asked the President of the Board of Trade how many representatives of firms likely to expand he has met in the course of the last month; and how many firms have com- mined themselves to expand in development districts as a result of these discussions.
As a result of my right hon. Friend's invitations to the chairmen of companies with growth prospects, twelve meetings have been held since the end of April, and others have been arranged over the next few months. It is too early to expect these discussions to have led to firm decisions to undertake projects in the development districts.
Is the hon. Gentleman aware that the President of the Board of Trade left the impression in his Budget speech that he personally would be meeting the representatives of these firms? Is it the case that officials of his Department are meeting them, not the right hon. Gentleman? Can the hon. Gentleman impress on the right hon. Gentleman the need for urgency in this matter, for young people are getting out of the development districts as quickly as they can because of the apparent lack of progress?
The hon. Gentleman will appreciate that, in the last three weeks particularly, my right hon. Friend has been away on very important commercial conferences. It has not been unreasonable, therefore, that his junior Ministers and senior officials should have seen some of these chairmen, for the very reason which the hon. Member mentioned—that we want to get a move on.
Is my hon. Friend aware that the big concessions announced in the Budget are not as generally well known as he might think, particularly by some of the smaller firms? Will he take all possible steps to advertise these concessions?