§ Mr. Lamond
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that there are in South-East Lancashire many towns, including Oldham, which have contributed considerably to the well-being of this country but which are now slowly bleeding to death due to increasing unemployment, mounting redundancies, low wages and, most important of all, the continual loss of young people? Do not these facts demonstrate clearly that massive assistance is needed to enable this area of the country to become rejuvenated?
§ The Prime Minister
I certainly join with the hon. Gentleman in paying tribute to what has been achieved in his constituency and in the North-West in our industrial history. It is true that the Hunt Committee recommended that his constituency should have intermediate area status, but this was rejected by the last Administration and we do not see any reason to review that decision at present. If one takes the North-West as a whole, outside the areas which are especially assisted, unemployment is significantly below the national average.