date information. I hope that the House will excuse me if I am parochial, but my direct concern is the possibility of an enterprise zone inside the city boundaries of Liverpool, or perhaps in Bootle, or extending across the Mersey.

10.45 pm

The answer to a simple question would save a lot of time of the House and hon. Members would be able to get home earlier. I have to assume, however, that the answer will come later. From the information available the proposals for a Merseyside enterprise zone are that it would either be located in the dockland inner city centre or near the airport. If the zone is to be located in or near the city centre along the waterfront, a city would be created within a city. It would be an enterprise zone within an urban development corporation, which, again, would be within an inner city area, or an outer city area. There would be an enterprise zone, an urban development corporation, an inner city partnership, a city and a metropolitan county. That represents tier upon tier upon tier.

The situation might arise in which one tobacco factory, British American Tobacco, was within the free enterprise zone and enjoyed advantages over another tobacco factory, called Ogden's—I have no relationship with it, unfortunately—which was located slightly outside the zone. A Merseyside bank with its headquarters "downtown", as we say, inside the free enterprise zone, or inside the urban development corporation, or inside the city, would be competing for the same market with another bank slightly outside. One small firm established in the constituencies of my hon. Friends the Members for Liverpool, Scotland Exchange (Mr. Parry), Liverpool, Kirkdale (Mr. Dunn), Liverpool, Toxteth (Mr. Crawshaw), Liverpool, Walton (Mr. Heller), and Birkenhead (Mr. Field) would be competing against firms carrying on the same busi ness slightly outside the zone. That would be one set of difficulties that the Government or the creators of the enterprise zone would have to meet if they were to establish the zone in that part of Merseyside.

There is sometimes a misunderstanding that the free enterprise zone is a duty-free zone. I should be grateful if the Minister would make clear that the zone will not be another Shannon airport.

The second suggestion for the enterprise zone is that it should be based on Speke airport, in the constituency of the hon. Member for Liverpool, Garston (Mr. Thornton) and near the constituency of my right hon. Friend the Member for Widnes (Mr. Oakes). Anyone who studies the geography of the area knows that one of the limitations of Liverpool airport is that some time after the original runways were laid down an industrial area and a housing area were located directly in line with places where the second, third and fourth runways should have been added. If a potential 500-acre zone were to be created, one motor car company would be competing on very favourable terms against another motor car company outside the zone.

Mr. Alton

The hon. Gentleman makes a useful point. Is not the whole truth that wherever the zone is decided on Merseyside, it will set one area up against another. It means that one area that is deprived will be set against another.

Mr. Ogden

I agree with the principle. We could have used the same argument against intermediate areas, development areas, special development grey areas and all the rest. They are wider geographically and the difficulties do not arise. There are natural boundaries between one area and another. I would prefer the hon. Member for Liverpool, Edge Hill (Mr. Alton) not to refer to deprived zones. There are areas with difficulties, as hon. Members know. There is little point in urging people to come to Merseyside because it is busy, lively and active and working like the clappers of hell but saying, at the same time, that it is a deprived zone and depressed. That is not the way to view the situation.

Mr. Alton


Mr. Ogden

The hon. Gentleman can make his speech in his own way. We probably want the same things in this debate, whatever else we may disagree upon.

When the Government come up with the idea of creating an enterprise zone, hon. Members should recall that only 15 months ago they were elected on the basis of encouraging enterprise, not in a particular zone of 500 acres but all over the country. The result in Merseyside is that the banks are supporting more industry than the previous Labour Government ever did. That is a simple fact. The banks' profits are going in not taking up the debts owed by individuals. The pressure on Merseyside has passed the big companies, such as Plessey, Lucas, Meccano and Dunlop. The pressure is on the small company that is attracted to the inner city and that employs between 20 and 100 people. Such firms receive more support from the banks than from Government.

The Government came in 15 months ago with a promise. It has not been fulfilled. What hope is there that this new idea of an enterprise zone, with all its complications, will do half as much as the Government promised 15 months ago?

Mr. Alfred Dubs (Battersea, South)

It is a strong possibility that an enterprise zone will be established in the London borough of Wandsworth and therefore that my constituency will have an enterprise zone. It is clear that there is a desperate need for more jobs in Wandsworth, as in many other parts of inner London. To the extent that financial incentives will bring more jobs to an inner city area, I welcome any scheme to provide more work. The real test is how an enterprise zone creates jobs compared with the existing powers of local authorities and other bodies to create jobs without enterprise zones.

In my constituency the previous Labour-controlled council established at Havelock Terrace a number of small units, which are now thriving. They are examples of what can be done if a local authority provides accommodation and local small businesses take up the available space. That was done under existing powers. It was done by the local authority performing an enabling function.

Traditionally, local authorities are not much good at such activities because they are normally involved in low-risk activities. Encouraging employment is a high-risk activity. To compound that, local authorities have been short of the powers to create the type of employment necessary. I can understand why the Government want to do something to give a boost to creating jobs. If the Government's aim is to provide a good mix of jobs from the skilled to the unskilled, enterprise zones might be successful. However, I doubt whether enterprise zones will be that successful.

I fear that enterprise zones will create relatively few jobs compared with the number that could be created on the same valuable land by other methods. I fear that the emphasis will be on unskilled jobs rather than on the mix of jobs that is desirable and that could be achieved if local authorities had enough power to devise the type of employment opportunities that they have begun to devise in recent years.

The danger is that if local authorities lose control of development, offices, hypermarkets, warehouses and more antisocial developments will emerge, and will be disadvantageous to residents. What happens if there is a proliferation of office development on enterprise zone land? That could increase land values and drive out the opportunities for creating the type of work that will provide the jobs that the inner city areas need.

The Government are taking a risk. Enterprise zones are unlikely to deliver the goods. At least if the amendment were accepted we should leave local authorities with some opportunity to continue to have a useful influence on the type of jobs created.

Mr. Robert Litherland (Manchester, Central)

The debates in Committee and in the Chamber have been about the type of industry that will be attracted to an enterprise zone. Enterprise zones have been referred to as magnets of prosperity, but in whose interest will that prosperity be? Will that prosperity mean a good financial return on capital, or will it bring jobs and security of employment to an area?

