New Urban Initiatives

– in the House of Commons at 3:30 pm on 15th February 1983.

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Photo of Mr Tom King Mr Tom King Secretary of State for Environment 3:30 pm, 15th February 1983

With permission, Mr. Speaker, I wish to make a statement about three important measures to improve the older industrial areas of our country.

First, I have reviewed the list of local authorities that need special recognition because of the scale of their urban problems. With effect from 1 April this year, I intend to add Blackburn, Brent, Coventry, Knowsley, Rochdale, Sandwell, Tower Hamlets and Wandsworth to the list of programme authorities. I intend also to designate Burnley, Langbaurgh and Walsall under the Inner Urban Areas Act 1978. In the case of all these authorities, I shall make resource allocations to support approved programmes of work appropriate to their new status.

In making that selection I have, among other matters, taken into account an analysis of urban deprivation based on new data from the 1981 census. I am placing an information note on urban deprivation in the Library of the House and I am publishing the relevant data from the 1981 census in the Official Report.

The Government have launched two important schemes in which public funds are used to attract substantially greater amounts of private investment to the older and more derelict areas of our towns and cities. The first of these—the special category A derelict land grant scheme—has been designed to secure immediate development by private firms of land reclaimed by local authorities.

I am today approving £30 million of derelict land grant for 46 projects that will lead to £200 million of additional private sector investment. This represents a total investment of £230 million—an impressive ratio of one to six of public to private sector funds. I am placing details of the projects in the Library.

The 1983–84 programme will also contain a substantial quota of category B schemes totalling over £40 million aimed at more general environmental and economic improvement. The amount allocated to new category B schemes will be some £17 million, about £10 million more than this year. Prominent among those is £2 million for the start of reclamation of the former Workington steel works and £3 million for an expansion of Operation Groundwork, the imaginative scheme in the north-west to tackle the particular problems of the derelict twilight zones around our towns. In addition, I am making a special allocation of £10 million for reclamation on Merseyside. Overall, I have increased the total planned expenditure on the derelict land programme from £45 million this year to £75 million in 1983–84.

There is a further major initiative to help revitalise our inner city areas. The urban development grant scheme was launched last April. This scheme is also designed to use public funds to attract much larger resources from the private sector to provide fresh stimulus to the economic regeneration of our urban areas. I am pleased to tell the House that that scheme has attracted a very substantial response. I am about to announce today my approval in principle for the first batch of 41 projects. All those projects involve partnership with the private sector. I am placing details in the Library.

Those schemes are among the most straightforward and complete of those submitted in the first bidding round, and can start soon. Some projects have not been approved and in those cases the individual authorities are being notified. Those still before us include some of the larger and more complex schemes that inevitably take longer and on which detailed work is still proceeding. I will announce further approvals as soon as possible.

The first 41 projects I have approved today cover a wide range of imaginative schemes, including the restoration and conversion of derelict buildings for offices and industrial purposes; the redevelopment of decaying buildings or derelict sites; the conversion of rundown estates for inner city housing for sale; recreational and sports projects; and other schemes for restoring commercial and industrial activity. Nearly 4,000 construction and permanent jobs will be retained or created by these projects.

The projects involve about £10 million of public money leading to additional private sector investment of £40 million making a total of £50 million of investment altogether. That represents a ratio of public to private sector money of one to four, and I expect the bulk of the expenditure on these schemes to take place in 1983–84.

In the light of the excellent response to the urban development grant scheme, I can tell the House that it will certainly continue for a further year. I shall be advising local authorities of the bidding procedures in due course.

The measures I have announced will ensure a greater concentration of effort and resources in some of our most needy areas. In particular, the special derelict land grant and urban development grant schemes are an exciting new approach in using public funds to achieve the maximum impact in those areas. The approved projects cost the public purse £40 million. But the benefit to the community is much greater because the substantial additional resources attracted from the private sector will lead to total investment of nearly £300 million.

This announcement makes a significant step forward to tackling some of the urgent problems of dereliction and economic decline in our towns and cities. It will provide substantial job opportunities, and I commend it to the House.

