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Industrial Development Certificates

Volume 958: debated on Tuesday 14 November 1978

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asked the Secretary of State for Industry what changes he proposes to make to the system of industrial development certificates control.

I am making some changes in the current policy for granting industrial development certificates (IDCs) in order to assist small firms.At present, firms wishing to build their own factories are able to do so, without an IDC, up to the IDC exemption limit—at present 12,500 sq. ft. in the South-East and 15,000 sq. ft. in other areas where the IDC control operates—but the IDC control inhibits the development of industrial estates comprising similar small units for rent.There is a need to provide modern, rented factories for small firms which cannot build for themselves and which are tied to a particular area. I therefore intend, for a trial period, to issue IDCs, on request, to local authorities for a limited amount of speculative factory development which is geared to the needs of small firms. Initially, IDCs will be granted up to a total of 60,000 sq. ft. in any district council or London borough area, but within this total no one company will be allowed to occupy floor space which exceeds the exemption limit. I shall be prepared to consider granting further IDCs when most of the factories built under the first IDCs in the area concerned have been built and let.The conditions attached to the IDCs will enable the factories to be occupied by companies from anywhere in the County—or GLC area in the case of London—or by new firms originating in that area. The condition allowing any one company to occupy space up to the exemption limit will be strictly applied.I therefore expect that the main beneficiaries of the changes will be small firms, which could not reasonably be expected to move to the assisted areas, so that the new arrangements will not in any way weaken the Government's commitment to a strong regional policy, nor will it reduce the priority of the assisted areas.

The local authority associations will be consulted about the operation of the scheme, and the detailed arrangements for its implementation.