Regional Economic Development

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 9:59 am on 13th February 2001.

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Photo of Linda Gilroy Linda Gilroy Labour/Co-operative, Plymouth, Sutton 9:59 am, 13th February 2001

I do not think that the hon. Gentleman and I represent the same party yet. The lack of Conservative representation here today is unfortunate.

I want to reflect on the size of the challenges represented by the legacy of the previous Conservative Government to the present Government in 1997. It is ironic that Devon and Cornwall--the part of the country that all hon. Members present in the Chamber today represent--suffered most under the policies of the previous Conservative Government, yet only four of its 16 Members of Parliament are Government Members. Let us hope that the forthcoming general election will change that; it will be detrimental if it does not.

Cornwall qualified for objective 1 status, which demonstrates how seriously it suffered. My constituency contains the poorest ward in England. In common with all regions, our region's economic performance was below the European average. I look forward to hearing the Minister remind us of the importance of regional development agencies to the achievement of growth in all regions.