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Labour (Regional Demands)

Volume 720: debated on Thursday 18 November 1965

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14.

asked the First Secretary of State and Secretary of State for Economic Affairs what proposals he has for restraining demand for labour in the regions of the country where it may be too high, without causing a check to development and excessive unemployment in the regions where it is too low.

We have exempted development districts from the measures announced in July to slow down the growth of public and private investment; we are exercising control over office development in the areas round London and Birmingham; and we have tightened the controls on industrial development in places with high demand for labour. These measures are already having the intended effects in the regions. The Government's further proposals to improve the regional balance were, of course, mentioned in the Gracious Speech.

Does not the Minister think, however, that there is still acute danger that though the extra demand and money may be pumped into some regions which require it, there is too big a flow-back to the South-East? Will the hon. Gentleman look at differential rates of taxation in addition to the measures which he has mentioned?

We are looking at all possible measures. As the right hon. Gentleman knows, it is the Government's firm intention to ensure that there is a proper balance of employment and economic activity throughout the country. In this matter, Scottish considerations are always before us.