Manchester city council, which has agreed to join the Trafford, Salford and Greater Manchester councils in pressing for an enterprise zone, is concerned about the type of industry and enterprise that could have a detrimental, rather than beneficial, effect on the surrounding area. Enterprise zones will need to be judged on the benefits to the local economy and not just on the zone itself.

Manchester city council supported the basic aim of arresting the decline of manufacturing industry in the area. That area, a large industrial complex once known as the workshop of the world, employed about 80,000 workers, many thousands of whom were skilled in various manufacturing processes, not least in engineering. Those days are over, and the loss of those industries and skilled workers has left barren wasteland in the Trafford area.

The idea that an enterprise zone will fill that vacuum is a pipe-dream. Local authorities, even in the current economic climate, and clutching at straws, are sure that enterprise zones are not a panacea. Enterprise zones must be complementary to neighbouring authorities, or there will be conflict.

If hypermarkets are the order of the day, and if retailing is encouraged, that could have a detrimental effect on Manchester. Concern is already being expressed in the city about negotiations between the Manchester Ship Canal Company and the firm Hypermarket Holdings. Manchester, Salford and Trafford councils have warned that if a deal for the lease of 23 acres of land at Broadway, Trafford Road goes through there will be objections from the established retail centres in the adjoining region.

Retail centres will be competing on unfavourable terms with hypermarkets in an enterprise zone. Already within the existing retail centres there is competition for custom. The Arndale centre in Manchester competes with the Longsight centre, which in turn competes with the Moss Side and Wythenshawe centres. New centres are already being planned, and that is wrong because one centre will take custom away from another. One area will vie with another, and the enterprise zone will defeat the purpose for which it was established.

New centres are already being planned within the city boundaries and they will all try to attract retail custom. If hypermarkets are allowed in an enterprise zone, that will have a detrimental effect on existing trade. That is the point that I am trying to make. They will not assist the region one iota. Retailing and warehousing will supply only a limited number of jobs, and they will be mainly for unskilled workers. The surrounding authorities must have a proper and legitimate say in what goes to make up the enterprise zone. Even with manufacturing industry there will be competition between authorities.

Liverpool has been pointed out as having a vast inner city area problem. It enjoys development area status, and there are now proposals for an urban development corporation. The chairman designate of that corporation has said that careful planning is essential and that they must get it right first time. Yet, in the same area, there is a proposal for an enterprise zone that will compete with the urban development corporation and the city council. There could well be conflict between an authority with inner city problems, an urban development corporation calling for careful planning and an enterprise zone offering all its concessions.

Manchester has lost its development area status. It has massive inner city problems, and yet it is proposed to establish an enterprise zone in the adjacent Trafford area. Sandwiched between the two is Warrington new town which, already, has had the effect of creaming off the unskilled workers from the inner city areas. Even with manufacturing industry, there could be conflict between Liverpool, Manchester, Warrington new town and Trafford for limited skilled labour.

11 pm

We must consider what enterprise zones are about. If they do not bring in jobs, they will have failed. If they bring in new privileges for the employers at the expense of workers, they will have failed. If the Government think that enterprise zones will bring back large, skilled manufacturing industries to the North-West, that is nonsense. I have grave reservations about enterprise zones. I feel that they will attract the type of development that will be detrimental, rather than beneficial, to the region. Major new retail development should not be allowed, and consultation with the local authorities is essential.

The Trafford and Salford docks area consists mainly of manufacturing, warehousing, retailing, and related activities. In spite of the decline, it provides about 40,000 jobs, and many of those employees are from the inner city partnership area. Therefore, at present, it is complementary to, rather than in competition with, the Manchester city centre in terms of job opportunities. The Manchester and Salford inner city partnership gives top priority to strengthening the economy of the area. That is one of the reasons why it accepts enterprise zone status, with all its incentives and inducements directly serving the partnership area. But it must be beneficial to the region as a whole, and that is why it views the introduction of major new retail developments with great concern.

Mr. Alton

One can only have a certain sense of déja vu, having been through the same sort of debate earlier when we discussed urban development corporations. Many of the same arguments apply now as applied then—for example, the question of control and duplication between the different agencies that are trying to tackle the problems of the inner cities and the North-West region, to which the hon. Member for Manchester, Central (Mr. Litherland) just referred.

I begin by reminding the House of the words of my right hon. Friend the Member for Orkney and Shetland (Mr. Grimond), who, during the debate on the Finance (No. 2) Bill, said: We approve of this move with considerable reservations and questions."—[Official Report, 4 June 1980; Vol, 985, c. 1456.] One can only feel a certain sense of reservation when looking at the enterprise zone idea. When the Chancellor introduced this idea during his Budget Statement, my right hon. Friend said that we were very pleased that the right hon. and learned Gentleman had that idea, and we hoped that he would have other ideas on other occasions in order to determine what the objectives of the enterprise zones would be. Sadly, during our debates on this Bill those definitions have not been laid out clearly before the House.

I want to draw the attention of the House to the Association of Independent Businesses, which, after all, is not a radical body of Socialists or Liberals—

Mr. Ogden

They are not Tories, for that matter.

Mr. Alton

—or even Tories. It outlines 12 separate reservations, of which there are four key points. First, it said that the objectives should be clarified to permit evaluation of enterprise zones. Clearly, the Bill does not ensure that enterprise zones will be properly evaluated, and we shall not know whether they are doing a reasonable job in the areas for which they have been set up to deal.

Secondly, the association said that reliefs should be available only for new trading developments, and that relocation to an enterprise zone should be prohibited. In other words, people should not be able to move into an enterprise zone once it had been established. Clearly, if that were allowed, it would provide an opportunity for speculators and others to abuse the status that an enterprise zone is presumably there to confer on firms that are having a difficult time.

Thirdly, it says that reliefs should be available only to new firms, or to firms employing fewer than 100 people. Here again, the association is saying that the enterprise zones should be there to help small businesses—a point which the hon. Member for Liverpool, West Derby (Mr. Ogden) made earlier.

