Development Areas (Factories)

Oral Answers to Questions — Trade and Commerce – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 7th June 1951.

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Photo of Mr William Shepherd Mr William Shepherd , Cheadle 12:00 am, 7th June 1951

asked the President of the Board of Trade the total cost of factory buildings, with services, which have been built by Government finance in the development areas and the number of people at present employed in these factories.

Photo of Mr Hartley Shawcross Mr Hartley Shawcross , St Helens

The total amount of Government expenditure under the Distribution of Industry Act, 1945, in connection with the provision of factory space for private industry in the development areas, during the period from mid-1945 to the end of March, 1951, was £41.13 million. This amount has been expended on the conversion of war-time factories to normal industrial uses; the building of new factories and extensions; the acquisition of land on which to erect these new factories; the provision of services and the development of the industrial estates and group sites which have been established or taken over since the war. At the end of March, 1951, 54,200 men and 54,800 women were employed in the factory space thus available. When these factories are in full operation it is hoped that a further 17,500 men and 16,000 women will be employed.

Photo of Mr William Shepherd Mr William Shepherd , Cheadle

Has the right hon. and learned Gentleman gone into the reasons why the costs of providing factories are so high in relation to the total number of people employed? They are probably three or four times the normal cost in respect of industry in general.

Photo of Mr Hartley Shawcross Mr Hartley Shawcross , St Helens

These involve the development of estates in areas which have been largely left derelict by private enterprise and I am glad to say that they have helped to reduce unemployment in the development areas from 19 per cent. in 1938 to 2.7 per cent. in April of this year.

Photo of Mr Cyril Osborne Mr Cyril Osborne , Louth Borough

How much of the £41 million has been spent on new buildings and how much on reconversion of the old factories?

Photo of Mr Hartley Shawcross Mr Hartley Shawcross , St Helens

I should want notice of that question.

Photo of Major Lyall Wilkes Major Lyall Wilkes , Newcastle upon Tyne Central

Is my right hon. and learned Friend aware that in the 1930's it was always recognised that to start large-scale industrial projects in the development areas would be very expensive, and that that was why we were left with poultry farms, market gardening and the repairing of typewriters?