§ Mr. Beith
asked the Secretary of State for Industry if he will introduce legislation to constitute chambers of commerce as public bodies, in order that they may be eligible, as are chambers of commerce in other EC countries, for grants from the European social fund to be spent on training schemes.
§ Mr. MacGregor
The Government have no plans to constitute chambers of commerce as public bodies. I am not convinced of the overall value of public law status to chambers of commerce, and there is no clear unanimity among their members about it. Nor is there evidence of any demand from elsewhere. I am also doubtful whether chambers of commerce really need the backing of the law, and I am conscious of the element of compulsion for industry which is explicit in the concept.