Fourthly, the association feels that the enterprise zones should be more extensive than is presently proposed. That is extremely important, because there is a great danger that if the enterprise zones are so small, as has been indicated by the Chancellor and the Minister, it will mean that their purpose will be detracted from by their size. They will not be able to take in the whole scope of urban deprivation in the areas where they are established.

I tried to intervene in the speech of the hon. Member for West Derby to say that it seemed curious that the Government should say that regional grants would not be applied on the basis that they were applied previously but that it would be better to ensure that they went only to the restricted areas where they were needed and where they would de the most good. Yet they are using the converse argument about the establishment of enterprise zones. Precisely the opposite will happen. The establishment of enterprise zones will ensure that some areas have a far greater commercial and competitive advantage than other areas. I shall use the word "deprivation", despite the remarks of the hon. Member for West Derby. Where an enterprise zone is established adjacent to an area of deprivation, the area that includes the enterprise zone will have a distinct advantage over the other area. Inevitably, some businesses will close and move into the enterprise zone area, where they will be rate-free. That takes up the point made by the right hon. and learned Member for Hexham (Mr. Rippon), who is experienced in those matters as a former Secretary of State for the Environment. I am surprised by the disdain shown on the Government Benches for the words of the right hon. and learned Gentleman. On the question of urban development corporations and enterprise zones he made some telling points, yet his words were dismissed as irrelevant by the Government Front Bench.

The Government should take four key points into account before establishing the enterprise zones. First, wherever the boundary of such an area is drawn, there will be those who feel aggrieved that the special advantages enjoyed by others are denied to them. That experiment could accentuate the degree of discrimination felt by those outside the zone. There is a need not only to delineate boundaries with the greatest of care, but to remain constantly aware of the possible adverse effects that the experiment may have on other areas, notably those adjacent to the zones.

Secondly, the enterprise zones are intended to exist for 10 years. Such a time scale demands that rapid decisions are taken once an area has been designated, or the dispensations will not be available to the developers. The consultation paper proposes that the advantages enjoyed by enterprise zones should end immediately on the expiration of the 10-year period. That sharp change could cause severe difficulties for a company only recently established and perhaps existing on the margin of profitability. It would be desirable to have a phased transition from enterprise zone status to current conditions elsewhere. I hope that the Minister will consider that point when he replies.

Thirdly, given the dispensations available in the enterprise zones, it must be accepted that land values would be likely to rise, although the extent and timing of any such rise would obviously vary according to the circumstances. It follows that some of the fiscal and other concessions offered within the zones will benefit existing landlords.

Fourthly, the consultation paper proposes that the relevant local authority or development corporation should draw up a plan for each zone before designation. The speed with which the plans are drawn will be crucial, and the precise elements of each plan will be equally important. Some local authorities may wish to control the types of employment attracted by the new development. They may wish to restrict the size and type of individual new buildings or to exclude certain types of development because of the adverse affect that they may have on areas outside the zones—a point that I tried to make earlier. Such restrictions would negate the whole purpose of the experiment, and would be a considerable disincentive to those trying to bring about development. The extent to which local authorities may feel it necessary to specify reserved matters will no doubt be one of the factors taken into account in the selection of the most suitable site for enterprise zones.

The creation of enterprise zones will be a worthwhile experiment, and one that Liberal Members accept. We believe that the principle is a very good one as long as it is approached in a flexible way and the difficulties are firmly tackled from the outset.

Enterprise zones must not be seen as an end in themselves, nor should they become so autonomous or so unaccountable that local authorities feel threatened by their existence—the point that we were trying to bring out earlier in the debate about urban development corporations. There is already quite sufficient conflict between the county councils and the district councils without creating another incompatible relationship.

Mr. Churchill (Stretford)

I trust that in the course of the debate my right hon. and hon. Friends will have noticed those hon. Members who do not wish to have enterprise zones established in their constituencies and will therefore give added weight to the claims of those who do.

The hon. Member for Manchester, Central (Mr. Litherland) suggested that there would be no panacea solution to the problems of Trafford Park or Manchester through the proposed enterprise zone to be established in Trafford Park and Salford. I would not dissent from him in that. Nobody suggests that enterprise zones are in any way a panacea. But there is every reason to believe that they are an important and exciting experiment which will play a significant part in bringing back industry, enterprise and jobs to the areas that have had established industry over many years and have lost it in the course of time through the operation of industrial and urban policies of successive Governments that in my judgment have been nothing short of disastrous. They have been designed to deny new lifeblood to the industry of the established areas—and new blood for the improvement of old industrial and urban areas—by driving industry out into green field areas, at great expense to the taxpayer.

I am glad that that phase in our national development is over and that it is recognised to have been a wrong policy. I warmly commend the Government for their decision to try to bring new industry and new lifeblood into the older areas.

The hon. Member for Manchester, Central said that in its heyday Trafford Park employed 80,000 men. Today the figure is down to about 40,000. A large number of those jobs were lost in the course of the 1960s. In the course of the 1970s this was largely stabilised but unless there is some new policy such as is provided by the Government there will once again be a new phase of massive redundancies.

Mr. Ogden

The hon. Gentleman is making the speech that he made 15 months ago. All the things that he is saying tonight are the things that he was saying at the hustings 15 months ago, except that then they were to apply to the whole country. Now he is saying that they will apply only to the enterprise zones. There is a contrast between what the Conservative Government promised for the whole country 15 months ago and what they are now saying about the free enterprise zones.

Mr. Churchill

I could not disagree more with the hon. Member. This is an important experiment, which could have applications in relation to even greater experiments by the Government for reducing the planning requirements and the tax burden on industry. But that is in no sense at the expense of the Government's policy, over the period of a Parliament, of reducing the burden of bureaucracy and the burden of taxation, which is really the only way of getting free enterprise and industry working on a large scale in this country once again.

Mr. Cant

I should have thought that the rising decibel level would have discouraged me, Mr. Deputy Speaker, but everything now seems to have gone very quiet. In Committee, I supported the concept of enterprise zones, and I was a lonely voice on the Opposition Benches. As I always seem to make a stronger and stronger bid for unpopularity, I repeat my stance on the matter now.

