Regional Development

Oral Answers to Questions — Technology – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 1 December 1969.

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Photo of Mr Gordon Campbell Mr Gordon Campbell , Moray and Nairnshire 12:00, 1 December 1969

asked the Minister of Technology what steps he is taking to make the present methods of regional development more effective.

Photo of Mr Eric Varley Mr Eric Varley , Chesterfield

The recent changes in the responsibilities and structure of the Department will facilitate appraisal of the regional implications of our industrial and economic policies. My right hon. Friend intends to keep a close watch on the effectiveness of those regional measures for which he is responsible.

Photo of Mr Gordon Campbell Mr Gordon Campbell , Moray and Nairnshire

Is the Press announcement of today correct, namely, that a Government study is starting on the effectiveness of investment grants? In any case, will the hon. Gentleman consider more effective methods of attracting industry and creating new jobs in Scotland, where the net loss of 67,000 jobs in the last three years has been very disappointing in relation to the amount of money involved?

Photo of Mr Eric Varley Mr Eric Varley , Chesterfield

The hon. Member will recall that I dealt with the question of investment grants in answering an earlier Question. That may have been before he came into the House. The hon. Member has pursued the question of jobs lost in Scotland at previous Question Times, with my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister and my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Local Government and Regional Planning, and on every occasion he has been given a satisfactory reply. I can say that I.D.C. approvals between January, 1965, and September, 1969, were estimated to represent over 100,000 additional jobs for Scotland.

Photo of Mr James Tinn Mr James Tinn , Cleveland

If my hon. Friend has not already done so, will he read the article which appeared in November of last year in the National Institute Economic Review, containing an analysis of regional policy and showing that the present system tends to attract capital-intensive industry to development areas, which are not appropriate to them?

Photo of Mr Eric Varley Mr Eric Varley , Chesterfield

I have not seen that article, but I do not think that I can accept at this stage that the full range of policies should not apply to development areas. We are convinced that the full range must apply.