§ 24. Mr. Wingfield Digby
asked the Secretary of State for Economic Affairs what decisions he has now reached on the Report on the Future of the South-West.
§ Dr. David Owen
Can it be right for a major city, with a population of 250,000, to be so dependent on one industry, the dockyard? Surely the events of the last few months, with the suspicions and fears aroused by decisions over public expenditure, make it imperative that Plymouth is designated a development area at the earliest possible opportunity?
§ Mr. Shore
As my hon. Friend knows, the recommendation that it should be made a development area is in the Regional Council's report, and it is one of the things which we shall be discussing with the Council on 31st January. As for the dependence of Plymouth on the dockyard, I agree that the dockyard accounts for too large a part of the employment in that city, but I ask my hon. Friend not to jump to conclusions about the impact of recent defence cuts on particular dockyards.