11.15 pm

Like many of my hon. Friends, I am extremely worried that this concept is a consequence of the fact that the Chancellor of the Exchequer had an idea. That may almost be fatal to the enterprise itself. But I am intrigued by the element of ambivalence that has crept in about the concept. My right hon. and hon. Friends are suggesting that ideologically this is a pernicious idea, which should be suppressed at birth, but looking over their shoulders they think of their constituency interests and they begin to qualify their total opposition. When they go home to their constituencies, they often find that local councils have already been asking the regional offices of the Department of the Environment how they can be put on the list. I have been embarrassed by such an occurrence.

There is an element of uncertainty about the future. My hon. Friends have painted the picture in terms of extremism, rather vivid contrasts, and as stark black and white, but that is not the case. Many of my hon. Friends have also suggested that the fact that planning rules will not be applied will mean a total collapse of standards. They have suggested that the buildings will be substandard. If this scheme gets off the ground the dilution of standards will not be conspicuous, because in these days architects and developers do not build substandard buildings.

We should also consider the roads and the general development of the area. I do not think that the standards will be different from those in a normal estate. My hon. Friend the Member for Preston, South (Mr. Thorne) was concerned about whether the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and the Employment Protection Act 1975 would apply. Of course they will apply, so we have the necessary safeguards there.

The attraction of this concept—I share some of the doubts about the lack of preparation—is that most Labour Members can point to substantial areas of land in their constituencies where it is almost inconceivable that development will ever take off unless something different from the pattern of local authority building takes place.

Mr. Ogden

What will be the difference?

Mr. Cant

Some of the development that has taken place in industrial areas in the past has been dependent on financial incentives offered by local authorities. The great Michelin works, in my constituency, which now employs 8,000 or 10,000 people, was attracted to Stoke-on-Trent by substantial benefits of the type envisaged in this package.

There are difficult problem areas. They are not vast regions of the country; they are in the cities in which we live. If the Government are prepared, with certain conditions, to offer financial incentives, despite the fact that they will produce distortions in the market, I think that for a time—five years or a decade—we should try them. The possibility of gain far outweighs the prospect of disaster.

We sometimes talk about moving money sideways, and so on, but this will be new money. It will enlarge the public sector borrowing requirement and involve the Government in printing money to try to offer a little inducement to get the country going again.

Mr. Fox

It is not for the first time that I follow the hon. Member for Stoke-on-Trent, Central (Mr. Cant). In Committee, there were many such occasions, However, I have never listened to him with as much pleasure as I have done tonight. I am sure that my right hon. and hon. Friends will agree that his is the only sane commentary that we have heard from the Opposition Benches, in the sense that he has responded to the adventurous proposals that we are making. Opposition Members seem to imagine that we are imposing enterprise zones on local authorities. The truth is that they have to make the bids in the first place.

Despite the lukewarm reception by the hon. Member for Edmonton (Mr. Graham) in initiating the debate, strong interest has been shown in our proposals for enterprise zones. Twenty-four district authorities and London boroughs have put in formal proposals. I shall list the authorities concerned: Northern region—Newcastle, Gateshead, North Tyneside, South Tyneside, Sunderland, Hartlepool, Middlesbrough and Stockton-on-Tees; North-Western region—Liverpool, Salford and Trafford; Yorkshire and Humberside—Sheffield and Wakefield; East Midlands—Corby; West Midlands—Wolverhampton and Dudley; London—Islington, Hammersmith, Newham, Tower Hamlets, Hackney and Wandsworth; South-West region—Bristol. Telford development corporation has also put forward a proposal for an enterprise zone within the new town. The chairman designate of the Dockland UDC has said that he would like to see an enterprise zone established in Dockland. We are considering that proposal, together with the application from Tower Hamlets. All these proposals are being considered with a view to making an announcement before the Summer Recess.

Mr. Eldon Griffiths (Bury St. Edmunds)

Has my hon. Friend noticed that virtually all the areas that are to have this considerable benefit are represented by Opposition Members? Has he also noticed that the general tenor of their comments tonight has been that they do not like enterprise zones, that they will not work, but that if there are to be any they want them in their constituencies?

Mr. Fox

The one thing that the localities that I have mentioned have in common is that they all have areas of about 500 acres that will be suitable.

It seems that the hon. Member for Edmonton (Mr. Graham) starts from a different point of view. As I read the amendment—it is not entirely clear—it requires the scheme to specify the criteria or limits applying to any proposed development. Presumably any proposed development that was not caught by one or other of the criteria or limitations would receive planning permission.

We take a different approach. Any development that is not specified in the scheme as having planning permission will not get permission. For example, if scrapyards are not mentioned, scrapyards are not given permission by the scheme. That approach should be simpler to implement and it will provide a necessary failsafe mechanism.

The hon. Members for Edmonton and Bethnal Green and Bow (Mr. Mikardo) asked me about the general planning principles that we would like to see applied in enterprise zones. As we have made clear, any controls needed for health, safety or pollution will continue to apply. Secondly, there may need to be restrictions to protect the environment in other respects—for example, existing residential areas or historic buildings.

With these broad exceptions we want to see the maximum possible freedom given to investors to develop these areas as they consider best. The House will understand that it is not possible to be more specific until we have had detailed discussions with each of the authorities concerned on the planning proposals for each area.

Mr. Dubs

The hon. Gentleman has not mentioned employment protection specifically. Is employment protection legislation to apply in these areas?

Mr. Fox

Of course. I can give the hon. Gentleman that assurance.

In each instance proposals will have to be tailored to meet particular problems in each area. The essence of our approach is clear, namely, that enterprise zones are an experiment in freedom. As the scheme is an experiment, we must accept, as the local authorities concerned will have accepted, that there will be both advantages and disadvantages in the planning relaxation in the enterprise zones. We shall be able to judge the net effect only when the experiment has been tried. It is clear that not every area will be suitable for experimentation. That is why most of the short list of candidates—the sites—are in areas with such serious problems that enterprise zones can scarcely do anything but improve matters. All the authorities have volunteered.

