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Volume 976: debated on Friday 21 December 1979

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asked the Secretary of State for Industry what is his estimate of the loss in jobs and, over a full year, in finance to (a) the city of Manchester and (b) greater Manchester from (i) loss of assisted area status and (ii) loss of regional development grants; and if he will tabulate the kinds of aid removed from each of these areas as a result of the loss of assisted area status.

It is not practicable to relate future expenditure on regional incentives, or changes in such expenditure, to levels of employment in particular parts of the country. The changes in regional industrial policy form part of the Government's policies to encourage industry to become more competititive and expand, thus providing a sounder basis for employment in the longer term. They are also designed to concentrate assistance on those parts of the country with the most intractable problems of unemployment and to treat different parts of the country more consistently and fairly.Those parts of Greater Manchester due to become non-assisted areas on 1 August 1982, which include the city of Manchester, will cease to be eligible for:

  • (a) Regional selective assistance under section7 of the Industry Act 1972. (Regional development grants will no longer be available in intermediate areas on assets provided on or after 1 August 1980);
  • (b) inclusion in the assisted area factory building programmes of the English Industrial Estate Corporation, although there will remain the scope for extending existing EIEC factories;
  • (c) assistance from the European regional development fund or loans from the European investment bank;
  • (d) 100 per cent. Government grants to local authorities for derelict land reclamation (a study is in hand to decide which areas due to become non-assisted areas in 1982 should be designated as derelict land clearance areas); and
  • (e) basic service grants under section 7 of the Local Employment Act 1972.
  • Consideration is being given to the eligibility of areas for tourism grants under section 4 of the Development of Tourism Act 1969 following the review of the assisted areas.

    Within Greater Manchester we have upgraded the Wigan "travel-to-work" area from intermediate to development area status, because of its persistent high unemployment.