§ Mr. Shepherd
asked the President of the Board of Trade whether, in view of the industrial congestion in certain parts of the country, and of the need for new industry in others, he will take steps to deal with the situation.
§ Sir D. Eccles
As the House is aware, it is not the practice of my Department 157W to issue industrial development certificates—save in the most exceptional circumstances—for firms wishing to set up new factories in the more congested parts of the country. The certificates issued in those places are almost entirely for extensions or efficiency projects which it would be uneconomic to separate from the existing buildings.
I propose in future to examine all such applications, both for new buildings and for extensions, even more critically than in the past and to extend the practice at present applied in the Greater London and Greater Birmingham areas to other parts of the country where unemployment is low. I recognise that this may mean refusal to allow a project to go forward in some particular place even though the labour could be found. But there are other places where the need for new industry is much greater, and it is these in particular that I should hope to benefit from this decision.
I realise that the location of a new development in one of these places may result in a firm having to bear increased costs both in building the new factory and in connection with the movement of its plant or its key workers, or in the marketing of its products. It is to help to meet such problems that the Distribution of Industry (Industrial Finance) Act has been passed. Enterprises already located in these places may also be eligible for assistance under this Act. For the benefit of firms wishing to take advantage of its facilities, I am appending to this statement a list of the places concerned. They cover 7 per cent. of the total of insured employees in Great Britain, but on the latest figures account for 17 per cent. of the total unemployed. Applications for assistance for projects in other areas will not necessarily be ruled out if they would relieve unemployment in the places listed. From time to time we shall issue a revision of this list.
These new arrangements mean that in such localities Government assistance for new projects will be given by the Treasury acting on the advice of the Development Areas Treasury Advisory Committee. Although the Development Fund will not therefore operate for the 158W alleviation of unemployment, it will have a rôle to play in rural areas, particularly in Scotland and Wales, where the prevention of depopulation is the main problem.
LIST OF PLACES WHERE GOVERNMENT ASSISTANCE UNDER THE DISTRIBUTION OF INDUSTRY (INDUSTRIAL FINANCE ACT), 1958, WILL BE AVAILABLE
CornwallThe whole of Cornwall (except Truro, St. Austell, St. Blazey, Lostwithiel, Launceston, Bude).
- Herne Bay.
- The Isle of Thanet.
Lancashire and Cheshire
NorfolkThe coastal belt from Blakeney to Great Yarmouth.
SuffolkNorth-East Suffolk (excluding Lowestoft and Beccles).
- North Lanarkshire.
- Western Clydeside with Bute.
- The Highlands and Islands.
- The Buckie Peterhead area.
- The Dundee area.
- South-East Carmarthenshire and adjoining part of Glamorgan.
- Milford Haven.
- Pembroke Dock
- Blaenau Ffestiniog.