HC Deb 19 June 1996 vol 279 c860
5. Mr. Campbell-Savours

To ask the President of the Board of Trade when he next intends to visit Maryport to discuss matters relating to industrial development. [32111]

The Minister for Competition and Consumer Affairs (Mr. John M. Taylor)

Although I have no immediate plans to visit Maryport, I have made regular visits to the north-west since becoming a DTI Minister and I am well aware of the issues in Maryport.

Mr. Campbell-Savours

Will the Minister ask the Secretary of State, who is sitting next to him, whether he is prepared to call in on Maryport, which is in my constituency, in the next few weeks on his way home to his own constituency in the Borders? The visit would give him the opportunity to discuss with Maryport town councillors the escalating difficulties of the town. It would also give him the opportunity to explain why we cannot have back the development area status that we lost some years ago, a loss which is now costing us dearly.

Mr. Taylor

The hon. Gentleman can take some comfort from the fact that unemployment in his constituency is now falling by 8 per cent. He will remember debating these issues with me in an Adjournment debate on 4 March. I remind him that Maryport is an assisted area, and any investment proposals that create or safeguard jobs will be considered for support. West Cumbria is also an objective 2 area and eligible for European funding for business support measures, training and reskilling.