Regional Employment Premiums

Oral Answers to Questions — National Finance – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 18th July 1967.

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Photo of Mr Elystan Morgan Mr Elystan Morgan , Cardiganshire 12:00 am, 18th July 1967

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will cause a survey to be made of localities suffering from acute economic difficulties, with a view to seeking to vary the rate of payment of regional employment premium in those areas.

Photo of Mr Niall MacDermot Mr Niall MacDermot , Derby North

I cannot at this stage usefully add to the reply given to my hon. Friend on 21st June.—[Vol. 748, c. 306–7.]

Photo of Mr Elystan Morgan Mr Elystan Morgan , Cardiganshire

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.

Photo of Mr Niall MacDermot Mr Niall MacDermot , Derby North

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.

Photo of Mr Simon Digby Mr Simon Digby , West Dorset

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what representations he has received from the South Western Development Association criticising employment premiums for their effect on the South West Region; and what corresponding measures he now proposes to take to help this area.

Photo of Mr Niall MacDermot Mr Niall MacDermot , Derby North

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.]

Photo of Mr Simon Digby Mr Simon Digby , West Dorset

Is the hon. and learned Gentleman aware that there is increasing anxiety in the South-West at the way in which its problems are ignored?

Photo of Mr Niall MacDermot Mr Niall MacDermot , Derby North

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.