Northern Region

Oral Answers to Questions — Industry – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 14th March 1983.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Mr Dale Campbell-Savours Mr Dale Campbell-Savours , Workington 12:00 am, 14th March 1983

asked the Secretary of State for Industry whether he will convene a meeting of representatives of industry, local authorities and trade unions to discuss regional policy and other measures to deal with unemployment in the northern region.

Photo of Mr Norman Lamont Mr Norman Lamont , Kingston upon Thames

I am all in favour of those concerned with industrial development in particular areas coming together to consider local problems, but I de not think that it is necessary for me to convene such meetings.

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

Is the Minister aware that many people in the organisations in the northern region believe that the mild reflation forecast for this week's Budget, if unaccompanied by direct intervention and Government decisions to direct factories into the English regions, will lead to few jobs being created in the peripheral regions and more jobs being created in the major centres of population in the south? Is that what the Government really want? Is that the sort of divided society that they have set out to create? Why do they not consult those in the regions prior to taking the industrial component decisions in their Budget strategy each year?

Photo of Mr Norman Lamont Mr Norman Lamont , Kingston upon Thames

We spend a considerable amount of time talking to representatives of the northern region. It is ludicrous for the hon. Gentleman to say that the northern region has not received assistance from the Government. It has had £469 million of regional development grant since 1979, £77 million of selective financial assistance, considerable help—

Photo of Mr Norman Lamont Mr Norman Lamont , Kingston upon Thames

The hon. Gentleman called for intervention to help the northern region. It has had that through regional policy, enterprise zones, assistance to the shipbuilding and steel industries and, above all, more than 90 per cent. of the northern area has assisted area status. It receives a great deal of Government attention.

Photo of Mr Jack Dormand Mr Jack Dormand , Easington

Does the Minister recall making a speech last year in which he urged companies to move their headquarters and research and development units to the regions? How many companies have done so? What is the Minister doing about it? Is he aware that some of us believe that it might have been only a "paper speech" and that he does not have any real interest in the northern region?

Photo of Mr Norman Lamont Mr Norman Lamont , Kingston upon Thames

The office and service industries scheme is designed to do exactly what the hon. Gentleman asks. There have been a number of examples of service industries and offices moving to the northern region. I shall write to the hon. Gentleman with details.