Regional Policy

– in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 26th June 1973.

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Photo of Mr Selwyn Lloyd Mr Selwyn Lloyd , Wirral 12:00 am, 26th June 1973

Before I call the right hon. Member for Stepney (Mr. Shore) to move the motion, I must inform the House that I have selected the amendment in the names of the Prime Minister and his right hon. Friends, to leave out from "House" to the end of the Question and add instead thereof acknowledges the declared intention of the European Communities to ensure the harmonious development of the economies of Member States by reducing the differences existing between the various regions, welcomes the progress made by the EEC Commission towards a Regional Development Fund, and recognises that this House will wish to debate these issues.

3.58 p.m.

Photo of Mr Peter Shore Mr Peter Shore , Stepney

I beg to move That this House calls upon Her Majesty's Government not to accept any decision of the EEC Commission affecting the regional policies of the United Kingdom until this House has debated and approved it. It will be noted, not only from the words in the motion but from the way in which we have entitled it, that this debate is about United Kingdom regional policy and the EEC. This is to make clear from the start that what we are discussing is not the emergence, uncertain, even hypothetical as it is, of a Common Market regional policy, which is what the Government's amendment addresses itself to. We are talking about something much more immediate, more certain and more depressing, and that is the control of our own regional policy by the EEC.

Our motion deals with the Community rules which will affect the prosperity and the jobs of a very large area of Britain. It affects the development and special development areas in Scotland, Wales, the North, Merseyside and the far South-West and also the intermediate areas which embrace a larger part of Yorkshire, Lancashire, the Erewash Valley and other smaller areas in South Wales, in Scotland and in Devon. It is a matter of the utmost importance to millions of our fellow countrymen and to hon. Members on both sides of the House.

The problem arises because under Article 154 of the Treaty of Accession the Government have accepted that the Commission's rules on regional policy as formulated and agreed between the Six on 23rd June 1971 shall apply to the new Member States on 1st July 1973 at the latest". In other words, in five days' time, on 1st July, the British Government will cease to be self-determining in regional policy and can conduct only such regional policies as the Commission in Brussels is prepared to allow. We are faced not only with an imminent and practical decision of the utmost importance, but with yet another deplorable example of the folly of those who allowed the transfer of democratic decision-making which the Treaty entailed. No wonder Ministers concerned have said and wished to say so little about what these new Brussels restraints involve. No wonder that, despite insistent and tenacious questioning from the Opposition it has been left to Her Majesty's Opposition to provide in their own Supply time an opportunity to debate this matter only a few days before the new Community rules apply here in have tabled an amendment which they know is not relevant to the subject under debate.

Let no one think that the Opposition are unwilling to debate the Community's regional policy, with which the Government's amendment deals. We are eager to do so. But the Government know, as we know, that we shall be able to do this much better and before very long—certainly long before the recess—and in the light of the proposals, as distinct from the broad principles, which Mr. Thomson, the responsible Commissioner, is shortly to present to the Council of Ministers. We shall have the full text and draft of those proposals within a fortnight. That te—and we shall have it—will probably turn out to be one of great embarrassment for the Government—one as embarrassing as any that their supporters have had to endure.

The myth of a strong Community regional policy assisted by Community funds and operating to the clear benefit of the United Kingdom, helping to offset the burdens upon us of the CAP, as Mr. Thomson knows, will then and quite soon be exploded. We all read about last week's conference on this subject, and we know the views of Mr. Jerome Monod, the French regional planner, that the regional development fund should be, in his words, "relatively modest in size". We all know that as a new Community policy the common regional policy will require the unanimous consent of all the member States. If anyone imagines that we shall get a large and helpful regional policy financed in a way which will be helpful to Britain, he is in for a severe disappointment, and very soon.

We shall have time—and that I promise the Government because we have some Supply days—to return to these matters of the common regional policy. We shall have time to discuss them fully, and we shall do so. But for the Government to try to switch this debate to this quite separate matter is a transparent manoeuvre.

Let me turn to the matter that we seek to debate, the matter which is now so pressing and so important. It is the matter of the decision to be taken by the Commission by the end of this month, a matter affecting the whole future of Britain's own regional policy.

The Community's rules will affect our regional policy in three separate ways. First, they will decide which parts of the United Kingdom in future are to be called "peripheral" areas or so-called "central" areas. Our present system of special development areas, development areas and intermediate areas will be made to fit into this new European classification.

Secondly, in the central areas as defined by the Community new maxima as to the quantity of aid to be received by industry will be imposed. A 20 per cent. ceiling is to be laid down and we shall have to desist, unless we obtain a specific Commission waiv from making payments in excess at limit.

Thirdly, the type of aid will have to be changed so that what the Community calls "opaque" forms of aid—those which are not directly measurable or assessable—are phased out and disallowed.

The Commission's policy will affect our regions in these three ways. But by how much and which regions we have yet to know. We have not had the benefit of a single statement on this matter by the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster. The questions that we have put to him again and again have been stonewalled or blocked.

When the right hon. Gentleman made his last post-EEC Council meeting statement on 23rd May I pressed him specifically on this point. He replied: The right hon. Gentleman asked whether the recent outcome of the discussions by the Commission would penalise the whole arrangements we have for helping our assisted areas. I can reassure him. It seems exceedingly unlikely. As I have said in the statement, it is our determined intention to see that we are not put in a position when we are obliged to reduce the incentives we currently make available for the regions. I was not satisfied then and I pressed him further about what would happen if the Commission's policies clashed with those of Her Majesty's Government. The right hon. Gentleman refused to be drawn and contented himself with this sibylline utterance: I have resisted hitherto, and propose to go on resisting, outlining what course of action might be necessary if there were to be the hypothetical dispute to which the right hon. Gentleman refers. I can only say that I do not believe that we are without recourse, but beyond that I will not go."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 23rd May, 1973; Vol. 857, c. 477–89.] That is the most recent statement—indeed the only statement of any protracted length—that we have had from the Minister responsible on this important matter about which a decision is to be made affecting half the area geographically of the country and nearly one-third of its population within a very few days —[Interruption.] If the Minister for Industrial Development thinks that that is a matter on which the Government are to be congratulated, I can only say that he has little understanding of what is wanted in the House and in the country on regional policy.

The time for evasion and for the short statement is now over. We must now know how Article 154 of the Treaty of Accession is to be applied in the United Kingdom regions. So I ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster direct: will any or all of the intermediate areas of the United Kingdom be brought within the Community's definition of central areas and thus made subject to the 20 per cent. ceiling on regional aid laid down for those central areas? Are any of the development areas of Britain to be brought within the Community's classification of central areas? Specifically, can the right hon. Gentleman deny reports that significant parts of Cornwall and Devon in our present South-West Development Area are in future to be deemed central areas? Will the right hon. Gentleman also deny that neither the Northern Region nor the Merseyside Region are brought, in whole or in part, within the central area classification of the EEC?

Will the right hon. Gentleman also tell us which, if any, of our types of aid have been ruled as opaque or insufficiently transparent and thus requiring to be changed? Will he assure us that the regional employment premium is not to be disallowed and that the free depreciation and initial allowances now available to British industry on what is a generous scale are not to be ruled out on the same score?

Those are serious questions. I do not know what the right hon. Gentleman's answers will be, although I hope devoutly that he will be able to give the assurances that the House and the country require. We shall not be content on this occasion, so near to the moment of decision, with generalities.

It will not do for the right hon. Gentleman to tell us, as he told the conference arranged by the Glasgow Herald in Brussels last Tuesday, that present levels of assistance in the United Kingdom should be maintained and that this requirement could be met even if Britain's present development areas were classified as central. That will not do. Quite apart from the question of depreciation and initial allowances and how they are considered in terms of counting towards the 20 per cent. ceiling, it will not do for the additional reason that in the Government's own Industry Act provision is made for the percentage of aid permitted for the assisted areas of Britain, which includes 20 per cent. on all equipment and on all buildings throughout the intermediate areas and development areas and 22 per cent. for the special development areas.

In addition, in Section 8 of the same Act, we have special aids with a monetary total of £250 million to spend, in the first instance, covering a whole range of additional forms of assistance other than direct grants for buildings and new equipment. This applies to the intermediate areas, and it is well in excess of the 20 per cent. limit which would be imposed upon us if our intermediate areas, let alone any development areas, were brought within the definition of a central area.

Photo of Gerald Kaufman Gerald Kaufman , Manchester Ardwick

Has my right hon. Friend noted the further point that the rulings of the Commission, if they go ahead as we expect, will rule out the uprating of intermediate areas to development area level if they are in the central area and that the North-West, of which the Chancellor of the Duchy should have special knowledge, has persistently and over a long period under the present Government had a higher male unemployment rate than the Welsh development area?

Photo of Mr Peter Shore Mr Peter Shore , Stepney

I fully understand my hon. Friend's point. In a sense, this is the heart of the whole matter. He and I and others may argue about which of the various regions and sub-regions of Britain over particular periods are most in need of aid. We could argue amongst ourselves which should have priority at a particular time. But all that debate is over after this decision. It will not be a decision for the British Government; it will be a decision to be taken after consultation and ultimately on the authority of the Commission in Brussels. So we are entering an entirely new era of regional policy.

I told the right hon. Gentleman that we should not be satisfied with general replies or statements of the kind that he has given before. It will not do for him to tell the House that the Commission—again, I refer to his recent speech—is rethinking its present classifications of peripheral and central areas and that it might in time, but not before we have been forced to make changes in Britain, be persuaded to add a third category. Nor will we take it from him that the Commission's restraints are good for us because they stop competitive bidding for the favours of multi-national companies. We have heard that too often, as though the only matter about which we were concerned in the creation of jobs and the movements of firms was vast international companies. On the contrary, we are greatly concerned with the movements of firms within this country as well.

First, we shall not be satisfied because, as we all know, the present 20 per cent. ceiling in the central areas is only the first step towards a tight control over the regional policies of member States. The Commission has clearly stated its intention to lower such ceilings in future: the 20 per cent. will come down. Secondly, we shall not be satisfied because the next step after disciplining the central areas is to bring the peripheral areas under Community regional control.

Thirdly, we shall not be satisfied because we believe that the dominant force at work in deciding State aids for the regions is not the puny infant of a Community regional policy that Mr. George Thomson is now nursing, but the fully grown and adult competition policy of M. Borschette, and behind him lies not only 14 years of free market policies in the EEC, but the precise provisions of the Treaty of Rome dealing with the subject of State aids. In other words, this whole matter, the subject of our motion, is not even within the area of Community regional policy; it is part of Community competition policy for which M. Borschette is responsible, and his views on these matters inevitably prevail. [An HON. MEMBER: "They do not."] They certainly prevail on the matter of State aid. If my hon. Friend, who takes a different view on the whole question, is thinking in terms of future Community regional policy, well and good. That, indeed, comes under the competence of Mr. Thomson. But do not let us confuse the matter. The Government have an interest in confusing it.

Photo of Mr Henry Brewis Mr Henry Brewis , Galloway

Would it not be right to round off the right hon. Gentleman's review by mentioning the social policy which has put forward proposals for employment premiums in rundown areas?

Photo of Mr Peter Shore Mr Peter Shore , Stepney

I am willing to discuss the common social policy so far as it has emerged in discussing the common regional policy. I hope that long before the House recesses, when these matters have advanced to a stage beyond general principles and reached some clarity in their policy profiles, there will be time to debate that matter and that it will be soon.

What matters to us, above all, is that unless the House can intervene from 1st July—I take up the point made by my hon. Friend the Member for Manchester, Arwick (Mr. Kaufman)—the British Government will have abandoned the power to decide regional policy in the United Kingdom and transferred it to agencies outside this country and not responsible to this Parliament and to the people of this land. The reins of this control may now be very slack, but the bit will be in our mouths; and it will be for others, not the British Parliament, to decide which way and how hard the bit will be pulled in the years ahead.

I can understand those who say that in some matters—defence and the environment are examples—some pooling of sovereignty is necessary in the modern world. But what I cannot understand is how anyone in this House could bring himself to accept that in a matter so sensitive to his constituents, to their hopes of employment and prosperity, the British Parliament and Government should give up the power to make decisions in future and accept the proposition that the gentlemen in Brussels know best.

Let us be clear that on this matter of deciding what State regional aids are to be permitted, it is not even the Council of Ministers that has the power of decision, but the Commission itself under Articles 92 to 94 of the Treaty of Rome.

I hope that the House will turn down this deliberately irrelevant Government amendment.

Photo of Mr Christopher Mayhew Mr Christopher Mayhew , Woolwich East

Would my right hon. Friend clarify a statement? He came close to saying that we should vote against the principle of surrendering our sovereignty in the matter of regional planning. Did he go as far as that?

Photo of Mr Peter Shore Mr Peter Shore , Stepney

Yes, I did, and I shall do so again rather more strongly. I hope that hon. Members will assert themselves today in support of our motion, in support of their constituents, and in support of the continuing authority of the House of Commons. Whatever happens today in the Lobbies, let there be no doubt in the country or in Europe that the next Labour Government will take back those powers over regional policy which the Treaty of Accession and the present Government have so wantonly transferred.

4.18 p.m.

Photo of Mr John Davies Mr John Davies , Knutsford

I beg to move as an amendment, to leave out from "House" to the end of the Question and to add instead thereof acknowledges the declared intention of the European Communities to ensure the harmonious development of the economies of Member States by reducing the differences existing between the various regions, welcomes the progress made by the EEC Commission towards a Regional Development Fund, and recognises that this House will wish to debate these issues. The Opposition motion introduced by the right hon. Member for Stepney (Mr. Shore), not untypically, seeks to imply that the Community is wholly indifferent to our type of regional problems. It seeks to imply thereby that the Community will restrain us from giving nationally the kind of assistance that we deem necessary, will not develop any arrangements to help us from Community resources, and will reach conclusions on both these steps without taking into account the wishes of Parliament and the Government. In those terms, the motion is wrong on every count.

Therefore, my right hon. Friends and I have put down an amendment which seeks to put the facts as they really are—first, that, from the inception of the Community, and, indeed, embedded in the Treaty of Rome, there has been a firm provision showing the concern that the original Community countries have had to eliminate regional disparities, and, second, to provide to the new Community countries realisation of the fact that our regional problems are not the same as those of the original Six and that they therefore require new initiatives to deal with them.

Our amendment therefore implies, correctly, that, both at the Summit meeting of Heads of Government and Heads of rently topical one and I propose to deal with it, as I propose also, however to deal with the whole issue of the Regional Development Fund.

Third, our amendment seeks to underline the fact that Parliament has had and continues to have the fullest access to every move in this debate, that it profoundly influences the Ministers concerned and that the method of work of the Community itself ensures our ability to contribute to the formulation of policies and prevents conclusions from being reached which are against our major national interests.

Photo of Mr Neil Marten Mr Neil Marten , Banbury

In that case, can my right hon. Friend now add to our amendment the words, from the Opposition motion, "and approve the policy"? This is the essence of the matter, certainly from my point of view —that Parliament must approve this most important proposition. Will he say that Parliament should approve it?

Photo of Mr John Davies Mr John Davies , Knutsford

I will deal with the specific matter that my hon. Friend mentions in the course of my speech. On the first point that I have mentioned—the concern shown in the Community for regional policies generally—I can do no better than to quote from the Preamble to the Treaty of Rome, which said that the partners stated their anxieties: …to strengthen the unity of their economies and to ensure their harmonious development by reducing the differences existing between the various regions and the backwardness of the less favoured regions …. That in its turn was supplemented in the Summit conclusions of last October: The Heads of State or of Government agreed that a high priority should be given to the aim of correcting in the Community, the structural and regional imbalances …". These are clear evidences which cannot be overturned by mere generalised statements of the kind used by the right hon. Member for Stepney (Mr. Shore) of the Community's concern and its preparedness to deal with the problems involved.

Second, referring to what I said about the Community's knowledge of our own particular problem, I should like to turn in some detail to the two facets of regional policies as they arise at present. There was certainly no intention within the amendment to evade the question of Article 154. On the contrary, I think that the so-called Article 154 aspect is a cur-State and within the Commission since the enlargement of the Community on 1st January, there have been these initiatives to try to deal with our problem.

The background to Article 154 of the Treaty of Accession is that, in 1971, with the agreement of the six then member States, the Commission decided certain principles governing the co-ordination of regional aids throughout the then Community. Both parties also agreed on certain methods by which those principles would be applied. It is the application of those principles which involved the definition for the old member countries, the former Six, of "central" areas in which the limit of 20 per cent. net susidy equivalent was applied to regional assistance for individual projects.

I would underline the fact that the 20 per cent. is by no means an ungenerous limit. Could I put it in context? Currently, within our intermediate areas, for instance, our standard aids, measured according to the Community's form of computation, would be the equivalent of approximately 4 per cent. in the same terms. So let us not imagine that the 20 per cent., which is the restraining maximum, is a tight one that will severely inhibit us in any respect.

