HL Deb 20 July 1978 vol 395 cc514-30

7.10 p.m.

The MINISTER of STATE, NORTHERN IRELAND OFFICE (Lord Melchett)rose to move, That the draft Appropriation (No. 2) (Northern Ireland) Order 1978, laid before the House on 19th May, be approved. The noble Lord said: My Lords, the Vote on Account was appropriated in March this year, and this order will appropriate the balance of the 1978–79 main Estimates. The order also appropriates certain sums arising out of excess Votes for the financial year 1976–77. The total of the main Estimates provision, including the sum already voted on account, is £1,299 million, compared with a total Estimates provision, including Supplementaries, of £1,318 million in 1977–78. Details of the provisions sought are set out in the main Estimates volume, copies of which are available in the Library.

The largest increase over 1977–78 is £24 million for family benefits. This is a result of the higher rates of child benefit which came into effect on 3rd April 1978. An extra £8 million is required for housing services, mainly because of increases in the Northern Ireland Housing Executive grant and increases in the Executive's expenditure on renovation of private sector houses. I am glad to say that an extra £4 million is to be made available to housing associations, in the expectation that their activity is on the increase.

The largest decrease is in expenditure on the agricultural assistance scheme. The fact that the meat industry employment scheme is only provided for up to the end of June explains the reduction, but, of course, the Government recently announced that this scheme will continue until March 1979, and provision for this is being made in the Appropriation (No. 3) Order that I will be moving formally after this order. The Appropriation (No. 3) Order simply makes provision to enable the meat industry employment scheme to be continued until 31st March 1979 when its future will again be considered in the light of circumstances at the time and makes a token provision for the payment of a subsidy to milk producers until 31st March 1979.

There were excess Votes of £l million on two Votes of the 1976–77 Northern Ireland Estimates. Details of these and of the reasons for them are set out in the statement of excesses, copies of which have been placed in the Library. The excess Votes have been considered by the Public Accounts Committee, which has recommended that the necessary sums be made available.

The provision in this order will ensure that existing services are continued at a similar level to last year, and will allow work on tackling the major social and economic problems facing Northern Ireland to continue. I beg to move.

Moved, That the draft Appropriation (No. 2) (Northern Ireland) Order 1978, laid before the House on 19th May, be approved.—(Lord Melchett.)


My Lords, I should like to thank the noble Lord for explaining the effects of the Appropriation (No. 2) Order, together with which the noble Lord will be moving the Appropriation (No. 3) Order. The meat industry employment scheme to which the noble Lord referred has in the past been the subject of some discussion on these Appropriation orders. We on these Benches have always supported the continuation of that scheme while the need for it continues. I am bound, however, to repeat what I have said on previous occasions: that I believe that the need for that scheme would be very greatly lessened if only the Government could be persuaded to use their negotiating powers in the EEC with more persuasion so that the value of the green pound in the United Kingdom is fixed at a more realistic level. As things are, however, I accept the need for the meat scheme and also for the milk scheme. Accordingly, I support the passage of both the No. 2 and the No. 3 Appropriation Orders.

I believe that other noble Lords who are here this evening may wish to speak—particularly at a moment when it is a matter which is very much in all of our minds—about the employment situation in Northern Ireland. For my own part, I should like to concentrate only on Class VIII of the order, which includes an appropriation of over £57 million for expenditure on schools. I should like to know whether any proportion of that sum is earmarked specifically for secondary reorganisation.

May I make it absolutely clear that, as in Great Britain, the Government's policy of trying to introduce a universal comprehensive system is highly controversial and, if I may say so, understandably so, because both the grammar schools and the intermediate schools in Northern Ireland have a very fine record indeed. The fact of the matter is that the Association of Local Authorities has voted against the policy of introducing a universal comprehensive system, the Ulster Parents' Union—which has rapidly increased its membership to some 26,000—is opposed to it, and the Northern Ireland Governing Bodies Association has made clear its opposition. But in each case this opposition is both reasoned and reasonable.

May I also make clear the position of the Parliamentary Opposition. We are always ready to consider changes in the organisation of secondary schools, provided that those changes make educational and economic sense, and provided also that they have the support of the general public, particularly the support of parents. We reject the imposition, against parental wishes, of a blanket, universal system of reorganisation.

