asked the President of the Board of Trade what positive results have been achieved by the recent official visit of the Parliamentary Secretary to the Merseyside industrial Development Area; and to what extent it has brought nearer a decision to build an advance factory at Birkenhead.
My hon. and learned Friend was invited to Lancashire to see for himself what progress is being made in the three Development Areas. As to the second part of the Question, it is not our policy to build factories in advance of demand.
Is the Minister aware that no new factory accommodation is avail able in Birkenhead and that until advance factories are built there is no possibility of attracting alternative industries? Will he not do something more about it?
The hon. Member knows that I have the interest of this important area very much at heart, but there are powerful arguments against the building of advance factories in this, as in other areas.
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the implementation of the Government's policy of bring new indusdustries to the North-East Lancashire Development Area is warmly welcomed there and that his hon. and learned learned Friend's visit made a notable contribution in seeing what development is going on in accordance with that policy?
Will the right hon. Gentleman also bear in mind that Nelson and Colne, which is admittedly at the worst end of this Development Area, has derived no benefit whatever so far from the declaration of this Development Area?
I think it must have escaped the hon. Member's attention that, since this Government came into office, the area has been declared a Development Area and a start has been made with one of the biggest factories in the whole of North-East Lancashire.
Can my right hon. Friend say whether "advance" building means "speculative" building?
Is not the right hon. Gentleman himself mistaken? Has it escaped his attention that the factory about which he is talking, though in this North-East Lancashire area, is not in the Burnley or Nelson and Colne end of it?
The hon. Gentleman may criticise the fact that it is not in a particular part of the Development Area, but until I started on this matter it was not a Development Area and there was no factory there anyway.