Photo of Gerald Kaufman Gerald Kaufman Shadow Secretary of State (Environment)

Anybody who qualifies for the schemes will be grateful for what is made available, and the statement is to be welcomed on that account. The Opposition will study the details with care and interest. But is it not a comment on the Government that areas in the formerly prosperous west midlands such as Coventry and Sandwell have had to be added to the list of areas suffering from deprivation.?

How many jobs overall does the Secretary of State estimate will be created by his statement? I should be grateful if he would distinguish between jobs that are retained and those that are created. He spoke of 4,000 retained or created jobs in the construction industry. How many will be created, and how many retained? They must be set against the 200,000 construction jobs that have been destroyed by the Government's policies on the construction industry.

How much new money will be committed to the programmes under all the headings? The right hon. Gentleman's statement is unclear—perhaps deliberately so. He said that he is providing an analysis of urban deprivation and that it will be available in the Library. Will he provide an analysis of Government deprivation for the same places? How much money is being lost to those areas in grant holdback? On the figures available—no doubt the right hon. Gentleman will correct me if I am wrong—I estimate that the Government will make £57 million of new money available. On 14 December, and again last month, at the right hon. Gentleman's request, the House voted to take £131 million away from these local authorities in holdback.

Of the new authorities that the Secretary of State has designated today, £28 million was taken away in holdback. Will the Minister tell the House the net loss they will suffer as a result of his actions? Will he tell the House when it will be possible for the local authorities to spend the urban development grant moneys that he has spoken of this afternoon, and to which he says there is an excellent response? The Minister knows that at present it is illegal for local authorities to spend this money because of doubt about the powers under section 137 of the Local Government Act 1972. Will the right hon. Gentleman tell the House when he intends to introduce legislation that will legalise the making of the grants?

Photo of Mr Tom King Mr Tom King Secretary of State for Environment

I am grateful to the right hon. Gentleman for what started as and, I hope, continued as a welcome for my statement.

It is within the powers of the majority of local authorities to take advantage of the urban development grant scheme. Queries have been raised by some local authorities that were not clear about their powers. In answer to a parliamentary question last week, I made it clear that the Government will seek to introduce amendments as soon as possible to clear up the doubts of local authorities. I hope that it will have the support of the Opposition, because it could be important for some authorities.

It is extremely difficult to answer with precision the right hon. Gentleman's question about jobs. More than 1,000 jobs are involved in the construction programme on the Government's assessment. When one talks of the provision of new industrial premises, that will undoub-tedly lead to the creation of some new jobs for firms which are prevented from expanding by the constriction of existing premises. It may involve businesses transferring from totally unsatisfactory premises that might otherwise be closed under health, safety or other legislation. It may mean that some businesses will move without creating new jobs. Our best assessment, as I gave in my statement—I cannot give an estimate for the derelict land scheme—is that on the urban development grant side 4,000 jobs have either been retained or will be created. That is as honest an answer as I can give to the House. I am sure that every hon. Member is aware of the difficulties involved in making that assessment.

The right hon. Gentleman asked about the current consumption of local authorities and tried to contrast that with our schemes for capital investment in those areas. One of the tragedies of the areas involved is that the level of current consumption has been at the expense of new capital investment. If anybody wishes to know the consequence of that policy, one need only look at some of the areas that were the subject of my statement today.

The right hon. Gentleman spoke about new money. The programmes to which I am referring—the urban development grant and the derelict land grant—for 1982–83 had funds allocated of £350 million, and the sum for 1983–84 will be £423 million. I contrast that figure with the programme worth £160 million that we inherited from the Labour Government to tackle these serious inner city problems.

Photo of Gerald Kaufman Gerald Kaufman Shadow Secretary of State (Environment)

The Secretary of State is telling the House that he is taking away more from those local authorities than they would get under his scheme. It is all money.

The Secretary of State estimated that the number of jobs retained and created is about 4,000. That is so strange an estimate that the Secretary of State is unable to divide that figure into those retained and those created. Will he now give the House the information? How many have been retained and how many have been created?

The right hon. Gentleman made light of the legal position under section 137 of the Local Government Act 1972. Will he tell the House when he will introduce a Bill that will make it possible for local authorities to be sure that they have the legal right to make those grants?

