Local Investment

Oral Answers to Questions — Trade and Industry – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 5th June 1985.

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Photo of Mr Michael Meadowcroft Mr Michael Meadowcroft , Leeds West 12:00 am, 5th June 1985

asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry whether he will have discussions with representatives of local enterprise boards and of industry with a view to securing a co-ordinated approach to local investment.

Photo of Mr David Trippier Mr David Trippier , Rossendale and Darwen

I frequently meet representatives of local and national bodies concerned with investment in industry, including local enterprise agencies.

Photo of Mr Michael Meadowcroft Mr Michael Meadowcroft , Leeds West

Is the Minister aware that there will be a wide welcome in the House for the more constructive Government and business attitude towards the local authority enterprise boards? Will he accept the need for better co-ordination to give prompt help to new and expanded businesses? Can he give the House any assurance of the future of the West Yorkshire enterprise board and about its urgent need for further capital resources?

Photo of Mr David Trippier Mr David Trippier , Rossendale and Darwen

The hon. Gentleman makes a very important point. It is essential that I should stress that local enterprise boards, as opposed to enterprise agencies, are companies limited by guarantee and not directly affected by the Local Government Bill currently before the House. I understand that West Yorkshire county council has asked for consent for funding of the enterprise board to a sum of £2 million in 1985–86, and that that is currently before my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Environment. The hon. Gentleman may be aware that I am constantly trying to encourage the use of local enterprise agencies such as the Leeds business venture, with which I know he is very familiar, as a signposting service and as a one-stop shop. I think that that excellent enterprise agency is in a very strong position with regard to acting as a co-ordinator in getting small firms financed. That will speed matters up and, I hope, remove many of the obstacles and the confusion which the hon. Gentleman has identified in his question.

Photo of Mr Frank Haynes Mr Frank Haynes , Ashfield

I listened to what the Minister had to say, but he is not doing very well, is he? He visited a particular boat-building firm in my constituency and made certain promises, and then let it down. Why have these exhibitions been cancelled?

Photo of Mr David Trippier Mr David Trippier , Rossendale and Darwen

I must confess to the hon. Gentleman that I have not the slightest clue what he is talking about.