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Regional Investment

Volume 827: debated on Monday 29 November 1971

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asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what new plans he has for increasing public investment in the regions.

Since the hon. Member tabled this Question my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer announced many helpful new measures on 23rd November, 1971.

Does not the hon. Gentleman recognise the great contradiction between the statement of the Chancellor last week and the determination, as pronounced in the White Paper of October, 1970, to cut public expendi- ture? When will the Chancellor's belated announcement last week about increasing public investment in the regions have its effect on the unemployment figures?

I do not acknowledge a contradiction for the very good reason that the timing is quite different. One has to be cautious in making forecasts as to the effect of my right hon. Friend's announcement, but I would expect that it would be certainly within the next six months.

Will my hon. Friend accept that already in the North, I am glad to say, some commitments by local authorities have already been brought forward and that I am grateful for this? At the same time, will he convey to the Secretary of State for Social Services and the Secretary of State for Education and Science that I am looking forward to some very good announcements from them for speedier procedures to meet commitments which could be brought forward? I am looking forward with keen anxiety to hearing good news in this connection.

I am always grateful for my hon. Friend's gratitude and I will convey her feelings to my right hon. Friends.