§ Mr. Hayman
asked the Secretary of State for Industry, Trade and Regional Development whether he will make a statement on the visit of the Minister of State to Cornwall on 16th March.
§ Mr. du Cann
My three day tour of the South West had a twofold purpose: to study conditions in North Devon, North and West Cornwall in general, and the development districts in particular—areas which my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State was unable to include in his tour of the South West undertaken at the beginning of January; and to speak at the National Exporters' 69W Conference in Bristol on 15th March. That Conference, and the reception which the Board of Trade Regional Controller arranged in the South West Regional Office, enabled me to meet a number of the leading exporters of the area and to give public recognition to the contribution which industry in the South West is making to the national export effort.
In the course of my tour I had discussions with representatives of the nineteen local authorities as follows:
The Boroughs of Barnstaple, Bideford and Great Torrington; Ilfracombe and Northam Urban District Councils; Barnstaple, Bideford, Ilfracombe and Torrington Rural District Councils.
The Boroughs of St. Ives, Penzance and Helston; Newquay, Padstow and St. Just Urban District Councils; Camelford, Kerrier, Wadebridge and West Penwith Rural District Councils.
I also met representatives of the Devon and Cornwall County Councils.
I was grateful for the personal assistance I received from the hon. Members for St. Ives, Torrington and North Devon.
I visited firms and inspected industrial sites in the Bideford/Barnstaple area; I also visited the shipyard at Appledore and the china clay industry at St. Austell. I was especially gratified to observe the beneficial results of measures taken under the Local Employment Acts.
I was glad to note the general welcome accorded to the Statement on the South West which my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State made on 27th February. A number of points regarding the regional development of the South West were put to me during my tour. These will receive early consideration.
I was impressed with the energetic efforts a number of local authorities are themselves making towards solving the economic problems of their localities. Their success, in my opinion, is likely to be enhanced by yet wider cooperation, with a common objective. The Government will continue to encourage steps towards this end.