asked the Secretary of State for Industry if he will outline the criteria for specification of land as a derelict land clearance area; how much land has been so designated in Lancashire; and what is the amount of grant paid in this respect in the acquisition and improvement of derelict land for industrial development.
As Lancashire is an intermediate area, it qualifies for 100 per cent. reclamation grants without designation as a derelict land clearance area. During the current financial year, 28 schemes in Lancashire have so far been approved for grant at an estimated cost of £446,000. In two of these schemes the land is intended for industrial use.
Would not an acceleration of the improvement reduce the high unemployment of the area and use other unused resources at relatively low cost? Is there not a need to conserve land which is being used up for commerce and manufacturing at a rate of about 50,000 acres a year?
One of the general constraints on such expenditure is always the limitation of public funds, which the Government must bear in mind. But I take note of the points my hon. Friend has made, and he can rest assured that proper care is being given to the area of Lancashire that he represents.