HC Deb 04 June 1980 vol 985 cc1395-6
2. Mr. Knox

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment when he expects to complete his consideration of the report of the review group on the Development Commission and its associated organisation, the Council for Small Industries in Rural Areas.

The Secretary of State for the Environment (Mr. Michael Heseltine)

I hope to complete my consideration very shortly.

Mr. Knox

Is my right hon. Friend aware that the Development Commission and the Council for Small Industries in Rural Areas have done excellent work in my constituency, by supporting small businesses and private enterprise? Will he give an assurance that the activities of those bodies will not be curtailed when the review has been completed?

Mr. Heseltine

I think that my hon. Friend will be as pleased as I am that I am able to confirm the statement made by my right hon. Friend the Minister for Local Government and Environmental Services. The purpose of such organisations is well understood and their continuation is assured. We are reviewing the way in which they function and the methods of their work. We hope to reach conclusions shortly.

Mr. Beith

May we take it that the sensible appointment of my constituent, Mr. Nigel Vinson, as the new chairman of the Development Commission is a sign that the Government wish to remove the shadow of uncertainty that has hung over the commission while the review has been in progress? Is it a sign that the Government are prepared to commit themselves to continuing that excellent work?

Mr. Heseltine

I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman and welcome his support. When Mr. Nigel Vinson—who is an admirable choice—was appointed to the task of chairing that organisation, the fact that he was a constiuent of the hon. Gentleman was not considered a qualification.

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