Photo of Mr Peter Shore Mr Peter Shore , Stepney

Could the right hon. Gentleman elucidate a little more on how 20 per cent. becomes 4 per cent. through the mathematics that take place?

Photo of Mr John Davies Mr John Davies , Knutsford

The right hon. Gentleman's command of mathematics is perhaps less than his command of invective. The 4 per cent. to which I referred is the effective level of aid which we apply by standard methods in the intermediate areas, measured in accordance with the Community's terms, and it compares with the 20 per cent. limit. When the right hon. Gentleman seeks to steam up the whole issue of what this restraint means, he entirely fails to realise what the true effect is.

It is worth stressing that neither the actual territorial division agreed by the Six nor the initial division into only two types of area within the meaning of the 1971 agreement is a "principle" of co-ordination. They are simply the methods chosen to apply the principles agreed to the Six. The same consideration also applies to the 20 per cent. limit itself. It is not an inherent principle of these arrangements but a method agreed between the parties for the implementation of the principles.

Photo of Mr Teddy Taylor Mr Teddy Taylor , Glasgow Cathcart

Is my right hon. Friend then saying—this is very important and will be reassuring to the intermediate areas—that, if those areas were classified as central, there would be no need to alter the existing aids that they receive?

Photo of Mr John Davies Mr John Davies , Knutsford

I would say that that is certainly the broad inference of what I say precisely. In the answer that I gave the right hon. Gentleman the other day, to which he referred, I clearly said that the Government's intent was to ensure that we were not obliged, through any of these arrangements, to reduce the level of aids that we are currently giving to our assisted areas.

I should now like to draw attention to the terms of Article 154 of the Treaty of Accession. This provides that the principles to which I have referred, adopted by the Six in 1971, should apply to the new member States at the latest by 1st July next. For Article 154 to be carried into effect, two things have to happen. The Commission has to supplement its original communication in a manner which both takes account of the fact that the Community of Nine is a different animal from that of the Six, with a different range and intensity of regional problems, and gives a result which puts all the member States in the same situation in respect both of the principles and of the methods of application of those principles.

So the effect of the action to be taken by 1st July is not simply to deal with the three new members, entirely exterior to the situation of the existing Six, but to reach a conformity in the Nine in relation to those principles. The member States must supplement their original resolution in a similar manner, because this was a twofold operation—the Commission and the member States working together—and it must again be the same.

The significance of the supplementation of the Commission's communication by a resolution by representatives of the member States was that it represented the conclusion of an understanding between them. The Commission formally stated its policy on the application of State aids in regional policy and the resolution in effect embodies the concurrence in that policy of other member States.

The right hon. Gentleman asks, what if that concurrence were not forthcoming in response to a supplementation by the Commission in respect of its 1971 principles? He was asking what happens if we do not find ourselves able to agree. If I felt that such an outcome were likely, I should have very seriously to contemplate —indeed, it is naturally part of one's reserve thinking to have done so—what steps are available. But the matter does not need to be considered. I do not consider there to be the least likelihood that there would not be the concurrence to which I have referred.

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

To what extent does the right hon. Gentleman expect the House to be assured on the matters to which he is now referring? I am a member of the Select Committee on Science and Technology. The Common Market's headquarters will not allow a Select Committee of the House of Commons to go there to discuss formally matters of major importance to the House. Secondly, it will not allow the normal rules of procedure to apply in taking evidence. Thirdly, it will allow us to go there only if we give an undertaking that we shall not even take a shorthand writer with us.

Photo of Mr John Davies Mr John Davies , Knutsford

I can only sympathise with the hon. Gentleman's problems, but they have nothing to do with the question of regional policy in the Community. I entirely appreciate the problems, but it would be difficult to assert that the Commission has not been extremely willing to accept Select Committees. This is not germane to this question.

I consider it highly unlikely that there would be a case of failure to concur between the member States and the Commission in this matter. Secondly, if there were a disagreement between the member States and the Commission, broadly speaking we should have all the very many recourses which have been discussed very frequently in the House. But I do not think it practical or useful today to consider them, because the situation simply does not arise. The House will realise, therefore, that the effect of the rather complex system of the supplementation and concurrence, to which I have referred, is to ensure that we have a very full voice ourselves in the settlement of the situation arising out of Article 154.

The right hon. Gentleman then asked about Articles 92, 93 and 94 of the Community Treaty which deal with the question of the rules of competition. The right hon. Gentleman is right. These articles provide mechanisms whereby the Commission may seek to impose its views on a member State without the agreement of that State. But the fact is that the Commission does not do so. It invariably consults the member States concerned, and in reaching its conclusions takes account of their fundamental interests. The issue is entirely without base. The fact is that the Commission does not do so.

As far as regional aids were concerned, it was not until 1971 that, in the process of consultation, the Commission was even able to reach a frame of reference in relation to the restraint to which the right hon. Gentleman has referred. Now it has to be decided what the extension will be in the enlarged Community.

The Summit decision should coordinate regional policies throughout the Community and the Commission's own report on regional policy in the enlarged Community points to the need to work for a more sophisticated and effective system than the tentative first steps embodied in the 1971 documents. This is work which Her Majesty's Government fully support, for the very reason that the right hon. Gentleman stated. It does restrain excessive bidding up for mobile projects, and they are not only mobile projects emanating from international combines but mobile projects emanating from a very wide range of sources throughout the Community and elsewhere. On the other hand, let there be no belief that this is simply a device of one kind or another to try to stop international combines from enjoying some benefit that we would contribute. It is inherent in the whole question of industrial development in the Community.

Photo of Mr Peter Shore Mr Peter Shore , Stepney

The right hon. Gentleman has made the point that no great conflict has emerged between the Commission and the Government in discussing with them the future of British regional policy. As it is only fair that he should answer this question, there being only three days before the whole matter is to be announced and decided, surely he can tell the House whether or not any of the existing intermediate or development areas of this country are to be changed in the kind of aid that they receive, and which of them will be classified as peripheral areas and which as central areas?

Photo of Mr John Davies Mr John Davies , Knutsford

The right hon. Gentleman's quite understandable interest in this matter will be very shortly satisfied. This matter has been and is the subject of discussion, and I certainly do not propose to breach those discussions at present. The fact is that the arrangements of a more sophisticated kind, to which I have referred, seem to us to be very much of interest to us as a country. I hope that it will prove possible to bring this more sophisticated system to fruition during the course of next year, at the time when we have the result of the work which is being carried out by Mr. George Thomson in relation to the Regional Development Fund. This is germane.

In the interim what we need is some arrangement which will carry the Community over the intervening period without disruption and without prejudice to the future.

In the talks in Brussels and elsewhere in recent months we have made it plain that we could not agree to arrangements which involve the enforced cutting-back of aids and the coverage of aids which we at present make available to our regions. We have made it plain that it would, in our view, be wrong to prejudge the outcome of a proper and deep-seated review of regional aids in the Community which cannot, inevitably, take place for some time yet. The first formal step is, of course, for the Commission to take and it is possible that the Commission will very soon come to a collective view. The right hon. Gentleman seemed to be under the mistaken impression that individual Commissioners could, independently of their colleagues, take decisions which had nothing in common with the normal consultative processes of the Commission. He is wrong. There is a normal process which operates within the Commission.

Assuming that that view meets our basic requirements as I have outlined them—and which I confidently believe to be so and which I believe to be views shared by both sides of the House as to the desirable outcome—there will be no difficulty about the acceptability of the conclusion. There would certainly be nothing in the arrangements of this kind which cuts across decisions taken by this House in the past, either.

In the immediate the two issues—that is, the Article 154 issues and the Regional Development Fund issues—are separate, so that no identification of areas as central areas carries any implication of availability or non-availability of aid from the Regional Development Fund. Approach to the latter has been, on this side, independent of this activity, on lines which are entirely consonant with our own views on regional policy. The Commission paper, to which reference has been made, carefully analysed the facts of regional imbalance in the Community. It has reached a conclusion which identifies, as we would have done to a large degree, structural unemployment, low regional income per head and outward migration—

Photo of Mr Edward Milne Mr Edward Milne , Blyth

On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. Can anything be done to protect the House from a Minister of the Crown reporting on an important matter of this kind by not referring to either the amendment or the motion before the House?

Photo of Miss Betty Harvie Anderson Miss Betty Harvie Anderson , Renfrewshire East

Order. That is not a matter for the Chair.

Photo of Mr John Davies Mr John Davies , Knutsford

Clearly the hon. Gentleman has not been listening. I am sorry about that.

The Commission paper, which has been the work of the section of the Commission under Mr. Thomson, has identified structural unemployment, low regional income per head and outward migration as being the prime indicators of regional deficiencies. Indeed, this broad analysis would compare with our own, and has been discussed within the Council of Ministers and has enjoyed the broad support of the Council.

Photo of Mr John Davies Mr John Davies , Knutsford

The hon. Gentleman should let me get on with my speech, because time is slipping away. The reasons for Community support are seen not in terms of simply the remedying of regional deterioration which might or might not be created by industrial factors but as a Community interest to overcome imbalance in order to attain the maximum use of the resources in the interests of the Community itself—human resources and natural resources, and investment resources, clearly.

The next step is to be concerned with criteria for the selection of areas and projects which would enjoy support from the Regional Development Fund. The method of support would be either direct from the Community or indirect through the national efforts of national regional policies. There is a need, obviously, for an early definition of the size of the effort through the RDF to be considered.

It is probable that when that next phase is agreed, as it will be in the course of the year, the criteria to which I have been referring for regional selection will also serve as the basis for the restraint mechanisms to which I have been addressing myself under Article 154. At that point the two will tend to converge. It is also envisaged to have a Community committee which is permanently concerned with keeping both sides of the policy under consideration.

As to the last point which is implied in the Motion—that Parliament or government is being disregarded—the Opposition's contention is utterly unrealistic and springs from an inadequate understanding reinforced by the Opposition's deliberate non-involvement in the problem.

The fact is that with regard to executive decisions made in the European context Parliament has just as much influence as it does on Her Majesty's Government in relation to domestic policies. [Laughter.] Is the House really saying that it believes that it has no effect on policies—in which case what is the right hon. Gentleman raising so much trouble about? Surely what I say is correct, that the House has as much access to put pressure and emphasis on Ministers in these matters as it does in domestic affairs.

The right hon. Gentleman will know, because he is a member of the Select Committee, that a Select Committee has itself come up with interim proposals which have to a large degree been accepted by the Government. The fact that we have not yet got a final report is due largely, as the right hon. Gentleman must know, to the late arrival into that committee of the Labour Party. I can only welcome the early arrival of a final report in that matter and the acceptance of any reasonable proposals which can be made.

I think that on all scores the Motion is entirely out of tune with the realities of the case. I consider that on the whole we have to look forward to benefit, not damage, from the Community in relation to our regional efforts. I am convinced that that is so. I ask the House to support the Government amendment and to reject the Motion.

Photo of Mr Neil Marten Mr Neil Marten , Banbury

On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. I apologise for raising a point of order in this short debate. Before you arrived in the Chair, I intervened to ask my right hon. Friend why the Government amendment could not also include the words "and approved the policy". My right hon. Friend has not answered that question. I should be grateful if you would allow him time, in case he forgot to answer it, to answer it right now.

Photo of Miss Betty Harvie Anderson Miss Betty Harvie Anderson , Renfrewshire East

Order. As the hon. Gentleman knows very well, that is not a point of order.

4.42 p.m.

Photo of Mr Jo Grimond Mr Jo Grimond , Orkney and Shetland

I regret that the shortness of the debate prevents the Minister from expanding a little on his statement that Parliament has as much effect on Brussels as it does on the Government at Westminster. As the House realises, that statement is open to several constructions.

No one who has been to Brussels or studied the documents can doubt that the European Economic Community is deeply concerned about regional policies. On 3rd May this year the Community produced a large report which, as the Secretary of State pointed out, quotes the communiqué of the Heads of State saying that high priority should be given to these matters.

I shall address myself to the principles and methods by which the Community intends to carry out its regional policy. I am not wholly satisfied with the results of our own regional policy. It has had successes, but I do not think that it is by any means a complete success. I am not sure what the Secretary of State meant when he said that the Community's policy would be more sophisticated. I believe that certain changes are needed in the whole approach to regional policies, but I do not think that sophistication is what is necessary.

We have now had considerable experience of trying to improve conditions in certain areas, whether those areas be under-developed areas at home, or underdeveloped countries abroad. This experience has gone on for some time. A most interesting book has just been published about the efforts made to develop the Highlands after the Forty-Five. Those efforts were similar to the efforts being made today. Apparently, they were successful in some ways and in many ways not successful. And they failed partly because they did not take into account the way of life of the Highlands. The failure of regional policy has sometimes been due to the failure to define our aims. The aims of the Common Market regional policy are to right the imbalance between the regions and, in the words of the amendment, to reduce the differences existing between the various regions". These imbalances or differences are chiefly the differences—

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

Would the right hon. Gentleman bear in mind that in debating the amendment we are not talking about regional policies? Does he intend to say whether he accepts that we should debate proposals and approve them?

Photo of Mr Jo Grimond Mr Jo Grimond , Orkney and Shetland

The amendment is about regional policies. It has been moved. Therefore, it is in order and I intend to make a speech about it.

The imbalances are largely the difference between income per head in Hamburg, at one end of the scale, at 4,700 dollars on the average and in Calabria, on the other, at 756 dollars per head. They are to some extent about unemployment.

The aim to close this difference is an important aim, but it is only one of the aims that should be in the forefront of regional policy. One feature that these figures do not take into account is the differences of life in these places. They are founded on statistics which are open to grave suspicion. For instance, our own statistics are founded on leaving out women's work entirely and counting in such things as the production of drugs: thalidomide comes into our statistics, but not women's work. As for unemployment statistics, those for my constituency are even more suspect. Further, there is the element of depopulation, which is important.

Finally and most important, one of the aims of regional policy should be to foster the distinctive character of the regions and give them more control over their own affairs and enable them to retain their cleverest and most enterprising people instead of losing them to all the conurbations and also to enable the different regions of Europe to make their contribution to the whole. Therefore, it is not sufficient to establish work of any sort on some central policy, work which may have no roots in the region concerned, which may be given entirely through branch factories which may be liable to be closed if there is anything in the nature of a slump.

Secondly, the failure of regional policy is frequently a failure to decentralise decision making. This is relevant to our entry into the Common Market. Population and wealth follow on decisions and where they are made. For instance, if the capital of Great Britain were transferred to Sunderland or Inverness, there would be an enormous access of wealth and employment in those areas. So long as decision making, whether governmental, economic, or social, is concentrated in certain great conurbations, the other areas will suffer, because they will lose their best people and much of their wealth.

Thirdly, we must deliberately try to improve the environment in the regions which we wish to promote through investment, investment for physical and social and economic purposes. This is exactly what we are not doing. We shall have an enormous investment in Maplin and in the Channel Tunnel—these projects are going to the South-East of England, not to the development areas—and great investment in the House of Commons. We have already spent more than £1,000 million on Concorde. Of what benefit is that to any regional policy? Absolutely none.

I know that these are British policies, but I suspect that they will be continued in the Common Market. I am not satisfied with them and I see no reason to suppose that our entry into the Common Market will by itself reverse them. We are heavily subsidising London, particularly over transport. It is not true that we are subsidising only the outlying parts of the country.

The European regional policy should begin with the question of where the decisions are to be made. If everything is to be concentrated on Brussels and the Golden Triangle, the policy is doomed to fail from the start. All of history shows that. There is also a realisation in many regions that they do not want capital-intensive industries. They wish to retain their people and to have labour-intensive industries.

Are the Government pushing these considerations in Brussels? If so, can they say what they are telling the Community about the establishment of regional offices? How are they to administer the Community policies? Will it be entirely through Governments, through Brussels, or how else? I see the great danger of the Regional Development Fund being regarded as a quid pro quo for the CAP, and that is not what it is all about.

There are many questions still to be answered about what benefits we may expect from certain other aspects of the Community institutions. The Social Fund was mentioned, but we have not been told by the Government if it is available for regional development. There is also the European Investment Bank. How far is the European Coal and Steel Community interested in regional development? These are questions which we have the right to put to the Government and which the Government should put to Brussels.

We should get some sort of report back from Brussels about what the policies will be. There is the possibility that the status of certain areas, such as parts of the South-West of England, might be changed. That would be disastrous. There is also the question whether we should be allowed to continue help to transport and retain the regional employment premium. These are legitimate matters to raise in a debate of this sort, even though we may not be debating the whole impact of regional policy. We must press the Government not simply to be allowed to maintain their existing policies, which are only partially successful and are open to criticism, but to go for a departure in regional development which will be based on some devolution of decision making and take into account the various potentialities of the different regions.

This is a good but highly bureaucratic report. It seems to assume that the Europeans are essentially all of one type: they are not. They are culturally, historically and economically entirely different. I press the Government not only to maintain our rights to continue with what is good in our policies, but to take fresh initiatives in Brussels so that we may have a more successful policy than we have had in the past.