The hon. Member for Liverpool, West Derby (Mr. Ogden) referred to certain existing problems. Designation orders will be required. The orders can be debated in the House. The issues that the hon. Gentleman wishes to be taken into account can be considered fully in that way. The bid from his area does not come from the inner city area that he described.

I listened carefully to the remarks of my right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Hexham (Mr. Rippon). We shall consider his misgivings at a later stage. He is concerned especially about schedule 25. I thank him for his imaginative response and welcome to the proposals despite his misgivings.

It is right that two bids have been submitted from the constituency of the hon. Member for Bethnal Green and Bow. The hon. Gentleman should be thankful. That is an indication that there are some in the constituency who recognise the opportunities rather more than the hon. Gentleman.

Mr. Mikardo

I did not ask the hon. Gentleman whether there were two bids. I told him that there were two bids.

The question that he has signally failed to answer concerns the attitude of the Department when it receives two bids, one from a local authority and another from an urban development corporation.

Mr. Fox

The chairman designate of the London UDC has put in a bid. That will be considered along with the others. That includes the bid from Tower Hamlets.

The purpose of the zones is to test as an experiment on a few sites how far industrial and commercial activity can be encouraged by the removal of fiscal burdens and other measures.

11.30 pm

I am surprised that hon. Gentlemen do not see this as an exciting experiment that can make a contribution, perhaps to regenerating this country. If it succeeds—and we are talking about half a dozen schemes—we ought to give it our blessing and hope that many more zones will be announced in the not-too-distant future.

Mr. Graham

The House has listened to one of the most inadequate responses to a major debate that it has heard for a long time. In view of the Minister's inadequate reply, I have no alternative but to press the amendment to a Division.

Question put, That the amendment be made:—

The House divided: Ayes 234, Noes 284.