Because it is clear that such a policy does not command parental support in Northern Ireland, I think that it is reasonable for me to ask to what purposes are the appropriations for school building under Class VIII to be put. May I ask whether any of the money is destined for building comprehensive schools? Some good comprehensives are already working in Northern Ireland within the education system.

As I have tried to make clear, provided that proposals for further reorganisation have parental support on both educational and economic grounds, then clearly more all-ability schools will be built. However, I am now asking whether the statutory processes needed in order to establish a new comprehensive school, or to change the character of an existing school to make it into an all-ability school, have been carried out in respect of any part of the £57 million which may be appropriated under Class VIII for the building of comprehensive schools.

There is one further question that I should like to put to the Minister. I should like to ask him whether recurrent expenditure for schools—presumably this falls within another sum, namely £74 million which is also appropriated under Class VIII—is to be paid out in order to meet basic needs, or whether it is designed to improve staffing ratios and not to influence secondary reorganisation. May I explain what I mean. I understand that this year each Northern Ireland grammar school has been allocated a quota of places which they can offer, and in some cases I understand that the quota is less than the school's capacity. Does this mean that extra recurrent expenditure and possibly some extra capital expenditure is being appropriated in order to provide for extra basic needs at the intermediate schools because grammar school places are deliberately being kept unfilled?

I am asking these questions because I think that it is essential to clarify the relationship between the statutory position, so far as establishing new schools is concerned, and the power of Government to allocate resources for the building and the running of them. May I therefore ask the noble Lord, Lord Melchett, to confirm in his reply that Government policy on secondary reorganisation in Northern Ireland can be carried through only on a voluntary basis and only when the agreement of area boards is secured, that this will include the approval of parents and that resources will be allocated for reorganisational purposes only when those processes have been fulfilled.

7.20 p.m.


My Lords, I, too, should like to thank the noble Lord, Lord Melchett, for his explanations. Perhaps I may concentrate on just two points from this order. First, the problem of unemployment is particularly serious in Northern Ireland, where frustration can do nothing but harm in the present emergency. Men and women who are in employment are much more likely to be good citizens than are their fellows who are out of work. Therefore I should like to ask the noble Lord, Lord Melchett, whether he is satisfied that all reasonable steps are being taken in the fight against unemployment.

My second point to some extent follows what has been said by the noble Lord, Lord Belstead. Criticism has been levelled at the Government for the sum which they have appropriated towards the spread of comprehensive education in Northern Ireland. All the old arguments have been raised once again, including what I believe to be the fallacy that the old system offers parents a larger choice of schools for their young. One cannot go over the whole comprehensive argument yet again. A fortnight ago, in response to a question of mine, the noble Lord told the House that a substantial majority of parents favoured going comprehensive. I accept that the noble Lord is probably right; but there is a considerable body of opinion which challenges that view—and we have heard something of that from the noble Lord, Lord Belstead.

There is a claim that Northern Ireland views things differently from the rest of the United Kingdom and perhaps we should look forward to Stormont once again settling its own problems, although that cannot be just yet. We support this order in general, with the hope that comprehensive education will help and not hinder the vitally important spread of integrated education.

7.22 p.m.


My Lords, I too welcome this order. It is vast order which covers the whole field of Government in Northern Ireland during the year. It really merits a long and detailed debate, but the problems of direct rule really prevent a detailed examination in this place of the appropriation order.

What this order shows clearly is the very high level of Government expenditure in Northern Ireland. This must be demonstrated clearly again and again, because without this level of expenditure the whole economy and structure of Northern Ireland would disintegrate under the threat of the IRA. The prime aim of the IRA is to destroy the economy and the very basis of the community. The level of Government expenditure which has been pumped into the country is such that it has prevented that, and for that the people of Northern Ireland are duly grateful.

I have spoken on a number of occasions about the strain which is placed on the Members of the Northern Ireland Government and the Secretary of State, and I should like to re-emphasise the tremendous efforts that they make under very difficult circumstances. If I may say so, the noble Lord himself works extremely hard; but his colleagues in the Commons have an even harder life, and I do not believe that people in the other place appreciate exactly the strains that are placed on the Ministers and their families. In saying this, direct rule is a pretty inhuman operation: so much is accountable in Westminster, so little is accountable in Northern Ireland. By their efforts the Ministers have done their best to humanise a pretty inhuman institution.

