Service Industries (Special Development Areas)

Oral Answers to Questions — Trade and Industry – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 7th February 1972.

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Photo of Mr Peter Hordern Mr Peter Hordern , Horsham 12:00 am, 7th February 1972

asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry whether he will now take steps to allow the same reliefs, concessions, and arrangements to be made for service industries setting up in the special development areas as are now available for manufacturing industries.

Photo of Hon. Nicholas Ridley Hon. Nicholas Ridley , Cirencester and Tewkesbury

My hon. Friend will know that service industry investment in plant and machinery in development areas now qualifies for free depreciation and that Local Employment Act assistance can be made available to major service industry projects which bring substantial employment to assisted areas.

Photo of Mr Peter Hordern Mr Peter Hordern , Horsham

While I recognise that there are some distinctions as between service industries, manufacturing industries and other industries and that it is difficult to see why these distinctions should exist, surely the case for the development areas must be that their employment should be much more broadly based, and there does not appear to be a good reason for this rather selective approach. Will my hon. Friend agree to look at the matter again?

Photo of Hon. Nicholas Ridley Hon. Nicholas Ridley , Cirencester and Tewkesbury

We have taken very large steps, including the halving of S.E.T., in reducing the discrimination against the service industries which the last Government brought in, and I think my hon. Friend can feel that sufficient progress has been made in the time so far available.

Photo of Mr Jock Bruce-Gardyne Mr Jock Bruce-Gardyne , South Angus

I recognise the force of the argument advanced by my hon. Friend the Member for Horsham (Mr. Hordern), but will not my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary reflect that this Question and a number of Questions which other hon. Members have had on the Order Paper today tend to suggest that the whole gamut of special development areas, development areas and intermediate areas is more effective in encouraging jealousy and resentment in areas which do not enjoy these incentives than in encouraging satisfaction in those areas that do?

Photo of Hon. Nicholas Ridley Hon. Nicholas Ridley , Cirencester and Tewkesbury

I note what my hon. Friend says. Perhaps he will discuss this important matter with my hon. Friend the Minister for Industry.