Photo of Mr Tom King Mr Tom King Secretary of State for Environment

The right hon. Gentleman made heavy weather of his last point. In our judgment, it is possible for the vast majority of local authorities to take advantage of their powers under local legislation.

It has been suggested that some local authorities may not have the necessary powers. There is a technicality under section 137 that involves the use of loans but not grants. We shall try to clarify the position at the earliest opportunity.

If the right hon. Gentleman does not understand my answer about the impossibility of predicting exactly the job content in this expenditure, I shall discuss it further with him, but the rest of the House will understand why it is not possible to give an absolute prediction of job content. A substantial number of extra jobs will be created from certain of the projects involved. Jobs will be saved that otherwise would be lost. If the right hon. Gentleman studies the nature of the schemes, of which copies are available in the Library, he will understand my answers.

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

Does my right hon. Friend appreciate that most hon. Members are fully aware that what he has told us suggests further inspired action by the Government to invest in urban areas? His statement will be well received in the conurbation of Tyneside and the city of Newcastle.

Photo of Mr Tom King Mr Tom King Secretary of State for Environment

I appreciate my hon. Friend's approach to this matter and I am grateful for his comments. Anybody who has studied the problems of the inner city areas knows perfectly well that the solutions do not lie in larger and larger subsidies for current consumption from the public purse. Self-sustaining communities must be created in which people may live and work. If the contribution of public money can be used to prime the pump to encourage private sector investment, that is the best possible prospect of lasting improvements or those areas.

Photo of Mr David Alton Mr David Alton , Liverpool Edge Hill

Although I welcome much of what is in the proposals, especially on behalf of my hon. Friend the Member for Rochdale (Mr. Smith), whose town is included in the list, may I ask the Minister whether he does not agree that these proposals must be seen in perspective? Last year Liverpool lost 10,000 jobs. Its rate support grant has been cut by £63 million in the past three years and the crime rate increased by a record 7 per cent. last year. These proposals will be seen as candyfloss and cosmetic. Will the Minister give an assurance that fundamental bread and butter provision will be restored? Will he tell the House what the future of the task force and the urban programme are likely to be?

Photo of Mr Tom King Mr Tom King Secretary of State for Environment

I should have thought that the hon. Gentleman was well enough aware of the problems of the city that he represents not to dismiss this initiative as candyfloss. He knows well enough, as do I with my lesser knowledge of that city, which I accept, to recognise that what is required is encouragement and hope and the knowledge that new initiatives are coming. I hope that he will, on reflection, feel able to welcome the scheme. It will not solve the massive problems, but it is an important start in that direction.

Photo of Mr Dale Campbell-Savours Mr Dale Campbell-Savours , Workington

I thank the hon. Gentleman on behalf of my constituents for the £2 million that has been extended to Workington. This is only the beginning. If the severe and substantial problem of dereliction in Workington is to be dealt with, further substantial sums of public money must be made available, and we shall be coming back to the Government for those sums of money.

Photo of Mr Tom King Mr Tom King Secretary of State for Environment

As the hon. Gentleman knows, the Government are interested in seeing improvements in areas such as that which he represents. The Government are conscious of the problems resulting from closures in the steel industry in that area. The Government are anxious to make that area and other areas places in which the private sector is willing to invest. The Government are willing to give encouragement in the form of public money to support and attract such investment.

Photo of Anthony Steen Anthony Steen , Liverpool Wavertree

The House must welcome these splendid initiatives, but does my right hon. Friend realise that many of the problems of the urban areas have been created by too much central and local government intervention? Will he ensure that, in putting the urban initiatives into practice, he will get Government off the backs of the people and involve people in helping themselves as far as possible?

Photo of Mr Tom King Mr Tom King Secretary of State for Environment

I very much endorse my hon. Friend's comments. As he, with his interest in such matters, knows very well, it is essential that we enlist the support and enthusiasm of those who live in the areas. We shall give encouragement and support, but those areas cannot survive permanently if they must be propped up permanently. I hope that this announcement will be a step towards a rather different approach to encourage areas, with public support, to help themselves.

