Skip to main content

Enterprise Zones

Volume 979: debated on Thursday 21 February 1980

The text on this page has been created from Hansard archive content, it may contain typographical errors.


asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will establish enterprise zones in and around older cities and new towns.

I refer my hon. Friend to the answer given by my right hon. and learned Friend the Chancellor to a similar question from the hon. Member for Salford, East (Mr. Allaun) on 31 October 1979.

I thank my right hon. Friend for that reply, but does he not agree that, with regard to the unemployment difficulties that are faced by a number of new towns and older town areas, it would be helpful if such enter- prise zones could be set up to attract employment to those areas?

I am sure that my hon. Friend is right and the matter will receive the most sympathetic consideration.

Does not the Chief Secretary know that there have been thousands of redundancies on Merseyside since his Government came into office, all of which are directly attributable to the Government's economic policies? Would not the Government be more sensible to try to deal with those deep-seated problems rather than to establish enterprise zones which will benefit only spivs and speculators?

I could bear the charges about unemployment a little more easily if they did not come from those who supported a Government who saw an increase of 700,000 in the level of unemployment between 1974 and 1979.

On the second point, I hope that the hon. Gentleman could be sufficiently detached to welcome this initiative.

Does my right hon. Friend agree that if we are to revive the older towns as well as the new towns, we must bring back private enterprise and those who live on the urban fringes? What steps will he take to provide incentives for people to start new firms and businesses on some of the derelict land and in the vacant spaces in the older towns?

When the proposals for enterprise zones have been fully formulated they will be presented to the House. I cannot, in any sense, anticipate them. I assure my hon. Friend that the points that he has mentioned are well in mind.

Will the Minister tell the people of Newcastle upon Tyne who are facing redundancies in the shipbuilding industry, the power plant industry, and at Vickers Elswick in the defence industry what help they will receive?

I cannot indicate what will be the locations of the enterprise zones that are to be decided upon.