HL Deb 28 January 1985 vol 459 cc553-4WA
Lord Sefton of Garston

asked Her Majesty's Government:

  1. (i) whether they maintain a record of factories built with the assistance of grants;
  2. (ii) whether they monitor the performance of these factories;
  3. (iii) if so, how many of these factories are standing empty at present, and what proportion of the total does this represent;
  4. (iv) if they do not maintain a register, what are their reasons for this.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Trade and Industry (Lord Lucas of Chilworth)

The Government provide grant-in-aid for the construction of factories to the Scottish Development Agency, Highlands and Islands Development Board, Welsh Development Agency, Development Board for Rural Wales, Northern Ireland Industrial Development Board and the English Industrial Estates Corporation. These agencies keep detailed registers of all their factories, closely monitor the performance of individual units and report on their overall performance to their respective sponsoring departments in the Government. The Government have full access to all the information kept by these agencies.

At the end of 1984 these agencies had a total of 2,860 vacant units comprising 1,548,700 square metres of floor space, which was equivalent to 18.8 per cent. of the floor area of their total stock.

Factory building by the private sector may also be assisted indirectly by grants in support of capital investment by industry, such as those given under Sections 7 and 8 of the Industry Act 1982 and urban development grants. Like the plant and machinery associated with such projects, these factories are the property of the investors concerned and no registers are kept. Monitoring in such cases embraces the whole of the investment, and is to ensure that the conditions of grant are met.