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Advance Factory (Dearne Valley)

Volume 940: debated on Monday 28 November 1977

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asked the Secretary of State for Industry if he will now consider the building of a new advance factory within the Dearne Valley constituency.

I have no plans to do so at the present time. But we are building factories at Goldthorpe and Barnsley which will be accessible to my hon. Friend's constituents.

Does my hon. Friend realise that the unemployment rate in Mexborough is 11 per cent. or more? Does he realise that the people of Mexborough and the surrounding areas consider that his Department is not helping as much as it should? Is he aware that the advance factory in Mexborough remained empty for about five years and that it now employs only about 20 people, because it is used mainly for the storage of equipment? Will the Minister therefore authorise the building of a new advance factory in Mexborough and another elsewhere in my constituency?

I appreciate the difficulties in my hon. Friend's area. I assure my hon. Friend that both the factories that we are building in Goldthorpe and Barnsley will produce up to 300 jobs. My Department is offering encouragement and inducements to private enterprise companies to provide manufacturing jobs where they are needed in the form of 100 per cent. tax concessions for plant and machinery. That type of inducement will produce jobs.

In order to prevent advance factories from standing empty as a monument to the reluctance of private enterprise to be adventurous, will my hon. Friend give thought to the involvement of the NEB in an entrepreneurial rĂ´le by allowing it to set up its own subsidiary manufacturing companies?

I am grateful for this suggestion by my hon. Friend, but the National Enterprise Board can do this already if it so chooses. I shall certainly draw to the attention of the NEB my hon. Friend's very helpful and constructive remarks.