HL Deb 06 February 1989 vol 503 cc1314-5

2.53 p.m.

Lord Gridley asked Her Majesty's Government:

What is the planned expenditure on economic development for Northern Ireland in 1989–90, and what is the allocation for industrial development and the local enterprise unit.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Northern Ireland Office (Lord Lyell)

My Lords, a sum of £376 million has been allocated to the Department of Economic Development in 1989–90 as the department primarily responsible for assisting and supporting economic development in Northern Ireland. Of this sum, £127 million is for the Industrial Development Board and almost £32 million has been provided to the Local Enterprise Development Unit.

Lord Gridley

My Lords, I thank my noble friend for that Answer. Has not this fine financial achievement by the Government brought confidence to the people of Northern Ireland?

Lord Lyell

My Lords, this investment has not merely brought confidence to the people of Northern Ireland but has been reflected in the confidence expressed in the Province and its people by two major companies' significant investment this year£Daewoo Electronics of Korea and Montupet of France, which between them have placed investment of more than £100 million in the Province and have announced that they will be investing in two factories.

Lord Graham of Edmonton

My Lords, although the overall increase of about 6 per cent. is to be welcomed, can the Minister confirm that this amounts to only 1 per cent. in real terms? Will he take on board the fact that in Northern Ireland unemployment has fallen in the latter period by less than 5 per cent. whereas nationally it has fallen by almost 30 per cent.? As Northern Ireland fares badly in the reduction in unemployment, can the Minister tell the House how he intends to redress that balance? Will he also bear in mind that of the department's global budget less than 7 per cent. is spent on industry while more than 30 per cent. is spent on social security? We do not wish the latter figure to be affected, but can he say how he intends to increase the less than 7 per cent. spent on industry?

Lord Lyell

My Lords, I shall have to write to the noble Lord on his first question. His second question is more than a little wide of the Question on the Order Paper. As for the figures given by the noble Lord of 7 per cent. and 30 per cent., I cannot confirm them as I stand here but I think that the two examples I gave are notable successes in the industrial regeneration of Northern Ireland.