4.54 p.m.

Photo of Mr Henry Brewis Mr Henry Brewis , Galloway

The right hon. Member for Orkney and Shetland (Mr. Grimond) touched on many uncertainties of European regional policy and I hope that I shall be able to mention some of them. We should welcome the statement by Mr. George Thomson, the Commissioner responsible for regional development. Until now any footloose international industry or national firm has been able to shop around to see in which European country the highest inducements can be obtained. On many occasions, countries were prepared to outbid each other to get a desirable project and if that is so it merely means that more inducements are being given than are necessary to persuade industry to establish itself in new locations.

When the new regional policy comes into force the more glaring inequalities between the various inducements offered will be ironed out and I am sure that in improving the conditions of the Highlands or Calabria a free-for-all on inducements is not necessary. For many years Britain has operated a disincentive policy in the congested areas by withholding industrial development certificates. It has been impossible, however, to enforce that policy too rigidly. Even during the years of the Labour Government the major part of new factory building was in the non-development areas. If a multi-national company says that it will expand at Dagenham or go abroad, it is extremely difficult to argue with it and in the many years that we were out of the European Community we lost a great many jobs and much investment through our companies setting up abroad.

Photo of Mr John Biffen Mr John Biffen , Oswestry

Does my hon. Friend therefore think that with subsequent United Kingdom membership of the Community the rate of investment by United Kingdom firms in the Community will diminish rather than increase?

Photo of Mr Henry Brewis Mr Henry Brewis , Galloway

I have today received a paper on what is going on which shows that a German electronics firm is to set up in Scotland, so that the investment is obviously going both ways.

I wanted to discuss the proposal in the regional policy to tackle congestion. It has much to recommend it. So far, we have no details of how congestion in the big conurbations is proposed to be tackled. It might be by a tax, and that seems most probable. It will take the strain off the need for vast expenditure on infrastructure such as hospitals, housing and motorways in a great megalopolis like London. In time, a congestion disincentive policy would improve the environment as is happening in Glasgow now with the policy of overspill to attractive new towns.

Another advantage of a congestion tax is that it would cost the Exchequer nothing. Such a tax could have been counter-productive when Britain was not in the Community. But if it is at a harmonised rate and is levied in the 20 or so largest conurbations in the Community it might be a most invaluable weapon in regional policy. Such a tax could well help with the solution of the problem of the intermediate areas. I would envisage that the IDC system will continue and will be quite acceptable to the European Commission. But if we try to include all the assisted areas in Britain in the European regional policy, we shall be seeking to cover 65 per cent. of the land surface of the British Isles and 55 per cent. of the people.

There are even deeper disparities of income on the Continent. In my part of South-West Scotland in 1972 the unemployment rate was 5·8 per cent. That was the fourth highest in Britain after Northern Ireland, the Highlands and North-West Wales. But in Belgium, there were seven regions worse off and in Italy more than 40. If 3·5 per cent. were to be regarded as the threshold for help in the European regional policy a large part of the land area could be covered and there would be a danger of spreading the jam much too thinly. Our experience has been that regional policy is more effective if it is concentrated on growth points. I am concerned not so much for the intermediate areas which would be helped by the proposals for discouraging congestion, but more for the special development areas, Northern Ireland and the Highlands. Their competitive edge must be maintained, though I agree with what the right hon. Member for Orkney and Shetland said about the distinctive character of certain regions in Europe. Here again, we can be comforted that many areas in Europe have higher migration rates, not only in Italy but also in parts of France, Belgium and Denmark, to name just a few.

During the speech of the right hon. Member for Stepney (Mr. Shore) I referred to the European Social Fund. We must take it into account when we talk about regional policies and competition policies. The social policy is concerned with full and better employment. It inludes such items as grants for retraining, help for school-leavers to obtain their first job, and helping prematurely retired workers. In addition, there is a proposal to pay employment premiums, aimed at creating new jobs in undeveloped and declining regions. I hope that the Government will have in mind the many representations made by the regions about regional employment premium. It has been a valuable weapon, and its withdrawal might well mean the loss of many jobs. I hope that my right hon. Friend who replies will be able to tell me whether it can be tied up with the proposals in the social policy.

I think that the regional policy proposed by Mr. Thomson is a very promising start towards ironing out some of the disparities which have already been mentioned in the debate and improving the quality of life in the new Europe we are creating.

5.1 p.m.

Photo of Mr David Marquand Mr David Marquand , Ashfield

As this is a very brief debate, and as I promised Mr. Speaker when I told him that I wanted to take part that I would be as brief as possible, I hope that the hon. Member for Galloway (Mr. Brewis) will forgive me if I do not comment on what he said.

I agreed with a great deal of what my right hon. Friend the Member for Stepney (Mr. Shore) said in opening the debate. I hope that he does not think that that statement is a kiss of death, coming from me. But I strongly disagreed with one thing that he said. In reply to an intervention from one of my hon. Friends, he said that we were voting against any transfer of sovereignty from this House to Brussels. That is not what is in the motion, and it is not Labour Party policy. I have no intention of voting against any transfer of sovereignty of any kind from this House to Brussels. That should be stated quite clearly at this stage.

I thought that the Minister was unduly complacent in what he said about the distinction between central and peripheral areas. He is right that the level of grants available in so-called central areas would certainly make my constituency, which is in an intermediate area, very happy. But he was unduly complacent in accepting that ludicrously anachronistic, crude and artificial distinction in the first place. It is part of the Old Testament of the Commission. It is a distinction which is utterly unhelpful in trying to decide which are the problem regions where help is needed, and it should be abandoned as quickly as possible. The criteria suggested in Mr. Thomson's Green Paper are totally incompatible with the distinction between central and peripheral areas.

It is unfortunate that the Minister, speaking for Her Majesty's Government, did not give a clearer indication that the Government will press as rapidly as possible for the abandonment of the central-peripheral distinction and press instead for the adoption of the George Thomson distinction, which is much more helpful.

My right hon. Friend emphasised that we were talking about British regional policies, not about Common Market regional policies, but I thought that both he and the Minister were unduly complacent about the success of regional British policies and about the success of national regional policies in any member State of the Community. The enlarged Community will rapidly face a major crisis unless it quickly adopts a much more stringent and effective Community policy than anything we have seen in the past to supplement the national policies, whose inadequacy has been proved by the experience of the past 15 or 20 years.

My right hon. Friend the Member for Stepney shakes his head, but every member State of the EEC, ourselves included, has adopted regional policies over the past 15–20 years, and none of them can remotely pretend to have solved the problem of regional imbalance and inequality, certainly not this country. Italy has probably made the greatest progress, but although the gap between North and South has narrowed to some extent the South still has a long way to go before it reaches the point of self-sustaining economic growth.

The experience of the past 15–20 years has demonstrated that reliance on national policies alone is doomed to failure. We can grapple effectively with the stubborn problem of regional imbalance only if national policies are supplemented by supra-national policies at the Community level.

In the few minutes that I have I should like to concentrate on the nature of the pan-European strategy which I should like to see evolve. First, it is essential that the Community should now recognise openly and explicitly that the ideology set out in the Rome Treaty is not only irrelevant to the needs of the weaker regions but is positively detrimental to them. The fundamental assumption running through the Rome Treaty is that the road to prosperity lies through freer competition. Member States are allowed to temper the wind to the shorn lamb of regional weakness in various ways, and have done so, but the essential assumption is that the road to prosperity is freer competition.

That approach is fundamentally detrimental to the needs of the weaker regions. The Commission must therefore recognise explicitly and openly what it has already tacitly recognised, that the ideology is no longer adequate.

Secondly, it is necessary to stress that if we are to solve the problem of regional imbalances in the enlarged Community it is useless to adopt a Gaullist approach. The problem can be tackled effectively only by achieving massive transfers of resources from the wealthier regions of Europe to the poorer regions. These transfers must take place across national frontiers as well as across regional frontiers. It is ludicrous to imagine that this can be done by a Community of nine separate States, each fighting jealously for what share of the cake it can get, and each refusing to give up any part of its national sovereignty. The weaker regions above all stand to benefit from greater integration and stronger Community institutions.

Photo of Mr David Marquand Mr David Marquand , Ashfield

I would rather not give way, because this is a very brief debate, and many other hon. Members wish to speak.

My next points concern the specific elements in the regional strategy that I should like to see developed. First, there is the question of the fund. Nobody in the debate has yet given a figure of what he thinks the fund should be. I believe that we should aim, not in the immediate future, but in the medium term, at a regional development fund of approximately 1 per cent. of the combined gross national products of all the member States of the enlarged Community.

That would come at present to approximately 7,000 million dollars a year. That is much larger than any figure which has yet been mentioned. I should like to see the Government aim at that figure.

Photo of Mr David Marquand Mr David Marquand , Ashfield

The hon. Member for Galloway (Mr. Brewis) mentioned—and he is absolutely right—that in most of the Common Market countries, apart from Great Britain and Italy, far too little emphasis has been placed on employment subsidies and too much emphasis has been placed on incentives to capital investment. The Community itself and not just the member States of the Com- munity, should evolve something similar to a regional employment premium covering the whole of the enlarged Community. Experience of the recent past shows clearly that if we rely exclusively on capital incentives we shall spend more and more money to less and less effect.

An effective Community strategy will also necessitate giving a much larger role to public enterprise than any member State, ourselves included, has given it so far. Italy has used its public sector actively to develop the south of Italy, but no other member State of the enlarged Community has used the public sector as part of a co-ordinated strategy. Some time ago the Commission proposed setting up a holding company which would have the power to take minority holdings in firms operating in the more backward regions of the enlarged Community. I do not know what has happened to that proposal. It does not seem to figure in the latest Green Paper. That proposal should be resuscitated and pressed vigorously.

I agree with the hon. Member for Galloway when he said that we need to have a Community-wide congestion policy. In Britain the stick of the IDC has been an essential part of our regional policy. In France there have been the rather less effective controls over building in the Paris region. A congestion tax, as suggested in the Green Paper, should play a major part of in the Community's regional development policy.

We are facing a vast problem, which can be solved only over a long time, and only by international action. If national Governments continue to rely solely on their own small-scale policies, dealing only with the aspects of the problem of direct concern to them, all the poorer regions of Europe will suffer. We must work together to create a Europe from which all the citizens and not simply the favoured few in the golden triangle can benefit.

5.14 p.m.

Photo of Mr Robert Hicks Mr Robert Hicks , Bodmin

It is necessary to emphasise at the beginning of my remarks that I believe that to obtain the maximum return from any regional policy it is essential to have an expanding domestic economy. That must be stated because in the past we have tended to put far too much emphasis on the belief that regional policies in themselves will alleviate many of the problems facing the regions. In fact, there must be a combination of the two approaches.

The hon. Member for Ashfield (Mr. Marquand) was right when he said that no country, and particularly our own, over the past decade has been successful in solving the problems facing the difficult regions. In the past we have tended to believe that by putting more money into regional policies we shall automatically succeed in the end. Of course, events have proved that unfortunately this is not the position.

We have at present an expanding economy. I hope that we shall be able to sustain the present rate of economic growth because that will give the nation, and the regions themselves, the opportunity to alleviate some of the real problems with which they are faced.

As I have said, regional aids do not in themselves basically create growth and wealth. They are primarily instruments for influencing the distribution of our centres of economic and social activity. We now have as good an opportunity of ameliorating regional disparities as we have had at any sime since the early 1930s when Governments first accepted the obligation to involve themselves with the problems of the regions. We have a good opportunity because we have the combination of an expanding economy backed by a detailed yet flexible fabric of regional aids which are the consequence of the Industry Act 1972.

Against that favourable background it is vital that there should be no weakening of resolve and, what is more, no lessening of the quantity or quality of regional assistance. In the context of regional policies there are two aspects which have confronted us this afternoon. The first is concerned with the evolution of a Community regional policy. The second concerns our own national regional policy and in particular the designation of peripheral and central areas. It is on the latter aspect that I shall concern my remarks.

Concern about national regional policy arises from the implementation of Article 154 of the Treaty of Accession. Immediate attention is focused on that because we must make a decision by 1st July 1973. I have a constituency interest because 75 per cent. of the Bodmin division is located within the South-West development area. The remainder falls within the Plymouth intermediate area. At present within the South-West development area unemployment is below the national average. Thus, there is a danger that it might appear that the area is not in need of selective assistance. I must remind right hon. and hon. Members that less than 18 months ago I made a speech in which I drew attention to the fact that unemployment in the South-West development area was the second highest of all the United Kingdom development areas.

At present average incomes in the area, according to Inland Revenue statistics, are still the second lowest of all the United Kingdom development areas. Although we have now satisfied the job quantity problem there is still a real need to improve job quality opportunities. That is why it is essential that there is no reduction in the level of incentives to attract the type of suitable economic activity which the South-West urgently requires.

I shall digress for one moment. Other Government activities, such as using the technique of the Hardman Report to alleviate our job quality problems, may well help.

The House will appreciate that the problems facing the South-West differ somewhat from those facing other development areas.

We are not an old industrial region requiring rejuvenating in both economic and social terms. We are largely a rural area, dependent on agriculture, horticulture, inland fishing and tourism, with only scattered light industry. But because we do not have the number of people involved or the scale of industrial development or the scale of industrial decline prevalent in other development areas this does not mean that our problems are any less than those of, say, Scotland or Wales.

I welcome the assurance given by my right hon. Friends the Prime Minister and the Minister for Industrial Development that there will no reduction in the level of aid to the assisted areas. As I understand it, the level of aid given by the Exchequer to our development and intermediate areas does not exceed the 20 per cent. ceiling figure which differentiates a peripheral region from a central area. What worries me, however, is what will be the situation at the end of the transitional period. I understand, having served on the Standing Committee which considered the Industry Act last session, that the various regional development aids we have made available for the assisted areas terminate on 1st January 1978. I should welcome clarification on this point.

In addition, what will be the position if the Community, or the Commission in particular, wishes to reduce the figure of 20 per cent. to a level lower than that which our own development areas are currently in receipt of, particularly if what is now a British development area is not granted peripheral region status as a result of the decision which must be made within the next week? I ask this question since there have been Press reports in the last month or so that the South-West development area is in the most vulnerable situation of all United Kingdom development areas. These are the worries which I have not only in my capacity as Member for Bodmin but also as one very concerned that there should be no loss in the economic momentum which the South-West development area is gaining.

Photo of Mr Neil Marten Mr Neil Marten , Banbury

I understand my hon. Friend's worries and he has a great reputation for always speaking up for his constituency and his area in this House. However, when all this is over and the issue is brought back to the House, and he is dissatisfied with it on behalf of his constituents, will he want to take a proper decision on it or just let it go by on the nod?

Photo of Mr Robert Hicks Mr Robert Hicks , Bodmin

I shall meet the problem when I have to face it.

I support the point made by the hon. Member for Ashfield that the two-class definition between peripheral and central areas is much too restrictive. Within the United Kingdom at the moment, we have four types of assisted area. France has five. I hope, therefore, that the Government will use their influence to grade the system of selective assistance to take into account the individual needs of particular areas and in doing so give greater flexibility to the system.

I believe that it is highly desirable that the South-West development area should be classified as a peripheral region in order to maintain the momentum which has been generated in the last 12 months or so. We have made progress. but, on the other hand, if we are to put right the pockets of unemployment which still exist and particular problems such as lack of job quality opportunity, it is necessary that we sustain the present level of assistance and I hope that the Government have taken that message on board.

5.25 p.m.

Photo of Mr Geoffrey Rhodes Mr Geoffrey Rhodes , Newcastle upon Tyne East

A year or so ago, Members of both parties, divided between themselves as they were, waded into a debate on regional policies within the European Economic Community—some with enthusiasm rather than information—and wondered what would be the consequences to the regions of our country of entering the EEC. A mass of statistics —and as a former statistician I am aware that statistics can be used to prove anything—were thrown about. I argued that those of us on the periphery of the EEC, in Britain's development areas, would have very grave problems subsequent to British entry.

I was never one of those who fought against the Common Market in principle. I spent a great deal of time studying the subject and I did not reach my conclusions about the regions, as some people did, on preconceived theories of being pro or anti-Common Market in the first place. More recently, at Whit-sun, I spent some time again in the periphery of the Community, with the good fortune also of having several hours privately in the company of George Thomson, an old and trusted friend, who is now responsible for the EEC's regional policies.

Of one thing I have been completely certain for many years, and still am. Our entry into the EEC does not in itself help to solve our regional problems but could—and I use the term carefully—make them considerably worse. The House need not take my word for it. I was scoffed at last year by some of my hon. Friends, but now I point out to them that shortly before Albert Borschette left the job of Regional Commissioner, he became a little more forthright about the lack of success of European regional policies than he had been in earlier years. According to the European Communities Press Department, he stated towards the end of 1971: Economic disparities between the E.E.C. regions are in many cases great and in some cases are increasing … left entirely to itself industrial centralisation may easily feed on itself. …Changes and improvements in the transport network are conferring new privileges on the areas near the growth points. New industries establish themselves for preference near the big centres of large scale consumption. This is what I called at the time the centripetal pull.

