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Industry Money (No 3)

Volume 986: debated on Wednesday 18 June 1980

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Queen's Recommendation having been signified

Motion made, and Question proposed,

That, for the purposes of any Act of the present Session to make further provision in relation to the National Enterprise Board, the Scottish Development Agency, the Welsh Development Agency and the English Industrial Estates Corporation, to authorise the Secretary of State to acquire securities of, make loans to and provide guarantees for companies in which he acquires shares from the National Enterprise Board, and to amend the Industry Act 1972 and the Industry Act 1975, it is expedient to authorise—
  • (a) any increase in the sums payable out of money provided by Parliament under the Industry Act 1972 which is attributable to provisions of the said Act of the present Session authorising the payment in certain cases of grant under Part I of the said Act of 1972 calculated at the rate of 20 per cent, of the expenditure concerned instead of at a lower rate, and
  • (b) the issue out of the Consolidated Fund of any sums required by the Treasury for fulfilling any guarantee given in respect of sums borrowed by the English Industrial Estates Corporation from the Commission of the European Communities or from the European Investment Bank.—[Mr. Law-son.]
  • 8.25pm

    I hope that the Under-Secretary will give us an explanation of this money resolution, not least because it is the third money resolution associated with this Bill. That, in itself, is extraordinary. More than that, this resolution probably in some way presages some increase in public expenditure, and the House is entitled to an explanation of that. The Under-Secretary looks a bit puzzled, so perhaps I am mistaken on that. I should be very grateful if he would explain the reason why this is the third occasion on which we have had a money resolution associated with this Bill.

    8.26pm

    The money resolution is required to enable the House to approve, if it so wishes, Lords amendments Nos. 2 and 3 to the Industry Bill. These are minor technical matters. Lords Amendment No. 2 enables the Treasury to guarantee borrowings by the English Industrial Estates Corporation, which may arise as a result of Lords amendment No. 1 dealing with the ability to borrow from the European Investment Bank and European funds.

    Lords amendment No. 3 is a minor, highly technical provision to ensure fair treatment for a small number of firms which would otherwise be disadvantaged by the upgrading of their assisted areas. We shall shortly debate these highly technical matters, but I can assure the House that they are purely technical matters that were not foreseen at the time of the Bill's earlier passage. I am sure that when we debate these matters the hon. Member will find himself able to support them.

    The Under-Secretary says that these are technical matters. In truth, they result from the parsimony of the Government in respect of the changes in their regional policy assistance. The amendments are more than technical. The Government have got themselves into a bit of a fix because of their changes in regional policy and the effects and counter-effects of the subsequent amendments to their own Bill. I assume that this third money resolution is the way out of that. The amendments may be technical in that sense, but the changes themselves are more than technical in the way that they affect the companies in the regions concerned.

    I am sure that the hon. Member will not wish to delay the House in getting on to substantive matters contained in the amendments. I assure him that parsimony is not the appropriate phrase to apply to the amendments that give rise to the money resolution. We are seeking rather generously to lean over backwards to ensure that a small number of firms which would have been disadvantaged will now not be disadvantaged. I hope that the hon. Member will enable us to move on to the debates on the amendments.

    Question put and agreed to.