§ 27. Mr. Michael Shaw
asked the Secretary of State for Economic Affairs what estimate he has made of the net outflow of population each year from the Northern Region, Scotland and Wales, respectively, from 1969 to 1972.
§ Mr. Urwin
I should inform the hon. Gentleman that the policy, and the fructification of the policy concerning regional assistance, is intended to produce over the next few years a more even spread of employment opportunities which will in time lead to major reductions in net migration from the less prosperous regions. I should require notice of the other aspect of the hon. Member's question.
§ Mr. Roy Hughes
Does my hon. Friend appreciate that Government assistance to development areas has already been the means of saving many valuable communities from disintegrating, particularly the mining valleys of South Wales which have been acutely affected by pit closures?
§ Mr. Urwin
Yes. I should point out to right hon. and hon. Gentlemen opposite that the stability of any structure depends entirely on the strength of its foundations—in regional and development area terms—a problem so long neglected by the Opposition when they were in power. The Government are now reinforcing the foundations and building an entirely new fabric in those areas where Government assistance is badly needed.