At that time, my hon. Friend the Member for Ashfield (Mr. Marquand) and some other of my hon. Friends, who are sitting together at the present time, were decrying strongly words used by me which were subsequently in effect used by Mr. Borschette and the words which my hon. Friend has himself been using today. There has been a change of tune and a realisation on the part of those who have begun to study the problem more closely that some of us were right a year ago, when we said that there was a great deal to worry about in EEC regional policy.

I am not attacking my hon. Friend. He was not even the main person who decried these warnings, but many of those who voted against the party whip at the time argued that we were talking rot, that all the things we had already done for the regions we could do in future, and that in any case the Europeans in the EEC had solved their own regional problems better than we had. Later, Mr. Borschette let the cat out of the bag. It had been seen by many hon. Members already but not by all!

People will not easily give up their national sovereignty whatever we do in this House. It is inevitable and we must be realistic.

European regional aid will be only a supplement to existing national aid or it could be some kind of deterrent to existing national aid. The size of European regional aid could be of crucial significance. Where it goes could be even more important. Figures have been bandied around. The right hon. Member for Orkney and Shetland (Mr. Grimond) who is not here now, seemed to know what the figures are. Some speak of £50 million a year for the European regional aid fund, which is peanuts. George Thomson has told me that he would like £500 million a year, which is barely sufficient.

We have to put our point, which is that we have put a great deal of money into the Community and will continue to do so through the common agricultural policy. We shall have to fight hard, not to obtain quid pro quo, but to get regional funds from the Community for this country. Mr. Monod has been spoken of already. He is the Director-General of France's Regional Development Committee. He is on record recently as saying that the European regional fund should be "modest". When he spoke, he seemed to be almost proud of the fact that the French—and they have great problems in the South-West and West—spend only £45 million a year on their regional programme compared with our £450 million a year. He seemed to think that this was something of which he ought to be proud, that he was saving his Government's money.

What he did not tell us, and he is a very astute young man, was that France has gained an enormous amount of European money through the common agricultural policy and that that amount is a form of regional aid going to the weaker parts of France. We ought to tell the French this in no uncertain terms in our negotiations. I hope that our Ministers will do so. The Chancellor of the Duchy has already said something about this recently in his speech in Scotland.

It is still true that Europe has not fully realised that the regional problems of the United Kingdom are essentially different from those of practically every other member of the Community.

Our regional aid has always been mainly directed towards the declining areas in the centres of the old industrial revolution, whereas European national regional aid has tended to go to the poorer agricultural regional areas. The rural population, particularly in France and Italy, forms a much larger proportion of the total electorate than it does here, to strike a cynical note. I have spent a lot of time in these parts of France and Italy. Regional aid in these areas is a matter of politics just as much as it is in this country. To date, the regional policies of the Community have been failures and in effect Mr. Borschette admitted this. If they have not all been failures, then they have been of negligible importance. They have been restrictive so that the Commission has tried to impede out-bidding subsidies, to harmonise competition between member States, or they have been selective, trying to pin down aid into certain areas.

The pressures have always been basically political pressures exerted by politicians through Ministers upon the Commission. Those who know how the machine works know that this is true. I suspect that when we see what comes out after 1st July, we will see that the new Commissioner for Competition, Mr. Borschette, gets what Mr. Borschette wants. It is he who will determine what will be done, rather than George Thomson. This is true in terms of personalities and power politics within the Community and the European Economic Commission.

George Thomson told me, and has subsequently publicly announced, that there are three basic criteria for determining European regional aid. The first is the outward migration of population, the second is the current per capita income in the region, and the third is the current level of unemployment.

When the Chancellor of the Duchy mentioned this, some of his hon. Friends said that it was a jolly good basis. It is not. What worries me is that the old agricultural areas nearly always score more heavily for aid on that combination than do the declining industrial areas. To put it simply, although the North-East of England has terrible problems, it compares more favourably—in terms of its non-qualification for aid on these criteria —than does Mezzo-Giorno or the South-West of France or Eire. If we use that kind of yardstick it will be found that many parts of the United Kingdom, even development areas, at present receiving aid would not do so. They receive it now because of the long political traditions and the industrial history of this country, which many of our European friends do not understand.

When the Commission declares on 1st July what it would like the central areas to be within which national governments should give only up to 20 per cent. investment aid for new buildings, and when it defines the peripheral areas, I suspect that on these criteria it will in- evitably be the South of Italy and the South-West of France and Eire, and just possibly Scotland and Wales which will gain. There is a threat to every development area and every "grey area" in England on the basis of these criteria.

I have been through these figures with economists who are far more competent to deal with them than I am. Everyone has seen the maps. George Thomson showed them to me. He went through the figures and said, "On those figures it is possibly just true perhaps that the North-East would not qualify. In the end it is power politics that decides these things." So it is.

My worry is that this Government have so little to lose politically in the old Victorian industrial revolution areas, that the political pressures may not be as powerful as I would like them to be—let alone the power of Britain to negotiate effectively within the Community. What worries me most of all is that these decisions will not be taken here, but in Brussels. In the long run that is the biggest tragedy of this debate.

5.38 p.m.

Photo of Mr Anthony Fell Mr Anthony Fell , Yarmouth

I have promised you, Mr. Speaker, that I shall be brief because I have decided that I shall vote for the motion. Perhaps I may be allowed to explain why. If this debate has proved one thing beyond a peradventure it is that this House wants to debate the subject upon which every hon. Member has so far concentrated his remarks. It is interesting to note that Labour Members have spoken on the supposition that the motion will be lost. So they have tried to make their speeches knowing that they will not be able to make them later.

Conversely, most of my hon. Friends have spoken simply on the question of the development areas knowing jolly well that their weak wishy-washy amendment would succeed and that there would not therefore be an opportunity to discuss these matters before decisions are taken in Brussels.

I remember very well on previous occasions that many of my hon. and right hon. Friends, including my right hon. Friends the Members for Thirsk and Malton (Sir Robin Turton), Wolverhampton, South-West (Mr. Powell), my right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Hertfordshire, East (Sir D. Walker-Smith), my hon. Friends the Members for Banbury (Mr. Marten) and Oswestry (Mr. Biffen) took a very strong view that we might lose some of the power of this House over decisions taken to guide the affairs of the nation and shape our future. This was called sovereignty. Everyone now sniffs at sovereignty and says that it does not matter if we lose a bit of it, that we lose a bit of our sovereignty in international affairs every time we make an agreement.

Suppose that my right hon. Friend forgot that the motion had been tabled by the Conservative Party's enemies on the other side of the House. Surely he could not have had much to grumble about. He may have had a hand in framing the amendment, although I cannot believe that he is so wishy-washy and inaccurate as to have had much of a hand in it. Let me read the motion to my right hon. Friend: That this House calls upon Her Majesty's Government not to accept any decision of the EEC Commission affecting the regional policies of the United Kingdom until this House has debated and approved it. Has he very much against that? Is he so little a parliamentarian? I have the greatest admiration for my right hon. Friend, because, unlike some people, I thought that he became an important parliamentarian more quickly than it was possible to believe. I thought great things of him. Is it possible that he can disagree fundamentally with the motion?

Photo of Mr Neil Marten Mr Neil Marten , Banbury

May we have an answer now?

Photo of Mr Anthony Fell Mr Anthony Fell , Yarmouth

Does my right hon. Friend think that matters which affect all the regions of this country should not be debated by the House? Does he think that this miserable, three-hour charade of a debate is sufficient?

If my right hon. Friend thinks that the motion is too strong, why could not most of it stand, and why could not a sensible amendment be tabled, adding one or two matters which might have made it more acceptable to the Government? Why is it necessary to table an amendment which crosses out the whole of the Opposition's very good motion? It does not matter whose motion it is. I should have thought that the Opposition's motion would be acceptable to the vast majority of hon. Members. Yet, what do my right hon. and hon. Friends in the Government do? They cross out the whole motion and then propose the weakest amendment one has ever seen.

Photo of Mr Neil Marten Mr Neil Marten , Banbury

My hon. Friend is making the same point that I made. My right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster promised to answer it in his speech and he forgot to do so. I know that these things happen. I was a Minister and occasionally I forgot to deal with points. Would not this be a good moment for my right hon. Friend to intervene to answer my hon. Friend's point so that he might continue his speech?

Photo of Mr Anthony Fell Mr Anthony Fell , Yarmouth

Hon. Members know that if anyone wishes to intervene I give way. However, I hope that hon. Members will not interrupt me too much because otherwise I shall not fulfil my promise to Mr. Speaker. If my right hon. Friend would like, on the prompting of my hon. Friend the Member for Banbury (Mr. Marten), to answer the point, I should be delighted to give way.

The motion requests that the House should debate and approve matters which might affect the regions of this country. I still cannot think why the Government could not stomach it. Instead they have tabled an amendment which acknowledges the declared intention of the European Communities to ensure the harmonious development of the economies of Member States by reducing the differences existing between the various regions. … Marvellous. It is weak, but it is nice and pretty and everybody is happy. The amendment goes on to say that the House welcomes the progress made by the EEC Commission towards a Regional Development Fund …". My right hon. Friend told us some of the progress made. It was a bit unintelligible and would not mean much to specific areas, but it was all right as far as it went. If he is happy about the matter, as he said, why not accept the motion and have a debate on it? The situation is beyond craziness.

The amendment ends by recognising that this House will wish to debate these issues". It is surprising to me that the people responsible for the amendment did not put "some time" after will wish to debate these issues". That would have been as intelligible as this miserable, weak-kneed amendment.

I beg my hon. Friends to think twice before going into the Lobby against the motion, which advocates doing what every Member who has spoken has tried to do, namely, to debate these issues properly and not in a three-hour skimped and rushed affair.

5.46 p.m.

Photo of Mr Neil McBride Mr Neil McBride , Swansea East

I support the proposition advanced by my right hon. Friend the Member for Stepney (Mr. Shore) and I share the view of the hon. Member for Yarmouth (Mr. Fell) that it is important that the House should debate and approve any decision of the EEC Commission affecting the regional policies of the United Kingdom. The House still has some dominion over our affairs and I am grateful for the fact that Britain is not as yet, in all completeness, a province of Europe.

There is great concern in Wales over the nature of the EEC's regional policy and its effects on the Principality. That concern is heightened by the decisions which will be made by the EEC Commission on 1st July. Those decisions will be made as a result of an agreement which this country had to accept—and I accuse the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster of knowing that—and which was framed in 1971. It is because of the directive limiting aid to regions that we are debating this matter today.

Wales asks for peripheral status. It is literally on the periphery of the Common Market as presently constituted. The proposals drawn up by Mr. Borschette confirm the worst fears of those of us who oppose the Common Market and condemn the Ministers, including the Secretary of State for Wales, who declared that Wales would benefit substantially and that the Principality would be all right on the day. I have news for the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster: it will not. The hoped-for financial assistance from the regional fund for Wales will be less than was expected and with the waygoing of the euphoric period of post-treaty accession joy now long departed Wales is faced with the realities of the situation which we predicted. I accuse the Minister of being aware of that.

On 19th June Mr. Jerome Monod, France's leading expert on regional policy, said that the proposed EEC regional development fund should be relatively modest in size. That is a most interesting observation, coming from the representative of France, the senior member of the European Community.

It is equally interesting to note that there is a political battle going on because France and West Germany are not keen to make vast contributions to the proposed regional development fund. I was in Brussels on 15th and 16th of this month—that is where I got the information, right in the building. When I went to Brussels I was a confirmed anti-marketeer, deeply apprehensive. I returned confirmed in my opposition and with a serious sense of alarm. Mr. Monod declared that there was no point in establishing a regional development fund in the EEC if it is to be regarded as an account to compensate States which are receiving little from other funds as Mr. Monod said certain partners seemed desirous of doing. The right honourable Gentleman is engaged in a fierce scramble for money to offset our heavy contribution to the common agricultural policy. He is on the defensive, and Wales is apprehensive. That is a deliberate slap in the face for the United Kingdom Tory Government.

During my visit to Brussels nowhere did I find anyone willing to declare even tentatively how Wales would benefit from the proposed development fund. All inquiries were met with a blank wall of silence. I was there with six of my honourable Friends, and we are all entitled to be considered people of probity. We were astounded.

It is common knowledge that if the proposed regional fund is to be of any material assistance to nations such as Wales, the minimal aid given to the regions should be not £50 million but at least £150 million to £250 million, and if the aid is to be adequate it should be £500 million. Will France and Germany agree to that? Let the Minister say so. He cannot. According to the present intentions of France and Germany — particularly France — adequate regional assistance cannot be contemplated.

On 1st July, according to Mr. Borschette's proposals, Wales will be classed as a central area and will receive only 20 per cent. of the cost of any given investment project.

Fierce infighting is going on between the six original members of the EEC to secure the best possible deal for themselves. Will they allow Wales to become more attractive to investors? The EEC Commissioners have pointed out that France and Italy have had reduced aid because of EEC regulations. Will Southern Belgium and Italy allow Wales to be accorded generous treatment when they wish to be considered as peripheral partners? In parts of Southern Italy there is neither work or hope. Now everything is coming home to roost. Despite the lack of information and reports, the possible effect on Wales of the development fund is abundantly clear. I regret that the Secretary of State for Wales is not here. I have the moral courage to tell him what I think. Time and again across the Floor of the House I have asked him to give Wales the facts. In 1971 I asked the right honourable and learned Gentleman to give Wales the facts and figures, but he either could not or would not—I suspect, would not. I therefore ask, in face of the proposals announced by Mr. Borschette, backed up by the French view as expressed by Mr. Monod, how will the EEC proposals deal more effectively with regional development in Wales?

My hon. Friend the Member for Ash-field (Mr. Marquand) spoke about capital subsidies. Will not the Government be compelled by the EEC to phase out the regional employment premium because it is not in conformity with the rules of the Common Market?

Will Wales appreciate the opportunities of sharing with EEC nations the present 2·5 per cent. unemployment rate in the Community? Will Wales appreciate sharing with the EEC nations the position of school leavers who are finding that the period between leaving school and securing work is becoming longer? It is all very well to paint a picture in roseate hues but the grim, sombre undertones of reality come into it. The ghosts are walking.

The facts and figures relating to Wales have never been given to the House. I accuse the Secretary of State for Wales of dereliction of duty. He is the political shadow boxer supreme. There will be no grants from the regional development fund at least until the turn of the year. No consideration has been given by the EEC Commissioner—or perhaps by the Minister—to the massive redundancies that are threatened in the steel industry and the problem that they present to the Principality. The EEC is saying, "We do not wish to share this with you, we will not help and we do not want to know." We are frightened of this attitude and frightened of the Government.

Central regional status will not help to correct the state of imbalance in the Welsh economy. I challenge the Minister to controvert that. The ceiling of 25 per cent. for the national subsidy in central areas such as Wales is a ceiling that is also valid in central areas where Common Market aid is added to national aid. According to the rules of the Common Market, there will be no derogation from this principle.

Wales is getting the rough end of the Common Market stick in the regional policies outlined, and the aid proposed to be given is less than minimal. I seriously doubt the ability of the EEC to improve conditions in Wales, and I seriously doubt the ability of this incompetent Government to work to that end I support the motion.

5.58 p.m.

Photo of Sir Anthony Meyer Sir Anthony Meyer , Flintshire West

The hon. Member for Swansea, East (Mr. McBride) talked even more nonsense than usual. He knows perfectly well that the European social fund is available to help redundant steel workers. What he said about the effect of the EEC on the British steel industry is utter nonsense from begining to end—as was everything else he said.

I do not want to lay down the law any further in this debate. I have come here primarily to listen and to ponder what is said. It is deplored on both sides of the House that the effect of British entry to the European Community could be to inhibit British regional policy up to date. Although there are times when I believe that any kind of regional policy is a process of trying to push water uphill, I none the less believe, that an effort has to be made. Representing, as I do, a North Wales constituency, I am bound to be highly sceptical of the processes by which our present regional policy is formed.

All too often regional policy under successive Governments fluctuates and modulates in accordance with the amount of political pressure generated in this House by well-organised lobbies of Members pushing their own particular regional interests. I say this with some bitterness because we in North Wales are a weak and ineffectual lobby if only because we are not so numerous as others. Therefore, I would be the last to deplore a further internationalisation of regional policies.

Photo of Mr John Biffen Mr John Biffen , Oswestry

Would my hon. Friend reflect on what he said? Does he recollect that when he was quite properly and understandably lobbying on behalf of his constituency, he referred in this House to the intermediate development area status of Oswestry. Does he not agree that any measure which seeks to alter that status should be properly debated and approved by this House?

