§ 22. Mr. Barnett
asked the Secretary of State for Economic Affairs if he will make a statement on the work of the North-West Economic Planning Council.
Mr. Alan Williams
During the past three years the North-West Economic Planning Council has made considerable progress towards evolving a planning strategy for the economic and physical development of the region. It will shortly be publishing its next report entitled "North-West Strategy II". In addition, the Government have sought and received the Council's advise on a wide range of questions relevant to regional planning.
§ Mr. Barnett
But is not the position of the Council impossible while there are three or four Ministries and dozens of councils with executive powers? Therefore, pending the Report of the Royal Commission on Local Government, should we not have a Minister for the region with specific executive powers under one particular Ministry, rather than a series of Ministries, as we have at present?
As my hon. Friend will appreciate, the planning councils are backed by a planning board, which has just this function: it is a single body bringing together the various Departments concerned with the problems of the regions.