HC Deb 28 October 1987 vol 121 cc287-8
6. Mr. Beith

asked the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster whether he has any plans for further measures to attract industry to the Alnwick and Amble areas.

Mr. Atkins

We are always prepared to encourage industry to invest in various parts of the United Kingdom, and Alnwick and Amble is no exception.

Mr. Beith

If that is so, why does it remain an exception to the Government's development aid? Bearing in mind that the area has consistently higher levels of unemployment than many assisted areas, does the Minister realise that there will be disappointment in the area as he has nothing new to announce following the deputation that he received? Will he agree to visit the area soon to see how we are trying to help ourselves and how we are being prevented from doing that by discriminatory aids in other places?

Mr. Atkins

The hon. Gentleman came to see me, and I also received a delegation from Northumberland recently, and the case was made very cogently. The hon. Gentleman will be aware that I said to him, as I said to the delegation, that we are not minded at this stage to change the map, which took a long time to create and which we believe is in the interests of long-term investment and should be maintained as it is for a time. I am always delighted to receive invitations from hon. Members on both sides of the House to visit constituencies, and I was particularly delighted to receive an invitation to visit such an attractive part of the country as that represented by the hon. Member for Berwick-upon-Tweed (Mr. Beith).