Photo of Sir Anthony Meyer Sir Anthony Meyer , Flintshire West

I would be the last person to wish to accuse my hon. Friend of lobbying intensively for intermediate area status for his own area. However, I must acknowledge a certain feeling of frustration about the ability in this House by using methods which have been so extolled by hon. Members on both sides of the House to arrive at the best decision in the course of such a process. This is the same sort of argument that arises over reform of local government, in relation to which most of us would concede that the arrangements finally concluded were not necessarily the best but in a great many cases reflected combinations of lobbies which happen to prevail at any particular moment. I am not convinced that this is the best way of operating.

It is not on those grounds that I wish to question the concept of our innate superiority of methods used to achieve a regional policy. There are times when I consider that it is not merely the methods we evolve to apply to the regions which should be questioned but the very aims themselves which should be thought out anew. My hon. Friend the Member for Bodmin (Mr. Hicks) and the right hon. Member for Orkney and Shetland (Mr. Grimond) raised this point and emphasised that we should not only take into account the level of unemployment. We must also consider the level of wages, the number of women who go out to work, and similar considerations.

Until I have more confidence than I have at present that our policy takes such considerations into account as fully as it should, I should not be unduly upset if I found that our national policy was being influenced more and more by considerations of our membership of the European Community. Even the best thought out national policy is inevitably somewhat parochial in approach and is bound to be influenced more by considerations of what influence can be exerted over footloose industry within the country than it is by considerations of what influence can be exerted on potential investors from outside the country and the Community. We need to take a less parochial look at the aims of regional policy than we do at present.

In my view by far the most effective forms of regional aid are not incentives or subsidies or even a congestion tax—much as I am attracted to the idea. Far more effective in their results are Government investment decisions about roads, ports, railways and airports. I voted—quite wrongly I now think—in favour of the decision on Maplin. I am convinced that the decision will have a powerful effect in sucking away Government resources from the areas where those resources are most badly needed for investment.

I have hammered out the argument week in and week out for more and better road communications in North Wales. If Wrexham and North Wales in general could be connected to the British motorway system I believe it would have a far greater effect in bringing about a higher rate of economic activity in North Wales than would incentives or special bribes to attract industry to the area.

It is for these reasons and because these decisions cannot possibly be affected by British membership of the EEC or by directives from Brussels that I am convinced that it is still open to the Government to pursue a regional policy every bit as effective as that which has been pursued to date. I believe that the Opposition motion is misconceived and I shall have no hesitation in supporting the amendment.

6.5 p.m.

Photo of Mr John Mackintosh Mr John Mackintosh , Berwickshire and East Lothian

I agree with many of the remarks of the hon. Member for Flint, West (Sir A. Meyer). In these debates, as in most EEC-type debates, we experience curious inversions of position compared with the normal straightforward political issues. For example, I represent a constituency in a developing or under-developed area and we need as much regional aid as we can get and as much as we have been able to squeeze out of successive Governments.

I have been dissatisfied with the regional policy of the present Government. In my constituency we have struggled to obtain more regional assistance. We have agricultural and fishing industries, we are a diminishing industrial area, and we need support. Therefore, I was surprised to find my right hon. Friend the Member for Stepney (Mr. Shore) suggesting that in this country we had a good regional policy which was in danger of being smashed by some demons from Brussels. I take the reverse view. I believe that we have had an inadequate regional policy. I am not sure whether it will be improved, but whatever help comes out of the Common Market I welcome as a supplement to our own regional aid policy. It is to this matter that we should be directing our energies.

A significant point was made by the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster in pointing out that the regional percentage of aid to intermediate development areas in this country was 4 per cent. After hearing a figure like that, who is worried about an EEC ceiling for the central area of 20 per cent.?

Up to the middle of last year, hon. Members on this side of the House representing constituencies similar to mine pressed the Conservative Government to tell the House the net percentage of aid which they were giving to industry coming to Scotland. The Government were coy about the matter. They twisted in and out, they talked of discounted profits and all the rest of it. Eventually, with great assistance from the right hon. Member for Orkney and Shetland (Mr. Grimond) we got out of the Government a percentage figure in respect of Scotland. The figure amounted to 6 per cent. to 7 per cent. net aid in the area—that was the percentage of aid to Scotland under a Tory Government.

I was interested to know why the Government in their Industry Act pushed up the aid figure to 20 per cent. Why was there a sudden change of heart by the Tory Government in August 1972, a Government which had dragged their feet on regional policy for the first two and a half years of their existence? Why were my friends in the Regional Development Division of the Scottish Office suddenly tickled pink that all their arguments about raising age levels had been suddenly accepted? The answer is clear: the Government wanted to go to Brussels and say that the peripheral areas were receiving higher aid than Brussels might agree to.

They would have found it difficult to argue that the essential areas were being given less aid than the maximum suggested by Mr. Borschette. Therefore, they had to pitch British aid much higher than the level which the Community said was the proper level. In this way, they thought, they would have a credible argument for saying that other areas should get more. If the harmonisation is to be an upward process, I am absolutely behind it.

If Mr. Borschette was contemplating this level of grant in Brussels, why did he choose 20 per cent. in the Community in terms of regional development policy? The answer is that he had to go for the highest figure which was then being canvassed. It was politically impracticable to ask any country to cut its regional aid and it had to be pitched at the maximum. Our Government had to match the Six and to say that our aid was at least as good as that in the Community which we were joining. I am behind any aspect of regional policy if it works and politically one hopes that it will work. No country will see a major cut in this aspect of its policy to please the European Community.

We have the chance, if we want to go higher than 20 per cent., or to have some new development, to go to the next summit meeting of Prime Ministers, the next heavy pressure bargaining meeting, and to make a political demand of this kind. If we can push up the level, we shall benefit ourselves and other countries with regional problems. I see no suggestions that the total amount of aid available for our developing areas will decline under the application of Community harmonisation rules.

One matter which worries me deeply was touched on by my hon. Friend the Member for Newcastle-upon-Tyne, East (Mr. Rhodes). It concerns what will happen when the regional policy comes from the Community. I am frightened that the British Treasury is taking the view that it is spending as much as it ought to spend on regional policy and that there is no economic case, as I suspect many Tories believe, for spending more. As a result, I fear that any money for regional development that we get from Brussels will be regarded as meaning that we need spend that much less. We do not want that. We want to ensure that any aid from Brussels is a supplement to what we spend and not a substitute for it.

For this reason, the argument of my hon. Friend the Member for Newcastle-upon-Tyne, East, that the object of going for a regional policy in Europe is to get a quid pro quo for the CAP across the exchanges, is disastrous and misconceived. It is disastrous for several reasons, chiefly that the worse way of selling a policy in Europe is to put it forward simply as a method of getting money back from another policy which is disliked. We should press for a sound regional policy and insist that it is a supplement for the policies that we have developed in this country.

I was surprised by the attack made by my hon. Friend the Member for Swansea, East (Mr. McBride) on the idea of a Community regional policy. It may be smaller than we should like to see. But, surely, we want to get anything extra that we can. We have already had this push-up to 20 per cent. under the Industry Act, which I welcome. If we can get a supplement from the Community on top of that, my only complaint will be that it is not big enough. Let us fight to get it higher.

Let us give up this paranoid approach of sheltering Britain's allegedly good regional policy from Continental lambasting. We ought to adopt quite a different approach. We ought to go in to get harmonisation upwards and the maximum benefit that we can out of regional development aid.

The official policy of the Labour Party in this matter is clear. It is that we accept at least the free trading area—the economic union of the Common Market. We may dislike the CAP and the sovereignty aspects, but we accept the EFTA content in the Common Market as a free trading area. If we accept that, we accept that the pull to the South-East will continue and we accept that the pull across the Channel into the northern industrial complex of Europe, which includes the South-East of England, will continue and become stronger. If we accept those points, it is in our interests to get a Community regional policy to offset the pull.

Hon. Members must realise that it will not be satisfactory to say that there is a European pull away from this country and that we must meet it solely by pushing British industry north and west into our regions. We must do it by getting in European capital as well as purely British capital. If that is the argument that we make, we have to plead for more integration with Europe and not less. We shall have politically to ask people in Hamburg, Paris, Dortmund and Essen to shed resources so that people in Scotland, Wales, Southern Italy and Western France may benefit. We shall not get the rich areas to shed resources to the poor areas if we say that Britain must stand out, that we are Gaullists and inward-looking.

I wanted to explain to the House the kind of regional policy I hope to see coming out of the Community. I shall not do that, because my right hon. Friend the Member for Stepney tells us that we shall have a chance to debate this in full at a later date. We in this country have learned a great deal about regional policies. We know what we want a Community regional policy to do. We want it to be big and effective because, whatever happens, we shall feel this economic, integrationist, pull.

We should not be saying that we must let the British Parliament hold on to its own. We should go to Brussels and make a case for a stronger and more effective policy. Our Members of Parliament should be in the European Parliament making these points. We should be there demanding that the regional policy is not just an offset for the CAP and that there should be no diminution by a Tory Government of what we are allowed to pay out because we get an EEC supplement. We should make a case for harmonisation upwards, for the maximum regional policy in this country, and for the largest supplement possible out of European regional funds.

6.15 p.m.

Photo of Mr Neil Marten Mr Neil Marten , Banbury

I was intrigued by the argument of the hon. Member for Berwick and East Lothian (Mr. Mackintosh), who said that it was unsound to consider the regional policy in terms of anything that we might get from it being a quid pro quo for the CAP. I agree with the hon. Gentleman. That is an unsound way of looking at it. But why was this not said before the great debate last year? The argument was used then that one of the main benefits was that we should get back through the regional policy what we had paid out through the CAP. In the same way, before the vote was taken, we were told constantly that we could not increase our growth rate or our standard of living unless we got into the Common Market. However, in 1972, my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer was claiming a 5 per cent. growth rate when that of the Common Market was 3½ per cent. My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister claimed an 8 per cent. increase in the standard of living in 1972.

Have we been misled? Those of us who opposed British entry were saying that we could increase our growth rate and our standard of living without going into the Common Market, and we have been proved right.

The hon. Member for Newcastle-upon-Tyne, East (Mr. Rhodes) made much the same point when he reminded the House that the arguments that he had put forward against the Common Market had been derided by some of his hon. Friends, who had now changed their tune and accepted what he said. All this deserves a deep examination of the way that the country has been misled time and time again about the Common Market. It has been thoroughly bad for the ethics of politics.

This has been a debate about fringe matters, relatively speaking. We do not know what the Common Market's regional policy will be. We do not know what sum we shall receive. Figures are bandied about because they are convenient. But we have heard that kind of convenient argument before. When it actually comes about it is not the same at all.

The debate is really about the one little word "approved". Is there any Government supporter in this House calling himself a Member of the British Parliament who could wish the Common Market's regional policy to be decided in Brussels and not to be approved by this Parliament? Anyone who says that this Parliament should not approve it ought to resign his seat. We were not elected to do that sort of thing.

It is extraordinary that my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster has not intervened to answer the question that I put to him when he was good enough to give way to me. That is one reason why I shall not support the Government tonight. My right hon. Friend apparently cannot or will not answer a vital question that affects the sovereignty of this Parliament.

My hon. Friend the Member for Yarmouth (Mr. Fell), in an excellent speech straight from the heart, made much the same point—that Parliament must decide these matters, not the bureaucrats in Brussels. Admittedly the Government's amendment states that we can discuss and debate the matter, but it is significant that it leaves out the fact that Parliament will decide. This is the issue on which I have been fighting the Common Market the whole time. So if we get no answer to this direct question from my right hon. Friend the Minister for Industrial Development or from my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster in an intervention, the whole House will have every right to be deeply suspicious that Parliament is being misled on this one issue. I make no bones about it.

In the same way, we are really dealing in this debate with the whole question of the way in which the Common Market is moving towards a federal State.

Action after action being taken in the Common Market seems to be moving in that way. Yet, when we ask the Prime Minister at Question Time whether he approves or disapproves of any move towards federalism, we are brushed off with the remark, "This question does not arise", and so on. But it is arising, and arising daily.

In this connection I should like to remind the House of that paragraph in the White Paper sponsoring our entry into the Common Market which stated that there would be no loss of essential national sovereignty. Surely, if Parliament cannot throw out the Common Market proposals on regional policy, we have lost an essential part of our national sovereignty.

A serious matter is being decided tonight—more serious than most people realise. The regrettable fact is that the Government benches are virtually empty and these serious arguments have not been heard by those who will later be coming in to vote on this matter. I know that it always happens, but it hurts when, on an important matter, the sovereignty of this Parliament is at stake.

Photo of Mr Anthony Fell Mr Anthony Fell , Yarmouth

If we are in a position constitutionally to decide on this kind of issue, why has my right hon. Friend put down this amendment at all?

Photo of Mr Neil Marten Mr Neil Marten , Banbury

I agree with my hon. Friend. This is a mystery to me. This is why I am deeply suspicious about it. It is no use my hon. Friends grinning, as though I am conjuring up some terrible bogy. It is terribly real.

I should like to draw the attention of the House to the speech by President Pompidou in April. I think it is called the Message to Parliament at the opening of Parliament after the elections and the new Parliament has assembled. I ask hon. Members to read it—copies can be obtained from the French Embassy—because in that speech President Pompidou makes one thing absolutely clear. Unfortunately, I have not got a copy of the speech with me, because when I came into the Chamber I had not intended to speak. However, President Pompidou makes it absolutely clear that the French Parliament must ensure the right of France to take independent decisions. This point comes out time and again in his speech. I wish that the British Government would have a word with President Pompidou about his attitude towards these matters.

I should like to ask one question about Mr. Borschette's visit to the Prime Minister some time ago to discuss these matters. I understand that an undertaking was given by Mr. Borschette that existing United Kingdom regional policies would be allowed to remain. I understand that subsequently an emissary was sent to this country by the Commission with the instruction: "The Commission does not agree with what Mr. Borschette said". Therefore, the undertaking given to the Prime Minister was invalidated. Is there any truth in that story?

I have made a speech that is not anti-Common Market but is essentially pro-British Parliament. I should not like it to be thought that my speech is anti-Common Market. I was elected to this Parliament to represent the people in my constituency. This debate is about the question whether this Parliament will have the right to throw out these Common Market proposals on regional policy if they are not satisfactory to our constituents. We must retain that right.

6.25 p.m.

Photo of Mr Robert Maclennan Mr Robert Maclennan Shadow Spokesperson (Defence)

I am glad to have the opportunity of intervening briefly towards the end of this debate because I have tried for the last five weeks to raise this matter on the Adjournment. There will not be time for me to advance a positive argument about the Community's regional development policies. However, I am glad that my right hon. Friend the Member for Stepney (Mr. Shore) has indicated that the Opposition intend to raise this wider question on another occasion. I believe that there has been a certain artificiality in the attempt to disjoin questions of State aids to industry from the wider question of regional policy generally, and I cannot altogether follow my right hon. Friend in his attempt to do that.

Those who are concerned about regional aid—all who come from development districts; and none comes from a more peripheral region than myself—must take the view that national efforts to overcome the imbalances in our economy have been wholly inadequate. This is true not only of this country but of all the member States of the Community. It is because there is a need for a massive transfer of resources across national frontiers that we recognise that we must consider this matter in an international framework.

I take the view that there are severe limitations in our national tools to steer investment to the appropriate regions. Those limitations were demonstrated clearly in the lifetime of the Labour Government. In my view, we failed to do all that we hoped by way of steering mobile investment to the development areas. I do not think that my right hon. Friend will dissent from that view. The weaknesses of our policies made it essential that we should project our efforts on a wider international framework.

In the short time at my disposal I do not want to concentrate on differences with my right hon. Friend. I want to deal with my criticisms of the Government's approach to this matter. Like many hon. Members who have spoken, including my hon. Friend the Member for Ashfield (Mr. Marquand), I take the view that the Government have not demonstrated a sufficiently clear understanding of the inadequacy of the Old Testament dispensation, as it was put by an earlier speaker, of the problem of State aids.

The division between the peripheral and central areas is highly artificial and has been recognised as such by spokesmen from the Commission, including Mr. George Thomson. Indeed, we are in a transitional phase of Community thinking and it would be helpful to the development of Community thinking on these problems if the Government would come out openly and say that this is an unacceptable system of division of aid.

I criticise the Government even more in other respects for their essentially Gaullist approach to the problems of regional development. They seem to give some substance to the French complaints about our approach and the view that we are seeking compensatory payments from Community funds for the cash that we are paying into the Common Agricultural Fund. So long as the Government adhere to this policy or give the impression that this is their reason for going for Community aid to the regions, they will have no success in creating Community resources which are adequate to deal with the tasks that face us.

We have had no positive thinking from the Government on the new tools which are necessary at Community level to develop regional policies. We heard nothing of it in the speech by the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster. We have heard nothing about the need to use public investment to steer industry to the regions. We have heard nothing in support of the Commission's proposals for location control through congestion tax. We had a rather sterile repetition of what we have had in a number of earlier debates on this subject.

The greatest weakness of all in the Gaullist approach of the Government is the failure to recognise that this is a Community problem and one which the Community institutions themselves must be empowered to tackle. We cannot go on with old-fashioned nationalism in seeking to deal with this difficulty. The Community institutions must be the instruments for bringing about the change that we seek.