I am glad to observe in various debates and statements that an effort is being made to fill what I call "the McCrory Gap"; that is, to transfer back to local authorities those powers which are suitable to be transferred back. I should like to congratulate the Secretary of State or his Minister of State on his latest coup in getting General Motors to go to Northern Ireland. We congratulate him on that. They had to present a really sincere case in the United States in order to achieve that end. In passing, may I say that to get General Motors to Northern Ireland has been one of the most expensive bits of inducement—if that is the right word. About £10,000 a job was the figure which has been worked out by some economists. We cannot ask for all the details, but I should like to feel that since it involved such lavish expenditure there were some undertakings from General Motors that they would give value for money. Perhaps the noble Lord could make inquiries into that and let me know another time.

I said that the appropriation order shows the very high level of Government expenditure that is necessary and will have to continue in order to prevent the breakdown of society in Northern Ireland. Without any doubt it shows the value of the place of Northern Ireland within the United Kingdom; but it does expose Northern Ireland to a great deal of criticism in that Northern Ireland is separately accounted for and people are inclined to compare Northern Ireland Government expenditure with that of Great Britain as a whole. I think there are parts of Great Britain where expenditure, if it is carefully chosen, would be of a much higher level than for Great Britain as a whole.

In discussing the details of this appropriation order I should like to take as my starting point the words of the Under-Secretary of State, Mr. Dunn, when he said that in Class II Vote 1 there was a decrease in money used for industrial development. This, together with the announcement that unemployment has reached the very high level of 74,000 (in fact in 1936 it was above that level) 13 per cent. of the working population being unemployed, leaves me with no alternative but to press the Government very hard to redouble their efforts towards finding solutions to this appalling problem. Further to that—and the noble Lord will understand what I mean—I believe that the Government must alert the country as a whole, and Northern Ireland in particular, to the fact that there is worse to come. This must be done since at some stage we shall be running into an election and people should understand the number of jobs which are at stake because of Government expenditure.

It can be shown that even with the present rather higher level of new job creation from new industry, in 1982 there could be a figure of 100,000 unemployed in Northern Ireland. The position is as serious as that. I know that is much too simple a way of dealing with it, but it is so bad that even if the figure is a little too high we must have a radical rethink on the question of employment within Northern Ireland. With 100,000 unemployed, even if there were no political unrest at all, we have a recipe for violence and revolution. That is how serious I consider the situation to be.

Northern Ireland will benefit very rapidly when the economy of Great Britain begins to improve. Have we thought this out? If there is a demand for labour in Great Britain should we not be preparing some scheme to help people to come over from Northern Ireland for work? After all, the Government of Northern Ireland have a scheme to induce people to come out of the bad areas of Belfast to go into the good areas of Craigavon. I wonder whether that is not something which should be thought about very soon. I am well aware of the excellent work that is done by manpower services and youth employment opportunities and job promotion and job opportunities; I wish them well and hope that they can achieve what they are setting out to achieve.

I am not optimistic that in the present recession we can generate many new industries, no matter how hard anybody tries, and no matter how incentives or inducements are increased. One comes to a certain point when, no matter how much more help you give, it still will not produce any more business if there is no more business going around, because one can only get a proportion of it. But there is an area—and I have to declare an interest, having something to do with guest houses—which should be thought about very seriously, and that is tourism.

For a very long time tourism was considered really not the sort of industry which Government should support; it was not really contributing, and if it did contribute people thought it really was not quite decent to do so. Nowadays, I am glad that tourism has been accepted as a major industry, so much so that I was very thrilled to see that the BTA announced that the total revenue was £5,000 million, and this has continued to grow despite the recession in the industrial sphere. This, I think, is most important. The noble Lord will know that the increase in the number of visitors to Northern Ireland, even at present, is plain to see. We do not have to wait for figures; we can see people about. Therefore, I feel it is the right moment to start a massive effort to support tourism. If I say that we must make a massive effort, it must not be taken that I consider the support given to the Northern Ireland Tourist Board by the Government is not generous; it is extremely generous. But more needs to be achieved.

