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Motion made, and Question proposed,
That for the purposes of any Act of the present Session to increase the amount of the advances which may be made to development corporations under section twelve of the New Towns Act, 1946, it is expedient to authorise any increase, attributable to the provisions of the said Act of the present Session raising to three hundred million pounds the limit of two hundred and fifty million pounds imposed in respect of such advances by subsection (1) of the said section twelve (as amended by the New Towns Act, 1955), in the sums which, under or by virtue of the said Act of 1946, section two of the Licensed Premises in New Towns Act, 1952, or section sixty-eight of the Licensing Act, 1953, are to be or may be issued out of the Consolidated Fund, defrayed out of moneys provided by Parliament, raised by borrowing, remitted, or paid into the Exchequer.—[Mr. Powell.]
I have no intention of delaying the Committee for more than a minute or two, but I want to put on record my protest against the manner in which the Minister failed to deal with the point which I raised in the discussion on Second Reading. My objection was to the granting of this money to the Government at all until they were prepared to deal with the problem I had in mind. It really will not do for the Minister to make cheap debating points about the movement of industry from one part of the country to another part of the country.
We are saying that the Government ought not at this moment to spend £50 million of new money, added to the £250 million they have spent already, if they continue to allow the problem for which the money is being spent to be aggravated by promoting, by their neglect, a further flow of population from these areas to the big towns, which has the effect of frustrating the purpose for which the money is being spent. Unless the Government really bring their mind to bear on the fact that these are two sides of the same problem, they are simply not fit to be trusted with the money at all.
It is no good turning on the tap to take surplus population out of a so-called conurbation if we do not turn off the tap through which the flow of population comes from the other areas. To spend a lot of money on creating new social capital in new towns while the Government continue by their policy to waste the social capital that they already have, is the politics of either the Conservative Party or any other lunatic asylum.