Northern Region

Oral Answers to Questions — Board of Trade – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 22nd November 1967.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Mr Edward Leadbitter Mr Edward Leadbitter , Hartlepools, The 12:00 am, 22nd November 1967

asked the President of the Board of Trade how many applications for industrial grants and loans from industrialists wishing to develop in the Northern Region are being considered by the Board of Trade Advisory Committee; and how many of these have been before the Committee more than 12 months, between nine months and 12 months, between six months and nine months, between three months and six months, and less than three months, respectively.

Photo of Gwyneth Dunwoody Gwyneth Dunwoody , Exeter

161 applications in respect of the Northern Region were being considered as at 31st October, 1967. Details of the time applications have been outstanding are not readily available and it would involve disproportionate time and effort to extract them.

Photo of Mr Edward Leadbitter Mr Edward Leadbitter , Hartlepools, The

Is my hon. Friend aware that this matter has been of great concern in the North and that a number of representations have been made to the Board of Trade? I was hoping to congratulate her on an improving position. Is she aware also of two major short-term problems? First, the new Bank Rate increases the difficulties being experienced in the North. Secondly, exporting industries there are in short supply. We need some quickly. Will she please expedite the procedure for dealing with B.O.T.A.C. applications?

Photo of Gwyneth Dunwoody Gwyneth Dunwoody , Exeter

I assure my hon. Friend that we are very conscious of the difficulties faced by the Northern Region, as by many other development regions. The time taken in dealing with B.O.T.A.C. applications has been speeded up recently.

Photo of Mr Robert Elliott Mr Robert Elliott , Newcastle upon Tyne North

Is the hon. Lady aware that it is accurately estimated that we need 15,000 new jobs each year in the North-East to cover losses from declining industries alone? Is she aware further that this figure was achieved in 1964–65 but has not been achieved since? Will she do what she can to speed up the procedure of applications?

Photo of Gwyneth Dunwoody Gwyneth Dunwoody , Exeter

Yes; we are considering all the time ways of increasing the speed at which B.O.T.A.C. applications are dealt with. In some cases the applicants themselves are responsible for some of the delays because they do not return the requisite information.

Photo of Mr Robert Woof Mr Robert Woof , Blaydon

Why does secrecy prevail with the Board of Trade Advisory Committee when an application is turned down?

Photo of Gwyneth Dunwoody Gwyneth Dunwoody , Exeter

This is a difficult situation. The Board of Trade Advisory Committee is an independent body and, for obvious reasons, it goes into the cases very carefully. We do not ask the Committee for its confidential information.