My Lords, the main effort to produce employment in Northern Ireland over the years since the war was made in the industrial field. I think a certain amount of that effort was made with that priority because people did not really think that tourism could produce wealth for the community. Our neighbour in the South of Ireland put a very high priority on tourism. While that makes a direct comparison invalid, there is a validity about the level of employment that has been created, because it gives us a figure to aim at. The employment in tourism in the Irish Republic is 100,000. On the same basis, we in Northern Ireland ought to have 30,000 people employed. In fact we have rather less than 10,000. That is the target, a target which is, in my view, achievable, because we have all the assets that they have in the South—beautiful scenery, the lakes and everything else. So we have a target of 20,000. I did a bit of higher calculation. Taken on the basis of the General Motors' incentive at £10,000 a job, I think it comes out that the Government could afford to spend £200 million to achieve those 20,000 jobs.

My Lords, what should be done? The first thing is that Enterprise Ulster and other Government assisted bodies should be directed to create wealth-creating facilities with a tourist element. Secondly, I want to suggest that the Government should consider, and go ahead with if it is feasible, advance hotel building with a conference set-up and golf courses and complete facilities. I know that there will be protests from a few people who would feel that their interests were being affected, but people have learned that when the best shops come next to them in the High Street everybody benefits; if we have the best hotels in Northern Ireland I believe everybody will benefit.

I would ask the noble Lord about the Bangor Marina for taking tourists yachts and pleasure craft. There are no spare anchorages for pleasure craft up the Irish Sea, but at one fell swoop the whole situation of Bangor could become completely altered; it would then become once more a prime tourist town in Northern Ireland. Going a little nearer home, the noble Lord's Department has been sponsoring and setting up a number of sports complexes. I should like the noble Lord to look very thoroughly at ensuring that these complexes are of international standard, and not, as in the case of one which I had something to do with, just three feet short in the swimming pool. What we want is a certain number of these to be designed not only as a community leisure centre, but also as an international gathering place for sportsmen. What about the Commonwealth Games? We really should consider very seriously holding them in Northern Ireland. The total expenditure is not very great, and after the Games we should be left with unrivalled facilities.

My Lords, I have the greatest respect for the help that the BTA have given to the Northern Ireland Tourist Board. I know a lot about their work, and wonderful co-operation exists between the two. I have seen it both abroad and at home. But with the upsurge of tourism now—and it quite clearly is an upsurge—is it not time that the Northern Ireland Tourist Board had one of their own people in the United States of America and in Europe, from where more and more people come to us. The effect of the troubles on the tourist public appears to be decreasing. Whether it is because all the key television teams have gone off to Africa or somewhere like that, I am not sure; but there is no doubt that there is a decreased emphasis there. The real need in relation to tourism is for more accommodation in Northern Ireland, and that is why I am repeating this question on advance hotels. I welcome the order.

7.37 p.m.

Lord O'NEILL of the MAINE

My Lords, I should just like to say a few words, because I know the noble Lord gets into some trouble in Northern Ireland, both with regard to hospitals which may have to be closed at some time n the future and with regard to his education responsibilities. Of course, it is to me, as to many other people, a great sorrow that it falls to Ministers over here to deal with Northern Ireland problems. I wish to God there was a power-sharing Executive at Stormont, running an Assembly and looking after Northern Ireland affairs, and then we should not be faced with discussing these problems here in London.

I should like the people of Northern Ireland to know this: that I do not believe, certainly in so far as America is concerned, that if there were a power-sharing Executive operating in Belfast today they would be able to do any better. I was in New York last Fall, as they say in the States, and I was most impressed by what the Consul General in New York, and indeed all the other Consul Generals in America, are doing for Northern Ireland today. I wondered indeed whether if a power-sharing Executive were in operation they would be able to do any better. It seemed to me, from the discussions I had with the Consul General there last Fall that Northern Ireland was his first priority, and I really was most impressed with this. It may be that this is why General Motors is in fact coming to Dundonald. Whatever the reason, I should like to say "Thank you".

In the old days in Northern Ireland we always used to say that when Britain caught a cold we over there contracted raging 'flu. Unemployment is, I am afraid, a great problem in Britain today, and so inevitably it is a so a problem in Northern Ireland. In so far as it can be alleviated in any way by the introduction of multi-national companies to Northern Ireland, then that course must be pursued, as it is being pursued with all vigour by British representatives in America. Curiously enough, at the moment I was there the chairman of the Northern Ireland Tourist Board, who bears much the same name, was also there, and he told me how much help he had had from the Consulates General in America. So while things are difficult, I think people in Northern Ireland should realise the tremendous help they are getting from the Government machines in their various capacities, and should say "Thank you" for what is being done on their behalf.