Photo of Mr Allan Roberts Mr Allan Roberts , Bootle

Will the Minister tell hon. Members whose constituencies have been named in programme areas that that means very little? Will he tell them that Bootle has been in a programme area for the past three years, that the number of people claiming DHSS benefits has increased by 35 per cent. and that unemployent among active males has risen from 12 per cent. to 26 per cent.? Will he also tell them that all the firms that came to Bootle with the support of public incentives have closed down and left?

Photo of Mr Tom King Mr Tom King Secretary of State for Environment

I am not sure whether the hon. Gentleman was trying to release his authority from programme status or whether he chose to confuse two entirely different issues. I hope that he will welcome the scheme. I thought that he took some interest in the matter. He will be aware, from his experience in local government, of the problem to be tackled, for example, in Manchester, which will benefit from some of the proposals.

Photo of Mr Hilary Miller Mr Hilary Miller , Bromsgrove and Redditch

I welcome my right hon. Friend's recognition of the difficulties of the west midlands and the principle of helping people to help themselves. Does he recognise, from his visits to the region, that large-scale problems of derelict land are still to be tackled, and when he comes to consider the rating reform will he bear in mind the need not to increase that dereliction by allowing void rating of industrial premises, thus leading to the destruction of industrial buildings?

Photo of Mr Tom King Mr Tom King Secretary of State for Environment

I admire my hon. Friend's ingenuity in bringing that matter into this discussion. I am reviewing the position, and my hon. Friend will be pleased to know that the proposals that I have announced will involve, on our present calculations, new investment of about £55 million in the west midlands. I hope that that will be welcomed.

Photo of Jack Straw Jack Straw Shadow Spokesperson (Treasury)

Is the Secretary of State aware that the spectacle of a Conservative Minister taking pride in an increase in public spending so that jobs will be safeguarded is especially welcome to the Opposition, as is the clear recognition in his statement that the private sector alone cannot undo the damage that the Government have wreaked on many urban areas? Does the right hon. Gentleman understand that, although all of us welcome small mercies, the clear truth is that in Blackburn and every other area that has been decimated the damage of the past three years and the increase in unemployment and dereliction have followed not only the general economic policies of the Government but the withdrawal of public spending, especially on industrial assistance? Will the Secretary of State now urge his right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Industry forthwith to restore industrial assistance to all areas that lost it and that have suffered increased unemployment as a result?

Photo of Mr Tom King Mr Tom King Secretary of State for Environment

In my statement I took pride in announcing the more effective use of public resources. I know that the hon. Gentleman is familiar with the background to some of those subjects, and he will know that in the past many such programmes have been applied on a blanket approach, often regardless of whether there was to be further investment or whether the resources would be put to effective use. What we are trying to do, in what will always be a position of limited public resources, is to get the maximum benefit for the public from such investment. I take pride in the fact that today's statement marks an important departure in that direction.

Photo of Mr James Lester Mr James Lester , Beeston

May I tell my right hon. Friend how pleased I am that the queen of the midlands has found its way to the heart of a King? The project and the exciting partnership prospects that lie ahead are important not only for the creation of jobs but to an increase in the quality of life for the wide range of inner city inhabitants.

Photo of Mr Tom King Mr Tom King Secretary of State for Environment

Hon. Members may be interested to see the range of schemes that we have approved under the urban development grant. Nottingham is one example where we considered several aspects of the problem. I hope that it will be felt that we have supported schemes that are different in character but each of which can make a contribution towards the area.

Photo of Mr Laurie Pavitt Mr Laurie Pavitt , Brent South

I thank the Secretary of State and his colleagues for recognising at long last the fact that inner city problems exist in London as elsewhere and for his selection of the London borough of Brent. What are the mechanics for achieving a quick start in taking the initiatives needed? Does the Minister expect an approach from the local authority, or will there be a joint meeting? Has the right hon. Gentleman read a report of the south-east region TUC published this week, which shows that London and the south-east are two of the most dispossessed areas in the country?