A number of hon. Members have spoken in terms of the Community supplementing national efforts. This is not good enough. The Community itself must shoulder these problems and must be the principal tool for tackling them if we are to convince people, particularly in the peripheral areas of the Community, that there is something in it for them, that the Community itself cares about the gross imbalances that exist.

There is much to be welcomed in the development of Community thinking as expressed in the Green Paper of Mr. Thomson. There is, first, the recognition that this regional development is central to the Community's target of achieving EMU by 1980. There is the recognition of the moral, political and social case for strengthening regional policy and the recognition of the inadequacy of past techniques, the analytical tools that have been applied, the economics and the statistics for the comparability of problems between the member States of the Community. There is also the recognition that an adequate fund must be set up for the purpose, although no figure has been put on it. Adequacy is the most important test of all. I would go along with what my hon. Friend the Member for Ashfield said about the scale of target that we should be looking at.

We must also welcome the willingness of the Community to look at disincentives to congestion and, finally, its willingness, expressed originally in the Committee on medium-term economic planning, to contemplate a publicly-owned Community venture such as the IRI in the South of Italy, as if it were a Community-based international enterprise board to steer industry to the regions most needing it.

This challenge is the largest challenge that the Community and this country face. If this country fails to meet the challenge, we can write off any prospect of European unity by 1980.

6.33 p.m.

Photo of Mr Peter Shore Mr Peter Shore , Stepney

With leave of the House, may I briefly comment on some of the points raised in this interesting, important and worthwhile debate? I would say to my hon. Friend the Member for Caithness and Sutherland (Mr. Maclennan) and others of my hon. Friends that I am glad to hear their strong support for my proposal that before the recess we must have a major debate on the Community's emerging regional policy, when we will have the opportunity to look very carefully at the proposals that Mr. Thomson and others are making in Brussels.

It is a good common sense to counsel a little caution about what those proposals will contain. It is all very well for my hon. Friend the Member for Ashfield (Mr. Marquand) to say that, in his judgment, sums like 7,000 million dollars a year will be necessary to operate a really successful Community regional policy. He knows, as we all know, that sums of that magnitude are not easily raised, particularly if the principal beneficiaries are not the countries of the Continent of Europe but those which lie off the Continental coast—particularly Britain and Ireland.

I know that there are other areas in the Continent as well that would have a claim, but we must recognise that the Community has not had a regional policy in the 12 years of its development because that was not a priority objective for most of the countries that made up the original member States. They were much more concerned with competition policy and the world of Mr. Borschette than with the new world—we do not yet know its dimensions—of Mr. George Thomson, our old colleague here.

I agree that we cannot easily separate the control of national aids for the regions from the wider subject of what may or may not come from a new Community regional policy. It would be helpful if these two matters could be brought together. But I put it again to my hon. Friend the Member for Caithness and Sutherland that if these two matters are disjointed, they are disjointed because of the time scale involved.

The decision that I am inviting my hon. Friend to do his utmost to prevent is a decision which is to be taken by others affecting the British regions and British regional policy on 1st July this year. I believe that that decision will have a considerable impact on the British regions and British regional policy. The matter which my hon. Friend asks me to put in the scale against that, as I am willing, at the proper time, to do, is the matter which may not even come up for decision or operation at whatever minimal level under the Community Regional Fund until 1st January next year. So what we are talking about is something that is in existence and that we are being asked to balance against something that comes later and that is still entirely hypothetical, uncertain and unagreed. That is the nature of the problem.

Having said that, I should like to return to the main subject of the debate. I understand why the Minister sought to reassure us by saying that we must not get worried because the Commission and the Government would agree on the matters which they were discussing—the future definition of British regions for central or peripheral area classification under the Community's rules. I think that we would agree on the quality, the intensity, and the nature of the regional assistance which would be available to these different regions. That is what the Minister told us, but he did not go further than that.

One can reach agreement in two, or perhaps three, different ways. I can reach agreement with any hon. Members if I am prepared to agree with him. Any hon. Member can reach agreement with me if he is prepared to agree with me. Alternatively—this may be the truth—the Government may be talking about agreement that is arrived at through some compromise between the positions taken up by the Commission and the Six so far and the Government's own regional policies, which were evolved by a British Parliament and not by the European authorities at all. Which of these is it? All of these are covered by the information that agreements are being reached, but clearly only one is satisfactory to the people of this country. The other two are entirely unsatisfactory.

The right hon. Gentleman knows that he deliberately did not answer my questions. I and others put one specific question to him. We all know what our own intermediate areas are. Will they or will they not be included in the central areas of the Community? I asked him also—this is even more important, and relevant, and was reinforced by my hon. Friend the Member for Swansea, East (Mr. McBride), speaking for Wales—whether any existing development area of Britain will be subject to the lower ceilings of Community aid by being reclassified as a central area. I asked that question, and the Minister has not answered it.

This is not the first time in the history of debates in this House that Ministers have not answered questions put specifically to them. Indeed, some Ministers develop as a fine art the ability of not answering questions. They take great pride in their ability not to answer. But this is a special question. I want to explain why it is very special and why we feel a deep sense of outrage that the Minister has not answered it. The Minister obviously has not thought this matter through as he should have done. This is the first time in my experience in the House—as it is in the experience of most hon. Members, on both sides of the House —that I have ever had to discuss a matter on which I know that unless the House expresses its opinion now it will not have power to make a decision in four days' time. That is the truth.

In four days' time the Minister will announce what I suspect he already knows is the answer to this question. If he does not, someone will have to do an awful lot of overtime in the next few days, and time is running out. Why will he not tell us the answers? He will not do so because if he told us the answers we might say "No" to him, whereas when he tells us on 1st July or 3rd July we cannot, under the treaty, influence the decision then taken. That is why this is a unique occasion. It is a great outrage to Parliament that the Minister has treated us so.

Before I read the motion again, I must make another point to the right hon. Gentleman to drive home my very strong feelings on this matter. There are other kinds of Community decisions in which the power of this House is greatly affected, greatly diminished and very much weakened. These are proposals which take the form of regulations or directives that are made by the Council of Ministers on a proposal of the Commission. But at least it can be said that when proposals of that kind come forward, although we lose the power to legislate there is still the possibility of interjecting the views and purpose of the House—as we did on the motion concerning juggernaut lorries—between the point when the Commission makes its proposal and the point, often a few weeks later, when the Council finally makes its decision. So we are not wholly wronged in that process and not wholly disarmed as a democratic assembly. But on this matter, above all, there is no second chance, because this is not a matter of dealing with a proposal made by the Commission to the Council of Ministers. Under the treaties this is a matter for decision by the Commission alone. That is why we feel such a deep sense of outrage at the way we have been treated.

The hon. Member for Yarmouth (Mr. Fell) read to the House what we are inviting the House to do. I am glad that he did that. We are calling upon the Government not to accept any decision of the EEC Commission affecting the regional policies of the United Kingdom until this House has debated and approved it. Is there a Member of the House, on either side, who in all conscience can vote against the motion?

6.44 p.m.

Photo of Mr Christopher Chataway Mr Christopher Chataway , Chichester

We have had in the past three hours an extremely interesting and wholly forward-looking debate about the British regions and the Community. I am not entirely sure that it was the kind of debate that the right hon. Member for Stepney (Mr. Shore) would have wished, because it was a debate in which many hon. Members on both sides of the House expressed their belief in a Community regional policy and talked about the importance of developing that policy.

It should be recognised at the outset that we are already feeling the impact of the Common Market in the regions in a major way. The progress being made at present in the regions is faster than the progress that has been made for many years. Not only have we seen large falls in unemployment in every region of the country and vacancies in every region rising to levels that they have not attained for eight or nine years, but the attractions of the regions for investors have clearly been substantially enhanced by the Common Market.

My hon. Friend the Member for Galloway (Mr. Brewis) made that point and was challenged by my hon. Friend the Member for Oswestry (Mr. Biffen). The hon. Member for Oswestry will be interested at least to note that the American Embassy, in contrast to some previous advice, is now advising American investors, in view of the growth rate and of membership of the Common Market, to invest in this country.

Photo of Mr John Biffen Mr John Biffen , Oswestry

The question that I put to my hon. Friend the Member for Galloway (Mr. Brewis) was whether it was his view that investment by British companies in Continental Europe would increase or diminish following membership of the Community. Perhaps my right hon. Friend will tell me what he thinks is the answer.

Photo of Mr Christopher Chataway Mr Christopher Chataway , Chichester

I am grateful to my hon. Friend. I am sorry that I misunderstood him. With the development of the Community, I would expect an increase in investment from Europe into this country and probably from this country into Europe. But what is unquestionable—and the hon. Member for Ebbw Vale (Mr. Michael Foot) cannot get away from it—is that at present we are seeing a massive investment in the regions of this country and that our membership of the Common Market is clearly playing a major part in that.

Photo of Mr Neil Marten Mr Neil Marten , Banbury

That is foreign investment from Europe.

Photo of Mr Christopher Chataway Mr Christopher Chataway , Chichester

That is foreign investment. My hon. Friend may be interested in the careful, detailed work of Professor Dunning about American investment in Britain. He estimates that had we been in the Common Market from the outset we should have enjoyed some 2½ million dollars more investment during that period. But I leave that point.

The House will recognise that the major advantage to the regions of this country and to Scotland and Wales of membership of the Community is already showing. An indication of that is the fact that we have managed, simply by selective assistance, to approve already some 250 projects involving 22,000 jobs and we have under consideration 600 projects involving another 53,000 jobs, in addition to the falls in unemployment that have taken place in past months.

Photo of Mr Peter Shore Mr Peter Shore , Stepney

It is obviously too early to assess the impact of membership of the Common Market on regional policy, but surely the right hon. Gentleman must recognise that a fall in the jobless in Scotland has more to do with the fact that the Government are running a £4,000 million deficit on the Budget than with money coming from abroad.

Photo of Mr Christopher Chataway Mr Christopher Chataway , Chichester

The sustained national growth is fundamental to regional policy. Again, I would argue—although the right hon. Gentleman would disagree—that our prospects for sustaining a much faster rate of economic growth are enormously enhanced by membership of the Community. In many parts of the House the benefit of the Common Market to our regions and to Scotland and Wales will already be recognised.

Photo of Mr Raymond Fletcher Mr Raymond Fletcher , Ilkeston

What about the motion?

Photo of Mr Christopher Chataway Mr Christopher Chataway , Chichester

The hon. Gentleman has not been present for the whole of the debate.

Photo of Mr Christopher Chataway Mr Christopher Chataway , Chichester

The debate has been about the regions and about the EEC.

Photo of Mr Raphael Tuck Mr Raphael Tuck , Watford

What about the motion?

Photo of Mr Christopher Chataway Mr Christopher Chataway , Chichester

I shall come to matters on which a number of hon. Members of the Opposition will be disappointed. They have made forecasts for a long time that the result of entry to the Common Market would be devastating to the regions. They have said that the level of our aids would be reduced. They will be disappointed.

Photo of Mr Raphael Tuck Mr Raphael Tuck , Watford

That is not the point.

Photo of Mr Christopher Chataway Mr Christopher Chataway , Chichester

The debate has ranged wider than that. My hon. Friend the Member for Flint, West (Sir A. Meyer) and the hon. Member for Berwick and East Lothian (Mr. Mackintosh) and a number of other hon. Members have referred to the Regional Development Fund and have expressed their belief that the regional problems of any individual country in Europe cannot be solved wholly on the basis of the nation State. An impressive set of arguments has been deployed to that effect by a number of hon. Members on both sides of the House.

The right hon. Member for Orkney and Shetland (Mr. Grimond) urged that there should not be too much centralisation in the working out of the European regional policy. I am with him there. One of the major advantages of the changes in regional policy introduced in April last year is that they involve a substantial devolution of decision making. It will be clear from the Green Paper of Mr. George Thomson that he, too, is anxious to ensure that the European regional policy shall not be too centralised an affair. I take that to be one of the reasons why the Green Paper stressed that the Community's regional policy—the Regional Development Fund —should be a supplement to the efforts of national Governments and why the suggestion is inserted that as to a large part at least the fund should be administered through national Government. There has been today a useful exchange of ideas on the more important aspect of European regional policy, on the longterm future, on the broader implications.

I come to a much narrower matter which the right hon. Member for Stepney has raised and which has given rise to the debate. I do not think that I should give an unfair account of what the right hon. Gentleman said if I suggested that his argument is based to a large extent upon the belief that the outcome of the discussions that we are having about Article 154 will be a reduction in either the level or the coverage of aids given to our regions.

This is not the first time that the right hon. Gentleman and other hon. Members have made this suggestion, but the right hon. Gentleman has sought to raise anxieties in the regions that the effect of membership of the Community will be to reduce the effectiveness of our regional policy. My right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster has once again assured the House that the Government do not intend to enter into any arrangement or accept arrangements which would involve such a reduction, either in coverage or in the level of the aids that have been given.

Photo of Mr Arthur Lewis Mr Arthur Lewis , West Ham North

What about the motion?

Photo of Mr Christopher Chataway Mr Christopher Chataway , Chichester

This is exactly what the motion is about. The right hon. Gentleman bases his whole argument upon the familiar vision of European bureaucrats—foreigners to boot—grinding our regions into the dust. That is the picture that he portrayed to the House. He does not have to look in any depth at the arguments that there are for a co-ordination of regional policy throughout the Community. Other hon. Members did so in the debate and recognised—

Photo of Mr Christopher Chataway Mr Christopher Chataway , Chichester

No, I will not give way. I must reply to those who have spoken and who have attended.

Photo of Mr Raphael Tuck Mr Raphael Tuck , Watford

The right hon. Gentleman cannot answer. I therefore leave.

Photo of Mr Christopher Chataway Mr Christopher Chataway , Chichester

I greatly regret that that appearance was so brief.

I turn to answer the points raised in the debate. The plain fact is that there is an advantage to us, as to other regions in the Community, in ensuring that there is a measure of co-ordination. That is what Article 154 of the Treaty of Accession is about. That is the purpose of the exercise. We are not talking about a conspiracy on the part of other European countries or of officials in Brussels to harm our regional policy. We are talking about the process of arriving at a common régime.

What are the advantages? First, it will reduce the possibilities which at present exist for the different regions of the Community to bid against each other for mobile investment. Secondly, it will enable regional policy to have an effect because, by limiting the amount of aid that is given in the more prosperous parts of the Community, it will be more possible for a regional policy at a reasonable cost to have an effect and give an importance and advantage to those who are investing in the regions. That is what it is about.

Photo of Mr Peter Shore Mr Peter Shore , Stepney

The House wants to know. If the right hon. Gentleman is trying to be reassuring, like the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, surely he can answer the specific questions put to him and then we can be a little happier.

Photo of Mr Christopher Chataway Mr Christopher Chataway , Chichester

The right hon. Gentleman has put to my right hon. Friend and myself a number of questions which he knows cannot be answered at this moment. He asks which areas of the country are to be central and which are to be peripheral. He knows very well that we are in discussion at this moment. He knows very well that the final form of the settlement has not been arrived at. If it had been arrived at, as my right hon. Friend made clear, he would have told the House today. My right hon. Friend has given the assurance that matters—that neither the coverage nor the level of our aids will, in our view, be affected.

My hon. Friends the Members for Banbury (Mr. Marten) and for Yarmouth (Mr. Fell) have been consistently opposed to membership of the Community, opposed to the procedures that are involved.

Photo of Mr Anthony Fell Mr Anthony Fell , Yarmouth

Would my right hon. Friend give way?

Photo of Mr Edward Mallalieu Mr Edward Mallalieu , Brigg

Order. The right hon. Gentleman is not giving way. Therefore, the hon. Member for Yarmouth (Mr. Fell) must resume his seat.

Photo of Mr Christopher Chataway Mr Christopher Chataway , Chichester

My hon. Friend put to me a question several times over. I hope that he will allow me to try to reply to it. My hon. Friend asked, "Why do you not accept the motion?" He is opposed to the procedures which my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster outlined to the House in considerable detail and which safeguard the interests of individual nations, but which yet make it possible for us to arrive at common decisions with the rest of the Community, because that is what is involved.

The motion is based in effect upon the forecast that the regions will suffer from the outcome of Article 154. If there is no change in our regional policies, I imagine that the motion will be recognised to have been unnecessary. We believe not only that the Regional Development Fund will be of value to the Community and that industry and our regions are already benefiting from membership of the Community, but that the discussions that we have had about Article 154 will result in a settlement which is entirely satisfactory to the regions of England, to Scotland and to Wales.

We recognise that on the more important regional questions within the Community which have been interestingly debated today the House will want to have further time for debate. On that basis, I hope that the House will support our amendment.

Question put, That the amendment be made:—

The House divided: Ayes 274, Noes 252.