My Lords, I am grateful to the noble Lords who have spoken for their welcome for the order and for the many kind things that have been said about my right honourable and honourable friends. In view of what the noble Viscount, Lord Brookeborough, said, I am sure that the House would join with me in wishing my honourable friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Mr. Dunn—who unfortunately is in hospital in London at present—our best wishes for a speedy recovery.

I entirely agree with the comments of the noble Lord, Lord O'Neill of the Maine, regarding the desirability of not having Ministers at Westminster dealing with the m my problems with which we have to deal in Northern Ireland. Of course, we would entirely agree with him about the desirability of seeing a devolved Assembly in Northern Ireland with participation by representatives of both communities.

I would say that I should not expect such an Assembly to do anything different as regards one issue, at least, that was raised—namely education. I do not believe that anywhere in the Western world or, indeed, anywhere in the world, is it likely that a system of selecting children at the age of 11 by a method such as the 11-plus is capable of persisting for very long. Nor do I believe that it would be possible for any future Administration in Northern Ireland to reintroduce a selective examination like the 11-plus. As the noble Lord, Lord Hampton, pointed out and reminded your Lordships, two out of the three organisations representing parents in Northern Ireland are, in fact, in favour of abolishing selection at 11-plus, which is what the Government's policy involves. On the other hand, there is no question of there being a blanket, universal provision. The Government are anxious that there should be a system of local planning by the local area education and library boards, in consultation with local people and in particular with individual schools.

Of course, I agree with the noble Lord, Lord Belstead, that the opinions held by many people who are involved in education are important and have been and should continue to be considered by the Government. I would have added one group to the list which the noble Lord gave the House—namely, teachers. I am sure that he did not omit to mention teachers because they happen to be one of the strongest groups in favour of nonselective education. Nevertheless, that is, of course, the case, and the Government were pressed very hard by many interests involved in education in Northern Ireland, including teachers, and the seventh advisory Committee which was set up by the Stormont Government and which is commonly called the Burges Committee, which recommended the course of action which the Government are, in fact, now following.

The noble Lord, Lord Belstead, asked me about the money being appropriated under this order and the use to which it would be put. The estimates for school building provide for new schools and the extension of existing schools. Some of these schemes will involve provision for the reorganisation of secondary schools on non-selective lines, and other parts of the provisions will, of course, involve extending and making improvements to existing selective schools—whether they are secondary intermediate or grammar schools. As the noble Lord said, there are several non-selective schools in Northern Ireland already, and all that is necessary for a school to be organised in a non-selective way is for the development scheme procedure which is specified in Article 11 of the Education and Libraries (Northern Ireland) Order 1972 to be followed. That has been done in the several cases where the existing schools have become non-selective.

The noble Lord also asked me about the system of controlling intakes. I should like first of all to stress that the existing transfer procedure—which is still, of course, selective, although not based on the 11-plus examination—controls the intakes to all secondary intermediate and grammar schools. The system does that to ensure that one sector, as opposed to the other, does not unduly benefit by a massive increase in intakes at a time when in Northern Ireland, as elsewhere in the United Kingdom, intakes to all secondary schools are falling. So, there is no question of more money being needed to build more grammar schools—or more secondary intermediate schools, as I think the noble Lord suggested—because people are being kept out of grammar schools.

All that we are trying to ensure by the quota system is that both sectors of secondary education are treated fairly, and that was recommended to us by a working party which represented all the educational interests in Northern Ireland. I think that there is a broad measure of agreement that this is the procedure that should he followed next year, and we are, as the noble Lord will know, in the middle of a review of the system for next year. However, I have no doubt that a quota system which treats secondary intermediate and grammar schools equally and fairly will continue to be necessary and will not lead to any increase in public expenditure but, in fact will avoid such an increase.

The noble Lord asked about our policy. I hope that I have been able to give him the flavour of it, but certainly the policy at present is that we should proceed with this process on the basis of consent, consultation, local agreement and local planning. Whether legislation will be needed will, of course, depend very much on the outcome of one or more of the working parties which, for the moment, are looking into the details of the reorganisation of secondary education.


My Lords, I should like to ask the noble Lord one question as a result of his last sentence. The noble Lord referred to whether legislation will be needed or not. Legislation for what?


