In administering the proposed control of office development, the Board of Trade will certainly take account of the employment needs of development districts such as Merseyside.
Would the hon. Gentleman make it clear to industry that even though their tactical headquarters must be in London it is often more economic and efficient to have their base headquarters in the provinces, including Merseyside?
Will my hon. Friend take into account the fact that for a long period of time there have been movements of office activity away from Liverpool and that this is a source of great anxiety? Will he take account also of the fact that the latest instance of the choice of Manchester over Liverpool for office development has been offered by the Claims Branch of British Railways? Having regard to the interest of his right hon. Friend's Department in the distribution of enterprise, will my hon. Friend draw the attention of the Minister of Transport to the anxiety to which that kind of thing gives rise?
There are difficulties involved here, because until the comprehensive studies now being made into the location of office employment and how it might be guided have been completed we cannot take all the action that I am sure hon. Members who represent development districts would like us to take. I will draw my hon. and learned Friend's second point to the notice of my right hon. Friend.
Will my hon. Friend make it decisively clear that the trend which was taking place under the previous Government will be reversed and that we will get more offices into Merseyside?