Division No. 402] AYES [11.30 pm
Abse, Leo Cocks, Rt Hon Michael (Bristol S) Dunwoody, Mrs Gwyneth
Adams, Allen Cohen, Stanley Eadie, Alex
Allaun, Frank Coleman, Donald Eastham, Ken
Alton, David Concannon, Rt Hon J. D. Ellis, Raymond (NE Derbyshire)
Anderson, Donald Conlan, Bernard Ellis, Tom (Wrexham)
Archer, Rt Hon Peter Cook, Robin F. English, Michael
Ashley, Rt Hon Jack Cowans, Harry Ennals, Rt Hon David
Ashton, Joe Cox, Tom (Wandsworth, Tooting) Evans, Ioan (Aberdare)
Atkinson, Norman (H'gey, Tott'ham) Crowther, J. S. Evans, John (Newton)
Bagier, Gordon A. T. Cryer, Bob Faulds, Andrew
Barnett, Guy (Greenwich) Cunliffe, Lawrence Field, Frank
Barnett, Rt Hon Joel (Heywood) Cunningham, George (Islington S) Flannery, Martin
Benn, Rt Hon Anthony Wedgwood Cunningham, Dr John (Whitehaven) Fletcher, Ted (Darlington)
Bennett, Andrew (Stockport N) Dalyell, Tam Foot, Rt Hon Michael
Bidwell, Sydney Davidson, Arthur Ford, Ben
Booth, Rt Hon Albert Davies, Rt Hon Denzil (Llanelli) Forrester, John
Boothroyd, Miss Betty Davies, Ifor (Gower) Foster, Derek
Bradley, Tom Davis, Clinton (Hackney Central) Foulkes, George
Bray, Dr Jeremy Davis, Terry (B'rm'ham, Stechford) Fraser, John (Lambeth, Norwood)
Brown, Hugh D. (Provan) Deakins, Eric Freeson, Rt Hon Reginald
Brown, Robert C. (Newcastle W) Dempsey, James Garrett, John (Norwich S)
Brown, Ron (Edinburgh, Leith) Dewar, Donald Garrett, W. E. (Wallsend)
Buchan, Norman Dixon, Donald George, Bruce
Callaghan, Jim (Middleton & P) Dobson, Frank Gilbert, Rt Hon Dr John
Campbell, Ian Dormand, Jack Ginsburg, David
Campbell-Savours, Dale Douglas, Dick Gourlay, Harry
Canavan, Dennis Douglas-Mann, Bruce Graham, Ted
Cant, R. [...]. Dubs, Alfred Grant, George (Morpeth)
Carmichael, Neil Duffy, A. E. P. Grant, John (Islington C)
Carter-Jones, Lewis Dunlop, John Hamilton, James (Bothwell)
Cartwright, John Dunn, James A. (Liverpool, Kirkdale) Hamilton, W. W. (Central Fife)
Clark, Dr. David (South Shields) Dunnett, Jack Hardy, Peter
Harrison, Rt Hon Walter Marshall, Dr Edmund (Goole) Sever, John
Hattersley, Rt Hon Roy Marshall, Jim (Leicester South) Shearman, Barry
Haynes, Frank Martin, Michael (Gl'gow, Springb'rn) Sheldon, Rt Hon Robert (A'ton-u-L)
Healey, Rt Hon Denis Mason, Rt Hon Roy Shore, Rt Hon Peter (Step and Pop)
Heffer, Eric S. Maynard, Miss Joan Silkin, Rt Hon John (Deptford)
Hogg, Norman (E Dunbartonshire) Meacher, Michael Silkin, Rt Hon S. C. (Dulwich)
Holland, Stuart (L'beth, Vauxhall) Mellish, Rt Hon Robert Skinner, Dennis
Home Robertson, John Mikardo, Ian Smith, Cyril (Rochdale)
Homewood, William Millan, Rt Hon Bruce Smith, Rt Hon J. (North Lanarkshire)
Hooley, Frank Miller, Dr M. S. (East Kilbride) Snape, Peter
Horam, John Mitchell, Austin (Grimsby) Soley, Clive
Howell, Rt Hon Denis (B'ham, Sm H) Mitchell, R. C. (Soton, Itchen) Spearing, Nigel
Howells, Geraint Morris, Rt Hon Alfred (Wythenshawe) Spriggs, Leslie
Huckfield, Les Morris, Rt Hon Charles (Openshaw) Stallard, A. W.
Hughes, Mark (Durham) Morris, Rt Hon John (Aberavon) Steel, Rt Hon David
Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen North) Morton, George Stoddart, David
Janner, Hon Greville Moyle, Rt Hon Roland Stott, Roger
Jay, Rt Hon Douglas Newens, Stanley Strang, Gavin
John, Brynmor Oakes, Rt Hon Gordon Straw, Jack
Johnson, James (Hull West) Ogden, Eric Summerskill, Hon Dr Shirley
Jones, Rt Hon Alec (Rhondda) O'Halloran, Michael Taylor, Mrs Ann (Bolton West)
Jones, Barry (East Flint) O'Neill, Martin Thomas, Jeffrey (Abertillery)
Jones, Dan (Burnley) Orme, Rt Hon Stanley Thomas, Mike (Newcastle East)
Kaufman, Rt Hon Gerald Owen, Rt Hon Dr David Thomas, Dr Roger (Carmarthen)
Kerr, Russell Parry, Robert Thorne, Stan (Preston South)
Kilroy-Silk, Robert Pavitt, Laurie Tilley, John
Kinnock, Neil Pendry, Tom Tinn, James
Lambie, David Penhaligon, David Torney, Tom
Lamond, James Powell, Raymond (Ogmore) Urwin, Rt Hon Tom
Lester, Miss Joan (Eton & Slough) Prescott, John Varley, Rt Hon Eric G.
Lewis, Arthur (Newham North West) Price, Christopher (Lewisham West) Walker, Rt Hon Harold (Doncaster)
Lewis, Ron (Carlisle) Race, Reg Watkins, David
Litherland, Robert Radice, Giles Weetch, Ken
Lofthouse, Geoffrey Rees, Rt Hon Merlyn (Leeds South) Welsh, Michael
Lyon, Alexander (York) Richardson, Jo White, Frank R. (Bury & Radcliffe)
Lyons, Edward (Bradford West) Roberts, Albert (Normanton) Whitehead, Phillip
McDonald, Dr Oonagh Roberts, Allan (Bootle) Whitlock, William
McElhone, Frank Roberts, Ernest (Hackney North) Williams, Rt Hon Alan (Swansea W)
McKay, Allen (Penistone) Roberts, Gwilym (Cannock) Williams, Sir Thomas (Warrington)
McKelvey, William Robertson, George Winnick, David
MacKenzie, Rt Hon Gregor Rodgers, Rt Hon William Woolmer, Kenneth
Maclennan, Robert Rooker, J. W. Wrigglesworth, Ian
McNally, Thomas Roper, John Young, David (Bolton East)
McNamara, Kevin Ross, Ernest (Dundee West)
McTaggart, Robert Ross, Stephen (Isle of Wight) TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Mcwilliam, John Rowlands, Ted Mr. Joseph Dean and
Magee, Bryan Ryman, John Mr. Hugh McCartney.
Marshall, David (Gl'sgow, Shettles'n)
Adley, Robert Brown, Michael (Brigg & Sc'thorpe) Durant, Tony
Alexander, Richard Browne, John (Winchester) Eden Rt Hon Sir John
Amery, Rt Hon Julian Bruce-Gardyne, John Edwards, Rt Hon N. (Pembroke)
Ancram, Michael Bryan, Sir Paul Eggar, Timothy
Arnold, Tom Buchanan-Smith, Hon Alick Elliott, Sir William
Atkins, Rt Hon H. (Spelthorne) Buck, Antony Emery, Peter
