Mr. H. Wilson:
asked the President of the Board of Trade the number and floor area of factories with an estimate of the numbers likely to be employed in them, now in course of construction in the Merseyside Development Area; and the number and floor area of the factories approved in 1950, 1951 and 1952, respectively.
According to the latest information available to the Board of Trade, 12 new factories exceeding 5,000 square feet in area and 27 extensions (exceeding 5,000 square feet in area) to existing factories are now in course of construction in the Merseyside Development Area. The total area is 3,276,000 square feet. According to the estimates made by the undertakings when applying for their Industrial Development Certificates, the number of jobs which may be provided in these establishments amounts to about 14,000.
In 1950, 66 factories and extensions, with an area of 1,975,000 square feet, were granted Industrial Development Certificates. The figures for 1951 were 65 factories and extensions, with an area of 3,025,000 square feet, and for the period 1st January to 22nd October, 1952, 34 factories and extensions, with an area of 2,117,000 square feet.
Do not those figures show that there is a very serious reduction in the number of new factories being started on Merseyside? In view of the very serious unemployment there does not the right hon. Gentleman agree that his administration of Development Area policy on Merseyside is becoming a disastrous failure?
No, Sir. I think the figures show that there were fewer demands coming forward than before, which I think is perhaps to be expected in the course of a changeover from a seller's to a buyer's market.