My Lords, the reason we have set up a working party is to determine what legislation is needed, so it would be foolish of me to attempt to pre-empt the work that is being done by the working party, particularly as it is made up of representatives of all the educational interests in Northern Ireland and is having widespread consultation with all interests concerned. It will be for that working party to report on what legislative changes are needed to ensure that the process of secondary reorganisation can be completed.


My Lords, I should like to press the noble Lord a little further. Why should not the development scheme process be used?


My Lords, the development scheme process, as I have made clear, is being used already and can continue to be used. However, there are other matters—for example, there may be some legislation needed. By giving examples one tends to pre-empt the work of the working party, but perhaps I can do so in an entirely hypothetical way. It is possible that legislation will be needed to safeguard teachers' salaries. It is likely that legislation will be needed to reorganise the way that voluntary schools are financed. As the noble Lord will know, one working party is looking into the continuing finance for voluntary schools in a reorganised system. That may well involve legislative changes. There are no doubt a host of other matters which may involve legislative changes and upon which the working party will be reporting.

I should like to turn to the economy. Several noble Lords mentioned the tragically high rate of unemployment in Northern Ireland. I should certainly accept that it is tragically high—it is much too high. I am grateful for the acknowledgement in various ways of the amount of effort that is being put into reducing this—for example, the work in America by the permanent representatives of Her Majesty's Government and the numerous visits which my right honourable friends have made to various countries in the world. We are delighted when all this effort pays off in terms of new investment by General Motors, AVX and so on. The noble Viscount, Lord Brookeborough, asked me about the value for money of these investments. As he knows, much of this information is and has to be confidential, but if there is anything that I can tell him on investigation I will write to him about it.

It is quite true that because of the slump in the world economy the full appropriation for industrial investment incentives has not been spent over some past years in Northern Ireland. But there has been a substantial reallocation of that money to public sector employment, and that is one of the reasons, for example, we have been able to bring the pupil/teacher ratios not only into line with those in England and Wales for the first time but slightly to improve on that, because we have been able to increase very substantially the number of teachers employed. The same applies to other areas of public sector employment.

The noble Viscount is taking, in my view, an unduly pessimistic view if he assumes for the future, as I took him to assume, that a Conservative Government will be returned, committed to massive cuts in public expenditure which will lead to the rather gloomy forecast which he was making about the future for Northern Ireland. I certainly would not expect that forecast to be borne out because I would not expect such an outcome at a General Election.


My Lords, our Leader, has, in fact, made a commitment to very high Government expenditure. Therefore, I am not worried about that. I should be much more worried about the other outcome.


My Lords, it is very difficult for me to work out just how all these massive commitments for additional expenditure will allow for the massive cuts in taxation to which the noble Viscount's Leader has also committed her Party.

The noble Viscount asked me about tourism and raised a couple of detailed points. First, the Bangor marina is still being considered by the Government in conjunction with the interested parties. As the noble Viscount knows, a consultant's report is being produced on the possibility of providing a major new marina at Bangor. But until the report is completed, a decision will not be made about that proposition.

The noble Viscount also mentioned the question of international sports facilities. Certainly many of the major leisure centres which arc planned, or indeed open, are providing venues for international sporting activities. The first time I went to the new leisure centre in Belfast—Maysfield—on a Saturday, I was delighted to find deaf people from Dublin playing five-a-side football, and an international judo competition going on with representatives present from Great Britain as well as from all over Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

The noble Viscount knows that we have had to decide not to go ahead with the next Commonwealth Games in Northern Ireland because of the massive amounts of public expenditure which would be pre-empted by that decision and because of the very serious effects that we feel it would have on sporting provision for the rest of Northern Ireland, particularly outside Belfast, on which we now want to concentrate. But that does not pre-empt any decision on future Common-wealth Games.

Finally, the noble Viscount asked me about expenditure on tourism and the measures being taken to encourage tourism. Perhaps I could write to him on the detailed points he made about advance hotels being built; but he knows that the Government have taken a number of new initiatives in recent months to encourage the tourist industry. The level of grant is being increased for local authority schemes from 50 per cent. to 75 per cent., and a number of new schemes have been introduced. I certainly agree with the noble Viscount that we would wish to continue to do all we possibly can to encourage that industry and, indeed, all other ways of creating and maintaining jobs in Northern Ireland.