Atkins, Robert (Preston North) Budgen, Nick Eyre, Reginald
Atkinson, David (B'mouth, East) Bulmer, Esmond Fairbairn, Nicholas
Baker, Kenneth (St. Marylebone) Burden, F. A. Fairgrieve, Russell
Baker, Nicholas (North Dorset) Butcher, John Faith, Mrs Sheila
Banks, Robert Butler, Hon Adam Farr, John
Beaumont-Dark, Anthony Carlisle, John (Luton West) Fenner, Mrs Peggy
Bennett, Sir Frederic (Torbay) Carlisle, Kenneth (Lincoln) Finsberg, Geoffrey
Benyon, Thomas (Abingdon) Chalker, Mrs. Lynda Fisher, Sir Nigel
Benyon, W. (Buckingham) Chapman, Sydney Fletcher, Alexander (Edinburgh N)
Berry, Hon Anthony Churchill, W. S. Fletcher-Cooke, Charles
Best, Keith Clark, Hon Alan (Plymouth, Sutton) Fookes, Miss Janet
Bevan, David Gilroy Clark, Sir William (Croydon South) Forman, Nigel
Biffen, Rt Hon John Clarke, Kenneth (Rushcliffe) Fowler, Rt Hon Norman
Biggs-Davison, John Clegg, Sir Walter Fox, Marcus
Blackburn, John Colvin, Michael Fraser, Rt Hon H. (Stafford & St)
Blaker, Peter Cope, John Fraser, Peter (South Angus)
Body, Richard Cormack, Patrick Fry, Peter
Bonsor, Sir Nicholas Corrie, John Galbraith, Hon T. G. D.
Boscawen, Hon Robert Costain, A. P. Gardiner, George (Reigate)
Bottomley, Peter (Woolwich West) Cranborne, Viscount Gardner, Edward (South Fylde)
Bowden, Andrew Critchley, Julian Garel-Jones, Tristan
Boyson, Dr. Rhodes Crouch, David Gilmour, Rt Hon Sir Ian
Braine, Sir Bernard Dickens, Geoffrey Glyn, Dr Alan
Bright, Graham Dorrell, Stephen Goodhart, Philip
Brinton, Tim Douglas-Hamilton, Lord James Goodlad, Alastair
Brittan, Leon Dover, Denshore Grant, Anthony (Harrow C)
Brocklebank-Fowler, Christopher du Cann, Rt Hon Edward Gray, Hamish
Brotherton, Michael Dunn, Robert (Dartford) Greenway, Harry
Grieve, Percy Marland, Paul St. John-Stevas, Rt Hon Norman
Griffiths, Eldon (Bury St Edmunds) Marshall, Michael (Arundel) Scott, Nicholas
Griffiths, Peter (Portsmouth N) Marten, Neil (Banbury) Shaw, Michael (Scarborough)
Grist, Ian Mates, Michael Shelton, William (Streatham)
Grylls, Michael Maude, Rt Hon Angus Shepherd, Colin (Hereford)
Gummer, John Selwyn Mawby, Ray Shepherd, Richard (Aldridge-Br'hills)
Hamilton, Hon Archie (Eps'm&Ew'll) Mawhinney, Dr Brian Shersby, Michael
Hamilton, Michael (Salisbury) Maxwell-Hyslop, Robin Silvester, Fred
Hampson, Dr Keith Mayhew, Patrick Sims, Roger
Hannam, John Meyer, Sir Anthony Speed, Keith
Haselhurst, Alan Mills, Iain (Meriden) Spence, John
Havers, Rt Hon Sir Michael Mills, Peter (West Devon) Spicer, Jim (West Dorset)
Hawkins, Paul Miscampbell, Norman Spicer, Michael (S Worcestershire)
Hawksley, Warren Mitchell, David (Basingstoke) Sproat, Iain
Hayhoe, Barney Moate, Roger Squire, Robin
Heddle, John Monro, Hector Stainton, Keith
Henderson, Barry Montgomery, Fergus Stanbrook, Ivor
Heseltine, Rt Hon Michael Moore, John Stanley, John
Hicks, Robert Morris, Michael (Northampton, Sth) Steen, Anthony
Higgins, Rt Hon Terence L. Morrison, Hon Charles (Devizes) Stevens, Martin
Hogg, Hon Douglas (Grantham) Morrison, Hon Peter (City of Chester) Stewart, Ian (Hitchin)
Holland, Philip (Carlton) Mudd, David Stewart, John (East Renfrewshire)
Hooson, Tom Murphy, Christopher Stokes, John
Hordern, Peter Myles, David Stradling Thomas, J.
Howell, Rt Hon David (Guildford) Neale, Gerrard Tapsell, Peter
Howell, Ralph (North Norfolk) Needham, Richard Taylor, Robert (Croydon NW)
Hunt, David (Wirral) Nelson, Anthony Taylor, Teddy (Southend East)
Hunt, John (Ravensbourne) Neubert, Michael Tebbit, Norman
Irving, Charles (Cheltenham) Newton, Tony Temple-Morris, Peter
Jenkin, Rt Hon Patrick Normanton, Tom Thomas, Rt Hon. Peter (Hendon S)
Jessel, Toby Nott, Rt Hon John Thornton, Malcolm
Johnson Smith, Geoffrey Onslow, Cranley Townsend, Cyril D. (Bexteyheath)
Jopling, Rt Hon Michael Oppenheim, Rt Hon Mrs Sally Trippier, David
Joseph, Rt Hon Sir Keith Page, John (Harrow, West) Trotter, Neville
Kershaw, Anthony Page, Rt Hon Sir R. Graham van-Straubenzee, W. R.
Kimball, Marcus Page, Richard (SW Hertfordshire) vaughan, Dr Gerard
King, Rt Hon Tom Parkinson, Cecil Viggers, Peter
Kitson, Sir Timothy Parris, Matthew Waddington, David
Knight, Mrs Jiil Patten, Christopher (Bath) Wakeham, John
Knox, David Patten, John (Oxford) Waldegrave, Hon William
Lamont, Norman Pattie, Geoffrey Walker, Bill (Perth & E Perthshire)
Lang, Ian Pawsey, James Wall, Patrick
Langford-Holt, Sir John Pink, R. Bonner Waller, Gary
Latham, Michael Pollock, Alexander Walters, Dennis
Lawrence, Ivan Porter, George Ward, John
Lawson, Nigel Price, David (Eastleigh) Warren, Kenneth
Lee, John Prior, Rt Hon James Wells, John (Maidstone)
Le Marchant, Spencer Proctor, K. Harvey Wells, Bowen (Hert'rd & Stev'nage)
Lennox-Boyd, Hon Mark Raison, Timothy Wheeler, John
Lester, Jim (Beeston) Rathbone, Tim Whitelaw, Rt Hon William
Lewis, Kenneth (Rutland) Rees-Davies, W. R. Whitney, Raymond
Lloyd, Peter (Fareham) Renton, Tim Wickenden, Keith
Loveridge, John Rhodes James, Robert Wiggin, Jerry
Luce, Richard Rhys Williams, Sir Brandon Wilkinson, John
Lyell, Nicholas Ridley, Hon Nicholas Williams, Delwyn (Montgomery)
Macfarlane, Neil Ridsdale, Julian Winterton, Nicholas
MacGregor, John Rifkind, Malcolm Wolfson, Mark
MacKay, John (Argyll) Rippon, Rt Hon Geoffrey Young, Sir George (Acton)
McNair-Wilson, Michael (Newbury) Roberts, Michael (Cardiff NW)
McNair-Wilson, Patrick (New Forest) Roberts, Wyn (Conway) TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Major, John Royle, Sir Anthony Mr. Carol Mather and
Sainsbury, Hon Timothy Mr. Peter Brooke.

