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Regional Development

Volume 721: debated on Thursday 25 November 1965

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7.

asked the First Secretary of State and Secretary of State for Economic Affairs to what extent his plans for regional development have been affected by the selectivity of the Government's recent cuts on capital spending.

The effect of this selectivity has been to protect the less prosperous regions and will help to correct regional imbalance.

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that his right hon. Friend said in debate on the National Plan that Scotland had been exempted from the Chancellor's financial restrictions? Is he further aware that only last Wednesday the Secretary of State for Scotland indicated that capital borrowing for the third quarter had been down by one-third, that house building this year had been cut by over 2,000 and that the road programme had been slashed? Is this exemption? Should not the Minister come to Scotland and see what is happening?

What is happening in Scotland is that, for the first time, Scotland is cushioned against the consequences of the need to restrict pressure elsewhere. My own experience is that the people of Scotland are very satisfied.

Will the hon. Gentleman give me an assurance that hydroelectric schemes submitted by local authorities to the Water Resources Board under the Water Resources Act will be exempted from capital restrictions where they apply to development districts?