HC Deb 16 December 1985 vol 89 c11
16. Mr. Boyes

asked the Secretary of State for Energy if he will make a statement on his monitoring of the funds available to National Coal Board (Enterprise) Limited.

Mr. Peter Walker

The Government will continue to monitor closely the funds available to NCB (Enterprise). By the end of November £4.4 million had been committed in support of 222 projects, and £600,000 had been committed to help more than 40 enterprise agencies to start up or to expand.

Mr. Boyes

Does the right hon. Gentleman approve of money from NCB (Enterprise) Ltd. being used to study why industry does or does not go to former coal mining areas? If infrastructure problems were found, for example, would the right hon. Gentleman approve of road links with motorways being developed by NCB (Enterprise) money so that industries could see former mining villages as more attractive places in which to invest?

Mr. Walker

I understand that point. Obviously, expenditure on a road link would come from the designated programme of local authority and Government expenditure. There is nothing to stop NCB (Enterprise) Ltd. putting the importance of that development to those authorities. I know from my experience in the 1970s of the enormous benefit that was brought to the north-east by improvements in road communications.

Mr. Haynes

Why does the Secretary of State keep bragging at the Dispatch Box about the amount of money available for NCB (Enterprise) Ltd. with respect to pit closures? Is he aware that in my area, where there have been a number of pit closures, the people think that the right hon. Gentleman put the money in the safe, locked it up and purposely lost the key?

Mr. Walker

I am sorry that the Opposition are not delighted that, unlike what happened during the closures made by the Labour Government, a great deal of activity is now taking place.

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