HL Deb 30 October 1975 vol 365 cc698-700

[No. 1]

Clause 1, page 2, line 2, at end insert— ("(bb) to carry on industrial undertakings and to establish and carry on new industrial undertakings;").


My Lords, I beg to move that this House doth agree with the Commons in their Amendment No. 1. At the same time, I should like to speak to Amendment No. 51. It was made perfectly clear that the Government were pledged to reinstate in the Bill the Agency's function: to carry on industrial undertakings and to establish and carry on new industrial undertakings". The other Amendment, Amendment No. 51, is consequential. I beg to move.

Moved, That this House doth agree with the Commons in the said Amendment.—(Lord Lovell-Davis.)


My Lords, this is a similar point to the one which we were dealing with earlier today on the other Development Agency Bill. There is a difference of view between the two sides of the House about what is the best way of promoting the health and vigour of British industry and, in this case, industry in Wales. We believe that this is not the best way of doing it, that to give an agency the power to carry on industrial undertakings and establish new ones, in competition with private industry, could be counter-productive in its effect. We recognise that this is a basic difference of view on method and that our aims are the same—to try to promote a healthy, vigorous and competitive industry. I would not suggest to my noble friends that we should insist on your Lordships' Amendment, but I wanted to make clear that we have this divergence in opinion.


My Lords, may I congratulate the noble Lord, Lord Campbell of Croy, on the ease with which he moves from Scottish affairs to Welsh affairs? If it helps the noble Lord, Lord Lovell-Davis, may I say on behalf of the Welsh Liberals that I do not propose to raise any points in relation to these Amendments. We welcome the Bill as such, and I hope that statement will be of assistance. I shall watch with care the reference to one clause in the Bill where I noticed during the course of Lord Campbell of Croy's reference to the difference in the length of clauses, there was a racialist reference to a certain amount of illiteracy in Wales; but I am sure the noble Lord is making no point about that.


My Lords, I am grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Lloyd of Kilgerran, and I am glad to know I shall have his support. I hope I can satisfy him and the noble Lord, Lord Campbell of Croy, when we come to this other matter. I fully accept what the noble Lord, Lord Campbell of Croy, said; there is a difference of view. We on this side believe one answer to the problems which face us is to recognise that the Government can, and should, become a partner in industry. In Wales, the Agency will be able to provide new jobs, particularly in areas of high unemployment. It is therefore of fundamental importance that the Agency should be able to act not only through joint ventures with private industry, but by themselves establishing new companies.

On Question, Motion agreed to.