§ 1. Mr. McNally
asked the Secretary of State for Trade what representations he has received concerning the siting of the European Economic Commission trade mark office in Greater Manchester.
§ The Under-Secretary of State for Trade (Mr. Reginald Eyre)
The Manchester chamber of commerce and industry, supported by the Manchester city council and other local interests, has written to urge that Manchester should be offered as the site for the proposed Community trade mark office. I have also had the opportunity of meeting representatives of the Manchester chamber at which all aspects of this question were discussed. While I understand the concern to aid a regional centre, it must be remembered that there are strong counter-proposals from the Continent. If we are to succeed in our efforts to bring this office to the United Kingdom, we must offer our strongest contender. In my view, this remains London.
§ Mr. McNally
Is the Minister seriously suggesting that Manchester, with its historic links with this subject and its magnificant communications network, cannot compete with The Hague and Strasbourg in this matter? Is he aware that in Greater Manchester two sites are on offer—in the city of Manchester and in Stockport? Is he further aware that, once again, the North-West feels that the Government are not really serious about regional policy?
§ Mr. Charles R. Morris
Will the Minister explain why Britain has signally failed in putting forward regional centres for EEC institutions?
§ Mr. Eyre
With respect, that is not entirely correct. The bid for the Patent Office was rather late, but it was inevitable that it would be decided against us. That makes it the more important that we should succeed in attracting the trade mark office. London is the centre for trade mark work in the United Kingdom, and one of the world's foremost industrial property centres.
§ Sir Anthony Meyer
Since the United Kingdom has nothing like its fair share of EEC offices, is not our claim so strong that we could both demand to have the office here and meet the claims of regional policy?
§ Mr. McNally
On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. In view of the totally unsatisfactory nature of the reply, I wish to give notice that I shall seek to raise the matter on the Adjournment at the earliest opportunity.