§ 25. Mr. McNamara
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will make a statement on the future development of Humberside and the conclusions reached by the Government on the Humberside feasibility report and any additional advice and information available to them since the publication of that report.
§ Mr. McNamara
Is the right hon. and learned Gentleman aware of the great concern caused on Humberside by the statement in Leeds of the Minister of Local Government and Development recently that the Government were considering not going forward with the whole of the plan outlined in the Humberside feasibility report? Is he aware that we have been waiting for the end of 1972 to receive a detailed statement of Government policy and that this is all the more urgent now because the chief planning officer in Hull has said that although there are possibly signs of an upturn, once again the past year has been a story of continued economic decline on Humberside?
§ Mr. Rippon
I am aware of the interest in this report. The report suggested that decisions were needed before 1972 at the earliest. This was of course a consultative document. We have also to bear in mind the considerable change that has taken place in the estimates of growth of population since the report was commissioned. That is certainly a new factor.
§ Mr. James Johnson
Does the Minister agree that despite his Government's efforts—to give the devil his due—there is still an imbalance in Humberside? Does he accept that in the main this is due to a lack of investment and confidence among business men on Humberside? Now that EEC entry is imminent, will he agree that the biggest thing the Government can do is to speed up work on the M62?
§ Mr. Rippon
That is perhaps another question. There are many factors to be 418 considered, and 1 will certainly bear in mind what the hon. Gentleman has said.