Does not my hon. and learned Friend agree that, once a uniform pattern of assistance is imposed, it will be more and more difficult to have that pattern varied? While over a year has elapsed since the strong suggestion was made that Selective Employment Tax might be varied on a geographical basis, this has not yet come about.
We have taken power in the Finance Act to make variations of this kind by order if they prove necessary, but we believe that it would be premature, until we have had experience of the effects of the regional employment premium on 'development areas as a whole, to take any action of this kind.
The Association has written to my right hon. Friend about the needs of areas, outside the Development Areas, with above average unemployment and have made various suggestions. The problems of areas such as these will be taken into account in the study by Sir Joseph Hunt's Committee whose terms of reference my right hon. Friend the First Secretary of State announced on 6th July.—[Vol. 749 Col. 275.]
I do not agree that the problems are ignored. We are aware of the anxiety on this matter and, as I have indicated, this question will be considered by Sir Joseph Hunt's Committee.