Photo of Mr Tom King Mr Tom King Secretary of State for Environment

I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for his rather more generous comments than those that the right hon. Member for Manchester, Ardwick (Mr. Kaufman) felt able to make. I have today written to the leader of Brent borough council. We hope to initiate the earliest possible discussions on this matter because we are anxious to get ahead in establishing the new status and the new work so that it can be effective in the coming year.

Photo of Mr Malcolm Thornton Mr Malcolm Thornton , Liverpool, Garston

I very much welcome my right hon. Friend's statement and the Government's commitment to doing something about the problems of urban renewal, especially with reference to the £10 million that will be allocated to Merseyside as part of the Government's continuing initiatives in that area. It will be much appreciated. Will my right hon. Friend remind people on any and every occasion that the problems of dereliction have not happened overnight and cannot be put right overnight? Does my right hon. Friend agree that those who pretend that there is an instant solution to the problem are deluding themselves and are being extremely dishonest to those who live in the areas?

Photo of Mr Tom King Mr Tom King Secretary of State for Environment

I am grateful to my hon. Friend. With his close knowledge of Merseyside, he will know the scale of the problem. I am also grateful to him for reminding the House that several of the problems that we are trying to tackle have existed for many years. We are now embarking on a more effective approach to try to marry such resources as exist in the public sector with the undoubtedly substantial resources of the private sector.

Photo of Mr George Park Mr George Park , Coventry North East

The announcement of programme authority status for Coventry will be warmly welcomed. The city has been seeking such status since 1978 and today's announcement is a recognition of the tremendous difficulties that we face. Will the Minister confirm that in giving this recognition the proposals will provide an opportunity for access to European Community funds?

Photo of Mr Tom King Mr Tom King Secretary of State for Environment

I am grateful for the hon. Gentleman's acceptance of the scheme, and I confirm that it will provide such an opportunity.

Photo of Mr John Cartwright Mr John Cartwright , Greenwich Woolwich East

Does the Secretary of State accept that there is widespread support for a policy of using public funds as a lever to obtain private investment in the hard-pressed inner urban areas? Does he also accept that many of the schemes that he approved for urban development grant involved the provision of new or refurbished industrial or commercial accommodation? What guarantee does he have that they will be used, when there are many empty factories, offices and warehouses throughout the urban areas?

Photo of Mr Tom King Mr Tom King Secretary of State for Environment

There was a careful appraisal of the schemes that I have announced today. They were independently appraised and we rejected several schemes where we did not believe that it was likely that the units would be taken up. The schemes that I have announced today are those where we believe that it is probable that the units will be occupied. I point out that matter to the hon. Gentleman because it is an important aspect of my announcement. Each of those projects involves private investment backing its judgment. Previously public funds were invested as a result of the judgment of Ministers, civil servants and others in the hope that it would prove to be right. Now the private sector is backing its judgment that it can make a success of it and let the undustrial units.

Photo of Mr John Heddle Mr John Heddle , Lichfield and Tamworth

Does my right hon. Friend agree that inner city dereliction started with the flight of private sector capital from the inner cities and that what he has announced today provides a new lease of life and a new deal for inner cities in general and the west midlands in particular? Does my right hon. Friend agree that one way to encourage the job creation sector back into inner cities is to encourage the service sector back into inner cities? Will he therefore consult the Secretary of State for Industry and the Chancellor of the Exchequer to ensure that the service sector takes up industrial buildings allowances wherever possible?

Photo of Mr Tom King Mr Tom King Secretary of State for Environment

I note my hon. Friend's point. He is absolutely right to point to the fact that we face difficulties because of the flight of private sector investment. The purpose of this scheme is to reintroduce it to areas where, without initial pump priming, it might not be willing to go. I also note what my hon. Friend said about the service sector. If he examines the schemes, he will note that there is no such discrimination in them.

Photo of Mr Robert Kilroy-Silk Mr Robert Kilroy-Silk , Ormskirk

I welcome the decision to designate Knowsley as a programme authority. Does the Secretary of State agree that deprivation there, as on Merseyside, has been created largely by the Government's economic policy? Would it not be much more sensible to restore the cuts in public expenditure and the rate support grant and to reverse the Government's economic policies that have cost 80,000 jobs on Merseyside and 22 factories in Kirkby since the Government came to office?

