HC Deb 09 February 1981 vol 998 cc584-5
3. Mr. Sheerman

asked the Secretary of State for Industry why the English Industrial Estates Corporation's advance factory building programme for West Yorkshire is withdrawing funds from areas losing assisted area status approximately 18 months before the Government's decision is due to take effect.

The Under-Secretary of State for Industry (Mr. John MacGregor)

To conform with the Government's policy of concentrating regional assistance in the areas where it is most needed.

Mr. Sheerman

Is the Minister aware that his right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Industry not only promised delegations from West Yorkshire that West Yorkshire's intermediate status would be reviewed but assured them that the application of this Act would not take place until July 1982? Is not this activity by the English Industrial Estates Corporation reneging on a promise by the Minister?

Mr. MacGregor

I know that my right hon. Friend is to meet a deputation shortly. I ought to make it clear that we are spending more Government money and that there is a lot of private money coming in, so that the English Industrial Estates Corporation now has the largest programme of industrial investment that it has ever carried through. Nevertheless, there is still not enough money to build factories in every part of the assisted areas. In the past, many places in assisted areas have not received advance factories from the corporation. In the coming programme, only 34 of the 60 assisted areas which will keep that status after 1982 are being included.