Economic Planning Council, South-West Region

Oral Answers to Questions — Economic Affairs – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 18th February 1965.

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Photo of Mr John Peyton Mr John Peyton , Yeovil 12:00 am, 18th February 1965

asked the First Secretary of State and Secretary of State for Economic Affairs if he will give details of the membership of the Regional Economic Council for the South-West; whether all county councils will be represented; and if members are to be elected or official.

Photo of Sir Rolf Williams Sir Rolf Williams , Exeter

asked the First Secretary of State and Secretary of State for Economic Affairs if he will make a statement on the composition of the Regional Economic Council for the South-West.

Photo of Mr Paul Dean Mr Paul Dean , Somerset North

asked the First Secretary of State and Secretary of State for Economic Affairs if he will make a statement on the membership of the Regional Council for the South-West.

Photo of Mr Peter Mills Mr Peter Mills , Torrington

asked the First Secretary of State and Secretary of State for Economic Affairs if he will announce the Government's regional plans for the South-West.

Photo of Mr Frank Hayman Mr Frank Hayman , Falmouth and Camborne

asked the First Secretary of State and Secretary of State for Economic Affairs when he expects to be able to take steps to secure the personnel for the Regional Economic Planning Council for the South-West and to give more information about its composition.

Photo of Mr William Rodgers Mr William Rodgers , Stockton-on-Tees

We hope to announce the membership of the Economic Planning Council for the South-West Region before the Easter Recess. On representation I have nothing to add to what I told the hon. Member for Devon, North (Mr. Thorpe) on 21st January. We told the local authority associations in December that we are prepared to consider local government officers as well as elected representatives as members of the councils.

Photo of Mr John Peyton Mr John Peyton , Yeovil

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that that Answer does not add much to the information already available? Will he convey to his right hon. Friend the fear and concern of many county councils that they will have imposed upon them an organisation which may suit his right hon. Friend but does not suit them and will deny to them what they feel are the rights of representation to which they are fully entitled?

Photo of Mr William Rodgers Mr William Rodgers , Stockton-on-Tees

I was in the South-West for two days earlier this week, and I found little such fear but rather a real anxiety to make the new planning machinery work.

Photo of Sir Rolf Williams Sir Rolf Williams , Exeter

Will the Joint Under-Secretary explain the reason for this delay? Does he not recall that on page 3 of "Let's Go with Labour", the manifesto on which his party fought the General Election, appear these words: Labour is ready. Poised to swing its plans into instant operation".

Photo of Sir Harry Hylton-Foster Sir Harry Hylton-Foster , Cities of London and Westminster

Order. Verbatim quotations from documents, of whatever value, are out of order.

Photo of Mr Paul Dean Mr Paul Dean , Somerset North

Is the Minister aware that local authorities are particularly disturbed about the planning aspects of the councils and, indeed, of the boards? Can he give an assurance that there is no intention of taking away from the local authorities the powers which they now have over the planning of development in their areas?

Photo of Mr William Rodgers Mr William Rodgers , Stockton-on-Tees

My right hon. Friend has already made it perfectly clear that there is certainly no intention to usurp the proper function of local authorities or to take away any of their existing powers.

Photo of Mr William Clark Mr William Clark , Nottingham South

If the Minister is saying that all these representatives from local bodies will be considered, will he ask his right hon. Friend why, in the National Economic Development Council, he continues to exclude the Chancellor of the Exchequer.

Photo of Mr William Rodgers Mr William Rodgers , Stockton-on-Tees

That does not arise on this Question.

Photo of Mr David Webster Mr David Webster , Weston-Super-Mare

As the Minister of Transport has announced that before any rail closures are proposed a regional plan is to be produced, can the Joint Under-Secretary tell us what association there will be between the two sorts of regional plans? What conversations will he have with his right hon. Friend the Minister of Land and Natural Resources on this subject?

Photo of Mr William Rodgers Mr William Rodgers , Stockton-on-Tees

As my right hon. Friend has made clear, the purpose of the boards is to make sure that the left hand knows what the right hand is doing, which has certainly not been the case in the past. We shall take full account of the needs of communications, whether rail or road, in all our regional planning.