Photo of Mr Tom King Mr Tom King Secretary of State for Environment

I paid my first visit to Kirkby when the hon. Gentleman's party formed the Government. If he is trying to present the problems of Knowsley and Kirkby to the House as being the result of the Conservative Government coming to power in 1979, he is indulging in a huge distortion. The hon. Gentleman knows perfectly well that the problems there are of long standing. I am sorry that he did not feel able to give this effort, which is obviously not a solution, a more generous welcome.

Photo of Mr David Trippier Mr David Trippier , Rossendale

I warmly congratulate my right hon. Friend on the new initiatives that he has announced. Will he seriously consider the case that was made to him by the Rossendale borough council which is anxious that that area should be designated as a zone for Operation Groundwork? Could he be a little more specific about the timing of his final decision on the issue?

Photo of Mr Tom King Mr Tom King Secretary of State for Environment

I am glad to be able to tell my hon. Friend that my reference to the extension of the groundwork scheme will include Rossendale. I know that my hon. Friend has taken a close interest in the matter. I hope that that important scheme, which was originally launched around St. Helens, will be of great benefit especially to my hon. Friend's area and other areas of the north-west that need that approach.

Photo of Mr Andrew Faulds Mr Andrew Faulds , Warley East

Although I must welcome the inclusion of Sandwell, in which my constituency lies, in the programme, is not its inclusion a measure of the disaster that the Government has imposed on a previously highly active industrial area? Should not the inclusion of Sandwell have been decided upon years ago when the damage caused by the Government first became apparent?

Photo of Mr Tom King Mr Tom King Secretary of State for Environment

We all know that the hon. Gentleman has represented his constituency for some time. Other people have been to that part of the country for many years. He knows well that the problems of dereliction in Sandwell and some of the problems of industrial decline and industrial obsolescence in that area are deep seated. If he believes that something should have been done a long time ago, he should ask his right hon. and hon. Friends on the Opposition Front Bench about it. I am just happy to have made my announcement today.

Photo of Mr John Stokes Mr John Stokes , Halesowen and Stourbridge

Is my right hon. Friend aware that the new proposals will be greatly appreciated by the self-reliant people of Halesowen who never complain and never expect anything? Nevertheless, I understand that a new factory is to be built there. Is he aware that they especially welcome the participation of the private sector in that development?

Photo of Mr Tom King Mr Tom King Secretary of State for Environment

The self-reliant people of Halesowen are represented splendidly by a self-reliant Member of Parliament. I am grateful to him for his welcome.

Several Hon. Members:


Photo of Mr George Thomas Mr George Thomas , Cardiff West

Order. I propose to call three more hon. Members from each side of the House and then to move on to the other business.

Photo of Mr Alfred Dubs Mr Alfred Dubs , Wandsworth Battersea South

Is the Secretary of State aware that his recognition of Wandsworth's special problems with regard to being a deprived inner city area will be welcome, although his recognition of that fact is long overdue? How much money will go to Wandsworth as a result of his proposals? Will he now call on Wandsworth council to stop cutting its services, as it has been doing for the past three and a half years, to the great disadvantage of the people of Wandsworth who are now suffering more than ever before?

Photo of Mr Tom King Mr Tom King Secretary of State for Environment

I know that the efforts that have been made in Wandsworth by the admirably run Conservative council have done more to protect jobs in that borough than have the efforts of the neighbouring borough of Lambeth, the rating policies of which are in stark contrast and have done everything possible to drive people over the boundary.

The hon. Gentleman asked about funds. There is a problem with regard to the time that it takes to develop and effect a programme. I have informed Wandsworth borough council that for next year £1 million will be available. I expect that figure to increase significantly as the programme develops.

