Oral Answers to Questions — Investment Grants

– in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 27th April 1970.

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Photo of Mr Charles Fletcher-Cooke Mr Charles Fletcher-Cooke , Darwen 12:00 am, 27th April 1970

asked the Minister of Technology whether he will instruct the committee which is considering the effectiveness of the investment grant scheme to advance the date of its report to July, 1970.

Photo of Mr Eric Varley Mr Eric Varley , Chesterfield

No, Sir. The study will be completed as soon as is practicable, but it would be unrealistic to set such a time limit.

Photo of Mr Charles Fletcher-Cooke Mr Charles Fletcher-Cooke , Darwen

Since millions of pounds are being spent on these grants, is it not essential to have this report at the earliest possible moment, as on previous figures it looks as though investment in the distributive trades, which do not get the same advantage, is much more buoyant than in the manufacturing industries?

Photo of Mr Eric Varley Mr Eric Varley , Chesterfield

I am sorry that it is not possible to get the study out earlier, as I explained when we last answered questions. I hope that the study will be completed by the end of the year.

Photo of Mr Robert Maclennan Mr Robert Maclennan , Caithness and Sutherland

Is my hon. Friend aware that the C.B.I. has produced a report which suggests that the difficulties the proposed petro-chemical complex in Invergordon is having in raising finance are due to uncertainties about the future of the investment grant scheme and that the principal uncertainty in the minds of industrialists is due to the possibility of the Conservative Party being returned to power, which Heaven for-fend? Is he aware that a major industry, aiding the development of the Highlands, is being threatened by the language of hon. Gentlemen opposite, particularly by that of the hon. Member for South Angus (Mr. Bruce-Gardyne)?

Photo of Mr Eric Varley Mr Eric Varley , Chesterfield

I do not think that British industry need fear a change of Government and therefore I think it ought to plan on the basis that we shall still be in charge of these matters. I have not seen the C.B.I. report to which my hon. Friend refers. I will get a copy of it.