Division No. 174.]AYES[7.0 p.m.
Adley, RobertBalniel, Rt. Hn. LordBoardman, Tom (Leicester, S.W.)
Alison, Michael (Barkston Ash)Barber, Rt. Hn. AnthonyBoscawen, Hn. Robert
Allason, James (Hemel Hempstead)Batsford, BrianBossom, Sir Clive
Amery, Rt. Hn. JulianBeamish, Col. Sir TuftonBowden, Andrew
Archer, Jeffrey (Louth)Bennett, Sir Frederic (Torquay)Braine, Sir Bernard
Astor, JohnBennett, Dr. Reginald (Gosport)Bray, Ronald
Atkins, HumphreyBenyon, W.Brewis, John
Awdry, DanielBerry, Hn. AnthonyBrinton, Sir Tatton
Baker, Kenneth (St. Marylebone)Biggs-Davison, JohnBrocklebank-Fowler, Christopher
Baker, W. H. K. (Banff)Blaker, PeterBrown, Sir Edward (Bath)
Bruce-Gardyne, J.Hicks, RobertPink, R. Bonner
Bryan, Sir PaulHiggins, Terence L.Pounder, Rafton
Buchanan-Smith, Alick (Angus,N &M)Hiley, JosephPrice, David (Eastleigh)
Bullus, Sir EricHill, John E. B. (Norfolk, S.)Prior, Rt. Hn. J. M. L.
Burden, F. A.Holland, PhilipProudfoot, Wilfred
Butler, Adam (Bosworth)Holt, Miss MaryPym, Rt. Hn. Francis
Campbell, Rt.Hn.G. (Moray & Nairn)Hornby, RichardQuennell, Miss J. M.
Carlisle, MarkHornsby-Smith.Rt.Hn.Dame PatriciaRaison, Timothy
Carr, Rt. Hn. RobertHowe, Rt. Hn. Sir Geoffrey (Relgate)Ramsden, Rt. Hn. James
Cary, Sir RobertHowell, David (Guildford)Rawlinson, Rt. Hn. Sir Peter
Chapman, SydneyHowell, Ralph (Norfolk, N.)Redmond, Robert
Chataway, Rt. Hn. ChristopherHunt, JohnReed, Laurance (Bolton, E.)
Chichester-Clark, R.Hutchison, Michael ClarkRees, Peter (Dover)
Churchill, W. S.Iremonger, T. L.Rees-Davies, W. R.
Clark, William (Surrey, E.)Irvine, Bryant Godman (Rye)Renton, Rt. Hn. Sir David
Clarke, Kenneth (Rushcliffe)James, DavidRidley, Hn. Nicholas
Cooke, RobertJenkin, Patrick (Woodford)Ridsdale, Julian
Coombs, DerekJessel, TobyRippon, Rt. Hn. Geoffrey
Cooper, A. E.Johnson Smith, G. (E. Grinstead)Roberts, Michael (Cardiff, N.)
Cordle, JohnJones, Arthur (Northants, S.)Roberts, Wyn (Conway)
Corfieid, Rt. Hn. Sir FrederickJopling, MichaelRodgers, Sir John (Sevenoaks)
Cormack, PatrickJoseph, Rt. Hn. Sir KeithRossi, Hugh (Hornsey)
Costain, A. P.Kaberry, Sir DonaldRost, Peter
Critchley, JulianKellett-Bowman, Mrs. ElaineRoyle, Anthony
Crouch, DavidKershaw, AnthonyRussell, Sir Ronald
Dalkeith, Earl ofKimball, MarcusSt. John-Stevas, Norman
Davies, Rt. Hn. John (Knutsford)King, Evelyn (Dorset, S.)Sandys, Rt. Hn. D.
d'Avlgdor-Goldsmid, Sir HenryKing, Tom (Bridgwater)Scott, Nicholas
d'Avigdor-Goldsmid, Maj-Gen. JackKnight, Mrs. JillScott-Hopkins, James
Dean, PaulKnox, DavidShaw, Michael (Sc'b'gh & Whitby)
Deedes, Rt. Hn. W. F.Lamont, NormanShelton, William (Clapham)
Digby, Simon WingfieldLane, DavidShersby, Michael
Dixon, PiersLewis, Kenneth (Rutland)Simeons, Charles
Dodds-Parker, DouglasLloyd,Rt.Hn.Geoffrey (Sut n C'field)Sinclair, Sir George
Drayson, G. B.Lloyd, Ian (P'tsm'th, Langstone)Skeet, T. H. H.
du Cann, Rt. Hn. EdwardLongden, Sir GilbertSmith, Dudley (W'wick a L'mington)
Dykes, HughLoveridge, JohnSoref, Harold
Eden, Rt. Hn. Sir JohnLuce, R. N.Speed, Keith
Edwards, Nicholas (Pembroke)McAdden, Sir StephenSpence, John
Elliot, Capt.Walter (Carshalton)MacArthur, IanSprcat, Iain
Elliott, R. W. (N'c'tie-upon-Tyne, N.)McCrindle, R. A.Stainton, Keith
Emery, PeterMcLaren, MartinStanbrook, Ivor
Eyre, ReginaldMaclean, Sir FitzroyStewart-Smith, Geoffrey (Belper)
Farr, JohnMacmilian,Rt.Hn.Maurice (Farnham)Stodart, Anthony (Edinburgh, W.)
Fenner, Mrs. PeggyMcNair-Wilson, MichaelStokes, John
Finsberg, Geoffrey (Hampstead)McNair-Wilson, Patrick (New Forest)Sutcliffe, John
Fisher, Nigel (Surbiton)Maddan, MartinTapsell, Peter
Fletcher-Cooke, CharlesMadel, DavidTaylor, Sir Charles (Eastbourne)
Fookes, Miss JanetMather, CarolTaylor, Edward M. (G'gow, Cathcart)
Fortescue, TimMaude, AngusTaylor, Robert (Croydon, N.W.)
Foster, Sir JohnMaudling, Rt. Hn. ReginaldTebbit, Norman
Fowler, NormanMawby, RayThatcher, Rt. Hn. Mrs. Margaret
Fox, MarcusMaxwell-Hyslop, R. J.Thomas, John Stradling (Monmouth)
Galbraith, Hn. T. G. D.Meyer, Sir AnthonyThomas, Rt. Hn. Peter (Hendon, S.)
Gardner, EdwardMiscampbell, NormanThompson, Sir Richard (Croydon, S.)
Gibson-Watt, DavidMitchell, Lt.-Col.C.(Aberdeenshire,W)Tilney, John
Gilmour, Ian (Norfolk, C.)Money, ErnieTrew, Peter
Glyn, Dr. AlanMonks, Mrs. ConnieTugendhat, Christopher
Godber, Rt. Hn. J. B.Monro, HectorTurton, Rt. Hn. Sir Robin
Gorst, JohnMontgomery, Fergusvan Straubenzee, W. R.
Gower, RaymondMore, JasperWaddington, David
Grant, Anthony (Harrow, C.)Morgan, Geraint (Denbigh)Walder, David (Clitheroe)
Gray, HamishMorgan-Giles, Rear-Adm.Walker-Smith, Rt. Hn. Sir Derek
Green, AlanMorrison, CharlesWall, Patrick
Grieve, PercyMudd, DavidWalters, Dennis
Griffiths, Eldon (Bury St. Edmunds)Murton, OscarWard, Dame Irene
Grylls, MichaelNabarro, Sir GeraldWells, John (Maidstone)
Gummer, J. SelwynNeave, AireyWhite, Roger (Gravesend)
Gurden, HaroldNicholls, Sir HarmarWhitelaw, Rt. Hn. William
Hall, Miss Joan (Keighley)Noble, Rt. Hn. MichaelWiggin, Jerry
Hall, John (Wycombe)Normanton, TomWilkinson, John
Hall-Davis, A. G. F.Onslow, CranleyWinterton, Nicholas
Hamilton, Michael (Salisbury)Oppenheim, Mrs. SallyWolrige-Gordon, Patrick
Hannam, John (Exeter)Osborn, JohnWood, Rt. Hn. Richard
Harrison, Brian (Maldon)Owen, Idris (Stockport, N.)Woodnutt, Mark
Harrison, Col. Sir Harwood (Eye)Page, Rt. Hn. Graham (Crosby)Worsley, Marcus
Haselhurst, AlanPage, John (Harrow, W.)Wylie, Rt. Hn. N. R.
Hastings, StephenParkinson, CecilYounger, Hn. George
Havers, Sir MichaelPeel, Sir John
Hawkins, PaulPercival, IanTELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Hayhoe, BarneyPeyton, Rt. Hn. JohnMr. Bernard Weatherill and Mr. Walter Clegg.
Heath, Rt. Hn. EdwardPike, Miss Mervyn
Heseltine, Michael
NOES
Abse, LeoFreeson, ReginaldMitchell, R. C. (S'hampton, Itchen)
Allaun, Frank (Salford, E.)Galpern, Sir MyerMolloy, William
Allen, ScholefieldGarrett, W. E.Morgan, Elystan (Cardiganshire)
Archer, Peter (Rowley Regis)Gilbert, Dr. JohnMorris, Alfred (Wythenshawe)
Armstrong, ErnestGinsburg, David (Dewsbury)Morris, Rt. Hn. John (Aberavon)
Ashley, JackGolding, JohnMoyle, Roland
Ashton, JoeGordon Walker, Rt. Hn. P. C.Mulley, Rt. Hn. Frederick
Atkinson, NormanGourlay, HarryMurray, Ronald King
Bagler, Gordon A. T.Grant, George (Morpeth)Ogden, Eric
Barnes, MichaelGrant, John D. (Islington, E.)O'Halloran, Michael
Barnett, Guy (Greenwich)Griffiths, Eddie (Brightside)O'Malley, Brian
Barnett, Joel (Heywood and Royton)Grimond, Rt. Hn. J.Oram, Bert
Baxter, WilliamHamilton, James (Bothwell)Orme, Stanley
Benn, Rt. Hn. Anthony WedgwoodHamilton, William (Fife, W.)Oswald, Thomas
Bennett, James (Glasgow, Bridgeton)Hamling, WilliamOwen, Dr. David (Plymouth, Sutton)
Bidwell, SydneyHardy, PeterPadley, Walter
Bishop, E. S.Harrison, Walter (Wakefield)Paget, R. T.
Blenkinsop, ArthurHattersley, RoyPalmer, Arthur
Boardman, H. (Leigh)Healey, Rt. Hn. DenisPannell, Rt. Hn. Charles
Body, RichardHeffer, Eric S.Pardoe, John
Booth, AlbertHilton, W. S.Parker, John (Dagenham)
Bottomley, Rt. Hn. ArthurHooson, EmlynPeart, Rt. Hn. Fred
Boyden, James (Bishop Auckland)Horam, JohnPerry, Ernest G.
Bradley, TomHoughton, Rt. Hn. DouglasPowell, Rt. Hn. J. Enoch
Brown, Hugh D. (G'gow, Provan)Howell, Denis (Small Heath)Prentice, Rt. Hn. Reg.
Brown, Ronald (Shoredltch & F'bury)Huckfield, LesliePrice, William (Rugby)
Buchan, NormanHughes, Rt. Hn. Cledwyn (Anglesey)Probert, Arthur
Buchanan, Richard (G'gow, Sp'burn)Hughes, Mark (Durham)Radice, Giles
Butler, Mrs. Joyce (Wood Green)Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen, N.)Reed, D. (Sedgefield)
Callaghan, Rt. Hn. JamesHughes, Roy (Newport)Rees, Merlyn (Leeds, S.)
Campbell, I. (Dunbartonshire, W.)Hunter, AdamRhodes, Geoffrey
Cant, R. B.Irvine, Rt. Hn. Sir Arthur (Edge Hill)Richard, Ivor
Carmichael, NeilJanner, GrevilleRoberts, Albert (Normanton)
Carter, Ray (Birmingh'm, Northfield)Jay, Rt. Hn. DouglasRoberts,Rt.Hn.Goronwy (Caernarvon)
Carter-Jones, Lewis (Eccles)Jenkins, Hugh (Putney)Robertson, John (Paisley)
Castle, Rt. Hn. BarbaraJohn, BrynmorRoderick, Caerwyn E. (Brc'n & R'dnor)
Cocks, Michael (Bristol, S.)Johnson, Carol (Lewisham, S.)Rodgers, William (Stockton-on-Tees)
Concannon, J. D.Johnson, James (K'ston-on-Hull, W.)Roper, John
Corbet, Mrs. FredaJones, Barry (Flint, E.)Rose, Paul B.
Cox, Thomas (Wandsworth, C.)Jones,Rt.Hn.Sir Elwyn (W.Ham,S.)Ross, Rt. Hn. William (Kilmarnock)
Crawshaw, RichardJones, Gwynoro (Carmarthen)Rowlands, Ted
Cronin, JohnJones, T. Alec (Rhondda, W.)Sandelson, Neville
Crosland, Rt. Hn. AnthonyJudd, FrankSheldon, Robert (Ashton-under-Lyne)
Crossman, Rt. Hn. RichardKaufman, GeraldShore, Rt. Hn. Peter (Stepney)
Cunningham, G. (Islington, S.W.)Kelley, RichardShort, Rt. Hn. Edward (N'c'tle-u-Tyne)
Cunningham, Dr. J. A. (Whitehaven)Kerr, RussellSilkin, Rt. Hn. John (Deptford)
Dalyell, TamKinnock, NeilSilkin, Hn. S. C. (Dulwich)
Darling, Rt. Hn. GeorgeLambie, DavidSillars, James
Davies, Denzil (Llanelly)Latham, ArthurSilverman, Julius
Davies, G. Elfed (Rhondda, E.)Lawson, GeorgeSkinner, Dennis
Davies, Ifor (Gower)Leadbitter, TedSmall, William
Oavis, Clinton (Hackney, C.)Lee, Rt. Hn. FrederickSmith, John (Lanarkshire, N.)
Davis, Terry (Bromsgrove)Leonard, DickSpearing, Nigel
Deakins, EricLestor, Miss JoanStallard, A. W.
de Freltas, Rt. Hn. Sir GeoffreyLewis, Arthur (W, Ham, N.)Steel, David
Delargy, HughLewis, Ron (Carlisle)Stewart, Donald (Western Isles)
Dell, Rt. Hn. EdmundLipton, MarcusStewart, Rt. Hn. Michael (Fulham)
Dempsey, JamesLomas, KennethStoddart, David (Swindon)
Dolg, PeterLoughlin, CharlesStonehouse, Rt. Hn. John
Dormand, J. D.Lyon, Alexander W. (York)Strauss, Rt. Hn. G. R.
Douglas, Dick (Stirlingshire, E.)Lyons, Edward (Bradford, E.)Summerskill, Hn. Dr. Shirley
Douglas-Mann, BruceMabon, Dr. J. DicksonSwain, Thomas
Driberg, TomMcBride, NeilThomas,Rt.Hn.George (Cardiff,W.)
Duffy, A. E. P.McCartney, HughThomas, Jeffrey (Abertillery)
Dunnett, JackMcElhone, FrankTinn, James
Edelman, MauriceMachin, GeorgeTomney, Frank
Edwards, Robert (Bilston)Mackenzie, GregorTorney, Tom
Edwards, William (Merioneth)Mackie, JohnTuck, Raphael
Ellis, TomMackintosh, John P.Urwin, T. W.
English, MichaelMaclennan, RobertVarley, Eric G.
Evans, FredMcMillan, Tom (Glasgow, C.)Wainwright, Edwin
Ewing, HarryMcNamara, J. KevinWalden, Brian (B'm'ham, All Saints)
Faulds, AndrewMallalieu, J. P. W. (Huddersfield, E.)Walker, Harold (Doncaster)
Fell, AnthonyMarquand, DavidWallace, George
Fisher, Mrs.Doris (B'ham,Ladywood)Marten, NeilWatkins, David
Fitch, Alan (Wigan)Mason, Rt. Hn. RoyWeitzman, David
Fletcher, Raymond (Ilkeston)Meacher, MichaelWellbeloved, James
Fletcher, Ted (Darlington)Mellish, Rt. Hn. RobertWells, William (Walsall, N.)
Foot, MichaelMendelson, JohnWhite, James (Glasgow, Pollok)
Ford, BenMikardo, IanWhitlock, William
Forrester, JohnMillan, BruceWilley, Rt. Hn. Frederick
Fraser, John (Norwood)Milne, EdwardWilliams. Alan (Swansea. W.)
Williams, Mrs. Shirley (Hitchin)Wilson, Rt. Hn. Harold (Huyton)TELLERS FOR THE NOES
Williams, W. T. (Warrington)Wilson, William (Coventry, S.)Mr. Donald Coleman and Mr. Joseph Harper.
Wilson, Alexander (Hamilton)Woot, Robert

Question accordingly agreed to.

Main Question, as amended, put:—

The House divided: Ayes 275, Noes 250.

