§ Mr. Wellbeloved
asked the President of the Board of Trade what proposals he has for the modification of the control on office development; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Crosland
The Government's control of office development has succeeded in restraining the growth of offices in the congested areas of the South-East and Midlands. After making a full review of the operation of the control, I have however decided that, while it is necessary to maintain a rigorous control in the congested areas, it would now be appropriate to modify its scope in two ways. First, I propose to exclude from the area of the control the East Anglia Planning Region and the predominantly rural areas of the East and West Midlands Planning Regions. Experience has shown that the demand for new offices in these areas is insufficient to justify the continuance of the control.
Secondly, I intend to bring the exemption limit in the metropolitan region outside Greater London into line with that in 373W force in the rest of the area of the control. This means that the exemption limit will be 10,000 square feet throughout the whole of the control area, with the exception of Greater London, where it remains at 3,000 square feet. Outside Greater London, offices of up to 10,000 square feet are required mostly by local users to whom permits have in general been granted fairly freely. Orders to give effect to the decisions will be laid before Parliament.
It remains the Government's firm intention to secure a better distribution of employment throughout the country. Within the framework of this objective I shall continue the policy announced by my predecessor in the House on 18th July, 1967, of taking into consideration in the operation of the office control the needs of physical planning and the efficient use of labour by those office employers who are unable to move out of the area of the control.