HC Deb 15 November 1977 vol 939 cc110-1W
Mr. Heffer

asked the Secretary of State for Industry (1) how many firms have been encouraged to go to Merseyside in the last two and a half years; if he will list them; and what are the present amounts they have received;

(2) what measures are being taken, other than general measures, to encourage firms to go to Merseyside; if he will list the action taken in the last two and half years; and what success has been achieved.

Mr. Cryer

Apart from the full range of regional assistance available in Merseyside, and that available under Section 8 of the Industry Act, my Department hs taken a number of measures to help industry in Merseyside. During the last two and a half years, the flexibility of selective financial assistance in the Merseyside and the other special development areas—SDAs—has been increased; the maximum rent-free periods on Government factories there have been increased; a study has recently been commissioned to identify opportunities for certain types of investment in inner Liverpool; the regional office has established an action group in co-operation with other organisations to implement the Government's industrial strategy in Merseyside and other parts of the North West. Fifty-two Government factories have been authorised involving 765,000 sq. ft. In addition the Government have established a partnership with the relevant local authorities to assist in the regeneration of inner Liverpool.

Naturally my Department takes every opportunity to attract new investment to Merseyside. During the last two and a half years Merseyside has been suggested on more than 600 occasions to industrialists seeking locations for investment. 188 tours of Merseyside have been organised for industrialists. Of these 56 are known to have invested in Merseyside, of whom 32 have come from outside the SDA including companies from Sweden, Denmark, Singapore, Switzerland and the Netherlands. The figures do not take account of companies which have decided to invest without first contacting my Department. I am reluctant to provide a list of these companies since some at least regarded their consultations with us as confidential. Between 1st March 1975 and 30th September 1977 offers of assistance under Section 7 of the Industry Act amounting to £24 million have been made to 154 manufacturing projects expected to cost £158 million and to create some 10,311 additional jobs in the SDA. Six service industry projects involving almost 600 new jobs have also been offered assistance. The amounts—above certain thresholds—paid to individual firms under regional assistance schemes are published quarterly in Trade and Industry.

Mr. Kilroy-Silk

asked the Secretary of State for Industry what measures have been suggested by the National Enterprise Board for industrial development in Merseyside.

Mr. Les Huckfield

Earlier this year the board, at the Prime Minister's request, prepared a report on investment potential in the North West, including Merseyside. A copy of the report was placed in the Library on 27th June.

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