Question accordingly negatived.

Amendments made:

No. 252, in page 210, line 25, leave out paragraph (a) and insert—

'(a) that—

  1. (i) if the area for which the scheme is to be prepared is within Greater London, adequate publicity is given to its provisions in Greater London;
  2. (ii) if the area for which the scheme is to be prepared is in England or Wales but outside Greater London, adequate publicity is given to its provisions in the county in which the area is situated; and
  3. (iii) if the area for which the scheme is to be prepared is in Scotland, adequate

publicity is given to its provisions in the region in which the area is situated; and

(aa) that adequate publicity is also given to the provisions of the scheme in any area specified under paragraph 1(5A) above;'.

No. 253, in page 210, line 29, leave out 'people' and insert 'persons'.

No. 254, in page 210, line 32, leave out 'people' and insert 'persons'.—[Mr. Heseltine.]

Mr. King

I beg to move amendment No. 255, in page 211, line 1, at end insert ', subject to sub-paragraph (2) below,'.

Mr. Deputy Speaker (Mr. Bernard Weatherill)

With this we may take Government amendment No. 256.

Mr. King

The amendments are clear and self-explanatory, and I commend them to the House.

Amendment agreed to.

Amendment made:

No. 256, in page 211, line 3, at end insert— '(2A) A scheme may not be modified in any way inconsistent with the Secretary of State's invitation under paragraph 1 above.'.—[Mr. Heseltine.]

Mr. Spearing

I beg to move amendment No. 257, in page 212, line 41, at end insert: '(e) approve the scheme adopted by the body concerned and define by means of plan or map any areas with the zone specified by the scheme.'. 11.45 pm

It may surprise Conservative Members to learn that nowhere in the Bill is it stated that the Secretary of State has to approve the plan for an enterprise zone. The Government's handling of the matter has been irresponsible. This 33-paragraph schedule makes it possible for the Secretary of State virtually to require a local authority to reduce its planning standards to the degree that he finds acceptable and then, by a series of convoluted procedures, to require it to provide him with a scheme. Hon. Gentlemen who appear not to be interested should lend an ear. One day they may find themselves approached by constituents who are enraged that the Government have driven through, late at night and without proper debate, a scheme to the detriment of the country.

The procedure is not conducted by bidding. The Minister implied that there were bids from two people in East London. That is not so. In Committee we moved amendments to enable local authorities to apply. Those amendments were rejected. It is not a question of local authorities making bids. The Secretary of State invites a limited number of authorities to put in a scheme for an enterprise zone. He has advertised the scheme to many more authorities than those that can gain acceptance. Those authorities then have to prepare a scheme, and the local authority has to adopt it. The scheme is then sent to the Secretary of State, who designates the area as an enterprise zone.

Nowhere in the Bill is it stated that the Secretary of State has to approve the scheme. The local authority, on which the Secretary of State will have been putting great pressure, carries the can. The amendment will make it clear that at the time of designation the Secretary of State must: approve the scheme adopted by the body concerned and define by means of plan or map any areas within the zone specified by the scheme" After the body concerned has adopted the scheme and sent it to the Secretary of State, he has to approve it. Unless he does, he cannot be held responsible for what goes on. Any hon. Member with an enterprise zone in his constituency could make a complaint or representation. As the Bill is drafted, the Secretary of State can reply that the local authority applied for the scheme and he only gave permission. Nowhere in the Bill does the Secretary of State take responsibility for the scheme. The amendment would make him accountable to the House for having approved it. That will be to the benefit of local authorities, hon. Members and, ultimately, the reputation of any Secretary of State who makes such a designation order.

Mr. Fox

It is not clear what the amendment is designed to achieve. An enterprise zone can be designated only on the basis of a scheme adopted by a local authority or development corporation. After designation, development that accords with the scheme has planning permission under part III of the schedule. It is therefore unnecessary for orders specifically to approve the scheme.

I think that I understand the hon. Gentleman's anxieties, but it is important to stress that it is not possible for the Secretary of State to require an enterprise zone authority to modify the enterprise zone scheme. He can invite it to do so, but there is no obligation on the authority to take up that invitation. If it chooses to ignore it, there is no sanction or reserve power available to the Secretary of State.

Mr. Spearing

The Under-Secretary's reply is unconvincing. There is clearly a duty on the Minister and the House to take responsibility for any zone. The Minister refuses to do that and, therefore, I shall not withdraw my amendment.

Amendment negatived.

Mr. King

I beg to move amendment No. 259, in page 218, line 33 leave out 'the structure plan for the area' and insert 'any structure plan for their area or for part of it which relates to the whole or part of the zone'.

Mr. Deputy Speaker

With this we may take Government amendments Nos. 260 to 264.

Mr. King

The first three amendments apply to England and Wales, and the second three to Scotland. They deal with the responsibility of local authorities to amend structure and local plans if an enterprise zone is designated in their areas.

Amendment agreed to.

Amendments made: No. 260, in page 218, line 40, leave out from beginning to 'which' in line 41 and insert— '(1A) A county planning authority shall submit to the Secretary of State proposals for any alterations to a structure plan which they consider necessary to take account of the scheme or the modified scheme. (1B) A local planning authority shall make proposals for any alterations to such a local plan as is mentioned in sub-paragraph (1)(b) above'.

No. 261, in page 218, line 43, at end add 'or for the repeal or replacement of any of those plans whose repeal or replacement they consider necessary for that purpose'.

No. 262, in page 219, line 6, leave out 'the structure plan for the area' and insert 'any structure plan for their area or for part of it which relates to the whole or part of the zone'.

No. 263, in page 219, line 13, leave out from beginning to 'which' in line 14 and insert— (1A) A planning authority exercising regional planning functions shall submit to the Secretary of State proposals for any alterations to a structure plan which they consider necessary to take account of the scheme or the modified scheme. 1B) A planning authority exercising district planning functions shall make proposals for any alterations to such a local plan as is mentioned in sub-paragraph (1)(b) above.'.

No. 264, in page 219, line 15, at end add 'or for the repeal or replacement of any of those plans whose repeal or replacement they consider necessary for that purpose '.—[Mr. King.]

Mr. King

I beg to move amendment No. 269, in page 221, line 29, at end add— '30A. In section 1(2) of the Local Government Act 1974 (amount available for grants to local authorities) after the words "or section 56 of the Local Government, Planning and Land Act 1980" (inserted by section 56(3) above), in each place where they occur, there shall be inserted the words "or paragraph 29 of Schedule 25 to that Act".'. The amendment makes it clear that grants in respect of rate exemptions for enterprise zones will be additional to rate support grant. The point was raised by the right hon. Member for Birmingham, Sparkbrook (Mr. Hattersley). I am glad to confirm it, and I believe that the amendment will have the support of the House.

Amendment agreed to.

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