HC Deb 11 November 1977 vol 938 cc303-5W
Mr. Lomas

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment (1) what action he is taking to ensure that the Yorkshire and Humberside Region has good industrial sites and buildings, industrial access, and the opportunity to attract the essential and necessary skills which are needed; and if he will make a statement;

(2) if he is aware that there is an urgent need to provide the necessary location attractions in many medium size towns, such as Huddersfield; and what action is being taken to ensure this is done.

Mr. Guy Barnett:

The county and district councils have been urged in Circular 71/77 to adopt a variety of policies and measures to further the Government's industrial strategy. My Regional Director and the Regional Director of the Department of Industry recently took part in a conference on this subject, to which the Chief Executive of Kirklees Borough Council was invited.

In the financial year ending on 31st March 1977 loan sanction was given for the acquisition under the Community Land Act of industrial sites in the Yorkshire and Humberside Region totalling 345 acres; 48 acres were in Kirklees.

The Government have recognised the special problems of the Huddersfield inner city area. Improvement projects to the value of £372,000 have been accepted this year.

Mr. Lomas

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he is aware that of the new industrial floor space more than half is in Leeds, with very little in Huddersfield and the Kirklees district; and what he intends to do to rectify the position.

Mr. Cryer:

I have been asked to reply. I recognise that availability of industrial sites and modem premises is an important factor in maintaining and expanding the industrial base of the area The Department, therefore, keeps itself informed of developments and plans its own advance factory programmes to take account of them. 10,000 sq. ft. of factory space has already been provided and a further 15,000 sq. ft. is planned in the Kirklees district. The resources of this programme must be directed primarily, however, at meeting the problems of unemployment where these are most severe.

Mr. Lomas

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what financial assistance is being given, by grant or by loans, for projects which will provide additional employment in the Yorkshire and Humberside Region.

Mr. Cryer:

I have been asked to reply.

Regional selective assistance is offered under Section 7 of the Industry Act 1972 for eligible projects in all industries which create or maintain employment in the assisted areas. Assistance is normally in the form of grants or loans.

From the start of the Act in August 1972 up to 30th September 1977 grants totalling £20.4 million and loans totalling £10.7 million have been offered on 641 projects in the Yorkshire and Humberside Region, estimated to cost £391.6 million. These projects are expected to provide 38,300 new jobs and to safeguard 7,400 jobs in the region in the period up to 1980.