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Volume 929: debated on Tuesday 29 March 1977

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asked the Secretary of State for Employment whether he will take urgent action to offset the decline of jobs in manufacturing industry in the Greater Manchester area by the allocation of a higher proportion of funds for the Job Creation Programme and general Government policy in relation to contracts and industrial development.

The amount of help that Manchester receives from the Job Creation Programme will depend on the number of suitable projects that are devised and put forward by local sponsors.

As far as manufacturing industry is concerned, qualifying firms can benefit from both the regional and national schemes of assistance for intermediate areas administered by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Industry.

In addition, the Government will continue to bear in mind the employment needs of Greater Manchester, along with other areas, in relation to the placing of contracts.

Is my hon. Friend aware of the quite dramatic fall in job opportunities in the inner Manchester area—the area of the Manchester district? Will he accord to that area no less a priority in consultation and in the provision of finance than he already does to development areas, and concentrate funds specifically on inner urban regeneration of industry rather than trying to spread the load thinly?

That question would be more appropriately directed to my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Industry. Certainly, in terms of special measures, we in the Department of Employment give a fair share to Manchester.