Photo of Mr Robin Squire Mr Robin Squire , Hornchurch

I congratulate my right hon. Friend on his announcement, and especially on the ratio of public to private investment—a ratio of 1:4 is projected. Will he, in conjunction with the Secretary of State for Industry, keep under close review the need for more small units of 1,500 sq ft for office and factory requirements in inner city areas? Does he agree that that would be a major step towards increasing employment opportunities

Photo of Mr Tom King Mr Tom King Secretary of State for Environment

As I said in an earlier reply, my hon. Friend would be interested to examine the schemes in detail. The schemes are the result of the judgment of the private sector that the industrial units can be let. I agree that the most important area of development for industrial units now is to make smaller premises available for businesses.

Photo of Mr Jack Ashley Mr Jack Ashley , Stoke-on-Trent South

Is the Secretary of State aware that north Staffordshire has one of the best land reclamation programmes in the country and yet has one of the fastest growing rates of unemployment as a direct result of the Government's policies? Is there any way in which he can offer special help to north Staffordshire?

Photo of Mr Tom King Mr Tom King Secretary of State for Environment

I am familiar with some of the reclamation projects in Staffordshire. The right hon. Gentleman will concede that several of them have been for amenity and environmental purposes. What I have announced under category A is specifically different. I do not disparage the importance of environmental improvement, but it is geared directly to new private investment and construction. I hope to see Staffordshire and other parts of the country participate in that.

Photo of Nicholas Winterton Nicholas Winterton , Macclesfield

I congratulate my right hon. Friend on the impressive and constructive proposals that he has announced today. They emphasise the importance of public and private capital expenditure as against revenue expenditure. Does he agree that there are several towns in shire counties as well as towns within metropolitan areas that have industrial deprivation? Will he consider the circumstances of towns such as Macclesfield and Congleton which played their part in the industrial revolution centuries ago? Will he consider them for assistance under the excellent proposals that he has announced today?

Photo of Mr Tom King Mr Tom King Secretary of State for Environment

My hon. Friend will understand that analysing deprivation and trying to achieve a fair balance when designating areas and authorities that have special needs is a peculiarly difficult problem. I understand his point. He may not be aware of the fact that I have been examining schemes for what I call the peripheral approach to towns and Operation Groundwork. I have decided that, in addition to the ones in Lancashire and the north-west, Macclesfield could also be the subject of such a scheme.

Photo of Mr John Sever Mr John Sever , Birmingham, Ladywood

In the event of the Minister not including the now long-established derelict site in the centre of Birmingham known as the Snow Hill site in his scheme today, will he undertake to write to me or publish his Department's views on how that enormous site in the heart of the country's second largest city can be developed?

Photo of Mr Tom King Mr Tom King Secretary of State for Environment

I have not the details immediately to hand, but I will certainly look into the point raised by the hon. Member.

Photo of Mr Kenneth Lewis Mr Kenneth Lewis , Rutland and Stamford

I proposed to ask the same question as that asked by my hon. Friend the Member for Macclesfield (Mr. Winterton). I am very glad that the Minister has told us about the judicious priming of the pump in co-operation with free enterprise. Will he make another statement in a week or two on help for those towns in the shire counties referred to by my hon. Friend, many of which could do with similar assistance?

Photo of Mr Tom King Mr Tom King Secretary of State for Environment

Although my hon. Friend was about to ask the same question, I am not able to give him the same answer. I can tell him, however, as he will have noticed from my statement, that the announcement I have made about urban development grant projects is only the first announcement of the first schemes. I hope that the next announcement, which may be in another form, will be made in a few weeks. Priming the pump and using public money in this way is a most exciting development. I hope that the House will recognise its potential.

Photo of Mrs Renée Short Mrs Renée Short , Wolverhampton North East

Does the Minister realise that the scheme he has announced today is a direct result of his Government's policies since 1979 of bringing about the dereliction of British industry? In my constituency we have the Guy Motors site, the latest example of a derelict site following the Government's refusal to help the industry to carry on. What does he intend to do to help areas such as Wolverhampton that have not been included in the scheme—God knows why not—where we have an unemployment rate of 18 per cent. and where thousands of young people have been on one scheme after another but cannot find jobs?

