HL Deb 19 May 1966 vol 274 cc1081-2

3.6 p.m.


My Lords, I beg leave to ask the Question which stands in my name on the Order Paper.

[The Question was as follows:

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether it is their intention that credit restrictions for development should apply in the development areas in the same way as in other parts of the country, in particular where the development proposed is for manufacturing and housing.]


My Lords, the Governor of the Bank of England has provided some guidance to the lending institutions which asks them to pay full regard to the aims of Her Majesty's Government on regional development. The guidance also asks for the highest priority to be given to credit facilities for exports and for productive investment in manufacturing industry.


My Lords, while thanking the noble Lord for that reply, may I ask whether there is to be any difference at all between the development areas and other parts of the county; that is to say, is there to be any priority at all given for manufacturing in a development area over that in another part of the country?


My Lords, as I said in my original Answer, the lending institutions were asked to have special regard to the aims of Her Majesty's Government in regional development. To the best of my knowledge the institutions are carrying out that request. The noble Lord may be interested to know that during the twelve months to mid-February, 1966, bank advances to the manufacturing industry rose by £250 million; but they fell by £70 million for what we have regarded as the less essential borrowers. Unfortunately, there are no details as between regional areas and the rest of the country, but all the indications are that the banks are paying special regard to the need for regional development.


My Lords, could the noble Lord tell us whether agriculture is included in the list of industries to whom favourable consideration should be given as import savers?


My Lords, I could not answer specifically so far as the institutions providing lending facilities are concerned. But the noble Earl will no doubt be aware of the considerable support that the Exchequer is giving to agriculture, and also of the new Agriculture Bill which will shortly be introduced in another place.


My Lords, from the first answer which the noble Lord gave, suggesting there will be ample credit in development areas, is it to be understood that this applies also to any requirements of the municipal and other public authorities with regard to housing? Because it is believed, and it is apparently the case, that in some development areas the development of factories is running ahead of that of housing facilities. May I ask for an assurance that there will be no difficulty in that line?


My Lords, I do not think that in my original Answer I said there would be ample facilities. The term "ample" is, I supose, a rather wide one. In regard to house building, in the requests regarding lending that we made to the institutions we asked that they should not be pressed upon those who require loans in buying owner-occupied houses. But we asked that there should be a restriction on finance for building and property development even within the regions.

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