Division No. 175.]AYES[7.16 p.m.
Adley, RobertEyre, ReglnaldLane, David
Alison, Michael (Barkston Ash)Farr, JohnLangford-Holt, Sir John
Allason, James (Hemel Hempstead)Fenner, Mrs. PeggyLewis, Kenneth (Rutland)
Amery, Rt. Hn. JulianFlnsberg, Geoffrey (Hampstead)Lloyd,Rt.Hn.Geoffrey (Sut'nC'field)
Archer, Jeffrey (Louth)Fisher, Nigel (Surbiton)Lloyd, Ian (P'tsm'th, Langstone)
Astor, JohnFletcher-Cooke, CharlesLongden, Sir Gilbert
Atkins, HumphreyFookes, Miss JanetLoveridge, John
Awdry, DanielFortescue, TimLuce, R. N.
Baker, Kenneth (St. Marylebone)Foster, Sir JohnMcAdden, Sir Stephen
Baker, W. H. K. (Banff)Fowler, NormanMacArthur, Ian
Balniel, Rt. Hn LordFox, MarcusMcCrindle, R. A.
Barber, Rt. Hn. AnthonyGalbraith, Hn. T. G. D.McLaren, Martin
Batsford, BrianGardner, EdwardMaclean, Sir Fitzroy
Beamish, Col. Sir TuftonGibson-Watt, DavidMacmillan, Rt.Hn.Maurice (Farnham)
Bennett, Sir Frederic (Torquay)Gilmour, Ian (Norfolk, C.)McNair-Wilson, Michael
Bennett, Dr. Reginald (Gosport)Glyn, Dr. AlanMcNair-Wilson, Patrick (New Forest)
Benyon, W.Godber, Rt. Hn. J. B.Maddan, Martin
Berry, Hn. AnthonyGorst, JohnMadel, David
Biggs-Davison. JohnGower, RaymondMarples, Rt. Hn. Ernest
Blaker, PeterGrant, Anthony (Harrow, C.)Mather, Carol
Boardman, Tom (Leicester, S.W.)Gray, HamishMaude, Angus
Boscawen, Hn. RobertGreen, AlanMaudling, Rt. Hn. Reginald
Bossom, Sir CliveGrieve, PercyMawby, Ray
Bowden, AndrewGriffiths, Eldon (Bury St. Edmunds)Maxwell-Hyslop, R. J.
Braine, Sir BernardGrylls, MichaelMeyer, Sir Anthony
Bray, RonaldGummer, J. SelwynMiscampbell, Norman
Brewis, JohnGurden, HaroldMitchell, Lt. -Col. C.(Aberdeenshire, W)
Brinton, Sir TattonHall, Miss Joan (Keighley)Money, Ernie
Brocklebank-Fowler, ChristopherHall, John (Wycombe)Monks, Mrs. Connie
Brown, Sir Edward (Bath)Hall-Davis, A. G. F.Monro, Hector
Bruce-Gardyne, J.Hamilton, Michael (Salisbury)Montgomery, Fergus
Bryan, Sir PaulHannam, John (Exeter)More, Jasper
Buchanan-Smith, Alick(Angus,N&M)Harrison, Brian (Maldon)Morgan, Geraint (Denbigh)
Bullus, Sir EricHarrison, Col. Sir Harwood (Eye)Morgan-Giles, Rear-Adm.
Burden, F. A.Haselhurst, AlanMorrison, Charles
Butler, Adam (Bosworth)Hastings, StephenMudd, David
Campbell, Rt.Hn.G.(Moray & Nairn)Havers, Sir MichaelMurton, Oscar
Carlisle, MarkHawkins, PaulNabarro, Sir Gerald
Carr, Rt. Hn. RobertHayhoe, BarneyNeave, Airey
Cary, Sir RobertHeath, Rt. Hn. EdwardNicholls, Sir Harmar
Chapman, SydneyHeseltine, MichaelNoble, Rt. Hn. Michael
Chataway, Rt. Hn. ChristopherHicks, RobertNormanton, Tom
Chichester-Clark, R.Higgins, Terence L.Onslow, Cranley
Churchill, W. S.Hiley, JosephOppenheim, Mrs. Sally
Clark, William (Surrey, E.)Hill, John E. B. (Norfolk, S.)Osborn, John
Clarke, Kenneth (Rushcliffe)Holland, PhilipOwen, Idris (Stockport, N.)
Cooke, RobertHolt, Miss MaryPage, Rt. Hn. Graham (Crosby)
Coombs, DerekHornby, RichardPage, John (Harrow, W.) Parkinson, Cecil
Cooper, A. E.Hornsby-Smith.Rt.Hn.Dame PatriciaPeel, Sir John
Cordis, JohnHowe, Hn. Sir Geoffrey (Reigate)Percival, Ian
Corfield, Rt. Hn. Sir FrederickHowell, David (Guildford)Peyton, Rt. Hn. John
Cormack, PatrickHowell, Ralph (Norfolk, N.)Pike, Miss Mervyn
Costain, A. P.Hunt, JohnPink, R. Bonner
Critchley, JulianHutchison, Michael ClarkPounder, Rafton
Crouch, DavidIremonger, T. L.Price, David (Eastleigh)
Dalkeith, Earl ofIrvine, Bryant Godman (Rye)Prior, Rt. Hn. J. M. L.
Davies, Rt. Hn. John (Knutsford)James, DavidProudfoot, Wilfred
d'Avigdor-Goldsmid, Sir HenryJenkin, Patrick (Woodford)Pym, Rt. Hn. Francis
d'Avigdor'Goldsmid,Maj.-Gen.JackJessel, TobyQuennell, Miss J. M.
Dean, PaulJohnson Smith, G. (E. Grinstead)Ralson, Timothy
Deedes, Rt. Hn. W. F.Jones, Arthur (Northants, S.)Ramsden, Rt. Hn. James
Digby, Simon WingfieldJopling, MichaelRawlinson, Rt. Hn. Sir Peter
Dixon, PiersJoseph, Rt. Hn. Sir KeithRedmond, Robert
Dodds-Parker, DouglasKaberry, Sir DonaldReed, Laurance (Bolton, E.)
Drayson, G. B.Kellett-Bowman, Mrs. ElaineRees, Peter (Dover)
du Cann, Rt. Hn. EdwardKershaw, AnthonyRees-Davies, W. R.
Dykes, HughKimball, MarcusRenton, Rt. Hn. Sir David
Eden, Rt. Hn. Sir JohnKing, Evelyn (Dorset, S.)Ridley, Hn. Nicholas
Edwards, Nicholas (Pembroke)King, Tom (Bridgwater)Ridsdale, Julian
Elliott, Capt. Waller (Carshalton)Knight, Mrs. JillRippon, Rt. Hn. Geoffrey
Elliott, R. w. (N'c'tle-upon-Tyne.N.)Knox, DavidRoberts, Michael (Cardiff, N.)
Emery, PeterLamont, NormanRoberts, Wyn (Conway)
Rodgers, Sir John (Sevenoaks)
Rossi, Hugh (Hornsey)Stewart-Smith, Geoffrey (Belper)Walker-Smith, Rt. Hn. Sir Derek
Rost, PeterStodart, Anthony (Edinburgh, W.)Wall, Patrick
Royle, AnthonyStokes, JohnWalters, Dennis
Russell, Sir RonaldSutcliffe, JohnWard, Dame Irene
St. John-Stevas, NormanTapsell, PeterWells, John (Maidstone)
Sandys, Rt. Hn. D.Taylor, Sir Charles (Eastbourne)White, Roger (Gravesend)
Scott, NicholasTaylor,Edward M.(G'gow,Cathcart)Whitelaw, Rt. Hn. William
Scott-Hopkins, JamesTaylor, Robert (Croydon, N.W.)Wiggin, Jerry
Shaw, Michael (Sc'b'gh & Whitby)Tebbit, NormanWilkinson, John
Shelton, William (Clapham)Thatcher, Rt. Hn. Mrs. MargaretWinterton, Nicholas
Shersby, MichaelThomas, John Stradling (Monmouth)Wolrige-Gordon, Patrick
Simeons, CharlesThomas, Rt. Hn. Peter (Hendon, S.)Wood, Rt. Hn. Richard
Sinclair, Sir GeorgeThompson, Sir Richard (Croydon, S.)Woodnutt, Mark
Skeet, T. H. H.Tilney, JohnWorsley, Marcus
Smith, Dudley (W'wick & L'mlngton)Trew, PeterWylie, Rt. Hn. N. R.
Soref, HaroldTugendhat, ChristopherYounger, Hn. George
Speed, KeithTurton, Rt. Hn. Sir Robin
Spence, Johnvan Straubenzee, W. R.TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Sproat, IainWaddington, DavidMr. Bernard Weatberill and Mr. Walter Clegg.
Stainton, KeithWalder, David (Clitheroe)
Stanbrook, Ivor
NOES
Abse, LeoDouglas, Dick (Stirlingshire, E.)Jones, Barry (Flint, E.)
Allaun, Frank (Salford, E.)Douglas-Mann, BruceJones,Rt.Hn.Sir Elwyn(W.Ham,S.)
Allen, ScholefieldDriberg, TomJones, Gwynoro (Carmarthen)
Archer, Peter (Rowley Regis)Duffy, A. E. P.Jones, T. Alec (Rhondda, W.)
Armstrong, ErnestDunnett, JackJudd, Frank
Ashley, JackEdeiman, MauriceKaufman, Gerald
Ashton, JoeEdwards, Robert (Bilston)Kelley, Richard
Atkinson, NormanEdwards, William (Merioneth)Kerr, Russell
Bagier, Gordon A. T.Ellis, TomKinnock, Neil
Barnes, MichaelEnglish, MichaelLambie, David
Barnett, Guy (Greenwich)Evans, FredLatham, Arthur
Barnett, Joel (Heywood and Royton)Ewing, HarryLawson, George
Baxter, WilliamFaulds, AndrewLeadbitter, Ted
Benn, Rt. Hn. Anthony (Wedgwood)Fell, AnthonyLee, Rt. Hn. Frederick
Bennett, James(Glasgow, Bridgeton)Fisher, Mrs. Doris (B'ham,Lady wood)Leonard, Dick
Bidwell, SydneyFitch, Alan (Wigan)Lestor, Miss Joan
Bishop, E. S.Fletcher, Raymond (Ilkeston)Lewis, Arthur (W. Ham, N.)
Blenkinsop, ArthurFletcher, Ted (Darlington)Lewis, Ron (Carlisle)
Boardman, H. (Leigh)Foot, MichaelLipton, Marcus
Body, RichardFord, BenLomas, Kenneth
Booth, AlbertForrester, JohnLoughlin, Charles
Bottomley, Rt. Hn. ArthurFraser, John (Norwood)Lyon, Alexander W. (York)
Boyden, James(Bishop Auckland)Freeson, ReginaldLyons, Edward (Bradford, E.)
Bradley, TomGalpern, Sir MyerMabon, Dr. J. Dickson
Brown, Hugh D. (G'gow, Provan)Garrett, W. E.McBride, Neil
Brown, Ronald (Shoreditch & F'bury)Gilbert, Dr. JohnMcCartney, Hugh
Buchan, NormanGinsburg, David (Dewsbury)McElhone, Frank
Buchanan, Richard (G'gow, Sp'burn)Golding, JohnMachin, George
Butler, Mrs. Joyce (Wood Green)Gordon Walker, Rt. Hn. P. C.Mackenzie, Gregor
Callaghan, Rt. Hn. JamesGourlay, HarryMackie, John
Campbell, I. (Dunbartonshire, W.)Grant, George (Morpeth)Mackintosh, John P.
Cant, R. B.Grant, John D. (Islington, E.)Maclennan, Robert
Carmichael, NeilGriffiths, Eddie (Brightslde)McMillan, Tom (Glasgow, C.)
Carter, Ray (Birmingh'm, Northfield)Grimond, Rt. Hn. J.McNamara, J. Kevin
Carter-Jones, Lewis (Eccles)Hamilton, James (Bothwell)Mallalieu, J. P. W. (Huddersfield, E.)
Castle, Rt. Hon. BarbaraHamilton, William (Fife, W.)Marquand, David
Cocks, Michael (Bristol, S.)Hamling, WilliamMason, Rt. Hn. Roy
Concannon, J. D.Hardy, PeterMeacher, Michael
Corbet, Mrs. FredaHarrison, Walter (Wakefield)Mellish, Rt. Hn. Robert
Cox, Thomas (Wandsworth, C.)Hattersley, RoyMendelson, John
Crawshaw, RichardHealey, Rt. Hn. DenisMikardo, Ian
Cronin, JohnHeffer, Eric S.Millan, Bruce
Crosland, Rt. Hn. AnthonyHilton, W. S.Milne, Edward
Crossman, Rt. Hn. RichardHooson, EmlynMitchell, R. C. (S'hampton, Itchen)
Cunningham, G. (Islington, S.W.)Horam, JohnMolloy, William
Cunningham, Dr. J. A. (Whitehaven)Houghton, Rt. Hn. DouglasMorgan, Elystan (Cardiganshire)
Dalyell, TamHowell, Denis (Small Heath)Morris, Alfred (Wythenshawe)
Darling, Rt. Hn. GeorgeHuckfield, LeslieMorris, Rt. Hn. John (Aberavon)
Davies, Denzll (Llanelly)Hughes, Rt. Hn. Cledwyn (Anglesey)Moyle, Roland
Davies, G. Elfed (Rhondda, E.)Hughes, Mark (Durham)Mulley, Rt. Hn. Frederick
Davies, Ifor (Gower)Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen, N.)Murray, Ronald King
Davis, Clinton (Hackney, C.)Hughes, Roy (Newport)Ogden, Eric
Davis, Terry (Bromsgrove)Hunter, AdamO'Halloran, Michael
Deakins, EricIrvine, Rt. Hn. Sir Arthur (Edge Hill)O'Malley, Brian
de Freitas, Rt. Hn. Sir GeoffreyJanner, GrevilleOram, Bert
Delargy, HughJay, Rt. Hn. DouglasOrme, Stanley
Dell, Rt. Hn. EdmundJenkins, Hugh (Putney)Oswald, Thomas
Dempsey, JamesJohn, BrynmorOwen, Dr. David (Plymouth, Sutton)
Dolg, PeterJohnson, Carol (Lewisham, S.)Padley, Walter
Dormand, J D.Johnson, James (K'ston-on-Hull, W.)Paget, R. T.
Palmer, Arthur
Pannell, Rt. Hn. Charles
Pardoe, JohnShort,Rt.Hn.Edward(N'c tle-u-Tyne)Urwin, T. W.
Farker, John (Dagenham)Silkin, Rt. Hn. John (Deptford)Varley, Eric G.
Peart, Rt. Hn. FredSilkln, Hn. S. C. (Dulwich)Wainwrlght, Edwin
Perry, Ernest G.Sillars, JamesWalden, Brian (B'm'ham, All Saints)
Prentice, Rt. Hn. Reg.Silverman, JuliusWalker, Harold (Doncaster)
Price, William (Rugby)Skinner, DennisWallace, George
Probert, ArthurSmall, WilliamWatkins. David
Radice, GilesSmith, John (Lanarkshire, N.)Weltzman, David
Reed, D. (Sedgefield)Spearing, NigelWellbeloved, James
Rees, Merlyn (Leeds, S.)Stallard, A. W.Wells, William (Walsall, N.)
Rhodes, GeoffreySteel, DavidWhite, James (Glasgow, Pollok)
Richard, IvorStewart, Donald (Western Isles)Whitlock, William
Roberts, Albert (Normanton)Stewart, Rt. Hn. Michael (Fulham)Willey, Rt. Hn. Frederick
Roberts, Rt.Hn.Goronwy (Caernarvon)Stoddart, David (Swindon)Williams, Alan (Swansea, W.)
Robertson, John (Paisley)Stonehouse, Rt. Hn. JohnWilliams, Mrs. Shirley (Hitchin)
Roderick, Caerwyn E.(Brc'n&R'dnor)Strauss, Rt. Hn. G. R.Williams, W. T. (Warrington)
Rodgers, William (Stockton-on-Tees)Summerskill, Hn. Dr. ShirleyWilson, Alexander (Hamilton)
Roper, JohnSwain, ThomasWilson, Rt. Hn. Harold (Huyton)
Rose, Paul B.Thomas, Rt.Hn.George(Cardiff,W.)Wilson, William (Coventry, S.)
Ross, Rt. Hn. William (Kilmarnock)Thomas, Jeffrey (Abertillery)Woof, Robert
Rowlands, TedTinn, James
Sandelson, NevilleTomney, FrankTELLERS FOR THE NOES
Sheldon, Robert (Ashlon-under-Lyne)Torney, TomMr. Donald Coleman and Mr. Joseph Harper.
Shore, Rt. Hn. Peter (Stepney)Tuck, Raphael

Question accordingly agreed to.

Resolved, That this House acknowledges the declared intention of the European Communities to ensure the harmonious development of the economies of Member States by reducing the differences existing between the various regions, welcomes the progress made by the EEC Commission towards a Regional Development Fund, and recognises that this House will wish to debate these issues.