§ 2.49 p.m.
§ LORD JACQUES
My Lords, I beg to move that the Regional Employment Premium (Variation of Amounts) Order 1974, a draft of which was laid before this House on July 22, be approved. I have no doubt that this matter will be covered in the main debate. Therefore I will be as brief as possible.
This Order gives effect to the decision announced in the Chancellor's Statement on Monday, July 22, that the rates of regional employment premium would be doubled. The Order is made under Section 26(5) of the Finance Act 1967 which empowers the Treasury to vary the rates of premium set out in Section 26(1). The objective is to give a boost to employment and output in the development areas where help is most needed and to bring into use productive resources of labour that would otherwise be idle. The effect is to restore the real value of the premium as it was in 1967. In 1967 the premium was 7 per cent. of labour costs; 2148 it is now a little over 3 per cent., and by doubling it the premium will be approximately 7 per cent.
I think that it will be widely agreed that we need to do everything we can to improve the position in the development areas. I expect the doubling of the premium to be welcomed by both sides of industry and I hope that this Draft will receive a ready welcome in this House.
§ On Question, Motion agreed to.