Photo of Mr Tom King Mr Tom King Secretary of State for Environment

The hon. Lady is repeating something that her hon. Friends have said, that the problems of these areas all began in 1979. I can no more accept it from her than from anyone else. The project I have announced today, in which I hope Wolverhampton will play its part and in which there is a possibility of schemes coming forward, is one that I hope she will welcome because she knows well enough the long-standing problems of these areas. In the current recession the problems of some of the traditional industries of the west midlands and the black country are grave enough. However, I hope that some of the initiatives that we are taking, particularly these which will help in certain areas, will be welcomed.


Photo of Mr George Foulkes Mr George Foulkes , Ayrshire South

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. While we understand why you did not call Scottish Members to ask questions on the statement which covers only England and Wales, may I ask the Leader of the House, who is present, whether a parallel statement covering Scotland will be made in the usual perfunctory manner through a written answer; or is there no parallel programme for Scotland and have the Conservatives abandoned Scotland now and for the next election?

Photo of Mr George Thomas Mr George Thomas , Cardiff West

I suggest that the hon. Member follows that up in another way. I am afraid that I cannot help him.

Photo of Mr Alex Lyon Mr Alex Lyon , City of York

You will recollect, Mr. Speaker, that the Secretary of State for the Environment indicated at the beginning of his statement that he had lodged accompanying documents in the Library. I have been to the Library for one of those documents, and it appears that the Department has lodged one copy and that the staff of the Library have to photostat the necessary number of copies. Since this document is of interest to a great many Members, is there no way whereby the House can be better served in relation to the deposit of documents by copies either being available at the Table Office or being distributed to Members, as they are distributed to the press?

Photo of Mr George Thomas Mr George Thomas , Cardiff West

I doubt whether I am responsible in this matter, but of course I will examine it.

Following are the data:

DistrictPopulation 1981Population change 1971·81Mortality rateUnemploymentSingle parent householdsPensioners living aloneOvercrowded householdsHouseholds lacking exclusive use of basic amenitiesResidents in new Commonwealth and Pakistan households
NumberPer cent.NumberPer cent.NumberPer cent.NumberPer cent.NumberPer cent.NumberPer cent.NumberPer cent.
Tower Hamlets142,841-22,936-13·81·0410,91215·54,2308·08,59916·25,30510·03,2396·127,65720·3
North Tyneside198,209-9,710-4·71·1111,54412·34,0685·411,63815·62,4523·31,4842·01,2460·6
South Tyneside160,410-16,672-9·41·1412,54516·83,3285·69,54916·12,7294·61,8683·19880·6
Designated Districts
St. Helens189,7597580·41·2110,93112·43,1854·88,82713·42,2803·54,3416·69140·5

Definition of Key Indicators

The data shown in the table are assembled from the 1981 census and the "Veal Statistics" published by the Office of Population Census and Survey (OPCS). The definitions of the data are specified below.

(a) Population: Population present on census night Source: 1981 Census

(b) Population Change: The percentage change in the population present on census night between 1971 and 1981

Source: 1971 and 1981 Census

(c) Standardised Mortality Rate 1980: The ratio of the locally adjusted death rate to the national rate

Source: 'Vital Statistics' OPCS

(d) Unemployment: The percentage of economically active residents who are unemployed

Source: 1981 Census

(e) Single parent households: The percentage of private households which contain at least one single-parent family with dependent child(ren) aged 0–15

Source: 1981 Census

(f) Pensioners living alone: The percentage of private households containing only one pensioner (males over 65, females over 60) living alone

Source: 1981 Census

(g) Overcrowding: The percentage of private households in permanent buildings living at more than one person per room

Source: 1981 Census

(h) Households lacking exclusive use of basic amenities: The percentage of private households in permanent buildings which lack the exclusive use of a bath and inside WC

Source: 1981 Census

(i) Residents in New Commonwealth & Pakistan households: The percentage of residents in households where the head of the household was born in the New Commonwealth or Pakistan.

Source: 1981 Census

Note 2

The census data give a broad indication of the scale, intensity and concentration of deprivation, but in selecting additional authorities for designation or programme status account has also been taken of the availability of resources and the prospects for effective joint working with the Government and the private sector to alleviate the conditions giving rise to social need. Account has also been taken of the availability of alternative means of dealing with deprivation.