Spoil Heaps (Durham)

Oral Answers to Questions — Local Government – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 1st March 1966.

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Photo of Mr Emanuel Shinwell Mr Emanuel Shinwell , Easington 12:00 am, 1st March 1966

asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government what progress has been made in the clearance of derelict pitheaps in the county of Durham; why Government grants are con fined to schemes exclusively planned for industrial development; and whether it is intended to extend the scheme beyond 1967.

Photo of Mr James MacColl Mr James MacColl , Widnes

So far 27 schemes for treating spoil heaps covering about 509 acres in Co. Durham have been approved for grant under the provisions of the Local Employment Act, 1960. Grant is payable for the clearance of land whether for industrial or other purposes where my right hon. Friend the President of the Board of Trade is satisfied that schemes will enhance employment prospects. As announced in the recent White Paper "Investment Incentives", the power to pay grant will be renewed by fresh legislation when the Act expires.

Photo of Mr Emanuel Shinwell Mr Emanuel Shinwell , Easington

As these are only schemes, can my hon. Friend give any estimate of when they are likely to be completed? Is it not very important to make the county more attractive to industrial development, and would not these monuments to capitalism be better removed?

Photo of Mr James MacColl Mr James MacColl , Widnes

On my last visit to Durham, I was impressed with the work the local authorities are doing in dealing with spoil heaps, and I think that progress is reasonable.

Photo of Mr Thomas Urwin Mr Thomas Urwin , Houghton-le-Spring

Can my hon. Friend give an indication to the House of how soon we can anticipate the introduction of amending legislation which will carry grants beyond 1st April, 1967, under the present legislation?

Photo of Mr James MacColl Mr James MacColl , Widnes

I cannot anticipate the precise date of any piece of legislation, but it is the intention both to extend the present scheme and, as mentioned in the White Paper on Local Government Finance, to have a new grant of 50 per cent. not linked to employment.