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Mr. Straw : I have read it all.
Mr. Gummer : I did not say that the hon. Gentleman had not read the report ; I said that his speech contained no evidence that he had read it. Otherwise I might have to accuse him of partiality--and that, of course, I would never do.
The fact is that the report's authors were driven to say of the press coverage :
"the headlines misrepresent the conclusions at which we arrived". In fact, the report makes it clear that, overall, there was an improvement in the fortunes of urban priority areas because of the action taken by the Government. There were new jobs, new homes and new hope.
If the hon. Member for Blackburn wants to see a specific example, I hope that he will read again the issue of the Independent on Sunday to which he rightly referred--I think he mentioned a leak, although I am not sure where it came from--and which has so coloured his thinking. He should read the report headed "Broadwater Farm Reaps Fruit of Reinvention". The article reports that Broadwater Farm now "looks like one of the better European apartment blocks", that
Column 842"much has changed since [the riot] in October, 1985",
"Much of the Farm's bad reputation is now undeserved and crime on the Estate is below the average".
That revolution in Broadwater Farm has come about as a result of estate action funding--a Government success story. How that factual report contrasts with the tendentious nonsense that the hon. Gentleman spoke about the report.
Dr. Keith Hampson (Leeds, North-West) : I trust that my right hon. Friend noticed that the authors of the report themselves say that they had to include many caveats. For instance, they cannot analyse what would have happened if we had not introduced all the various schemes for inner-city development.
I remind my right hon. Friend that, in the mid-1970s, 63 per cent. of the amount that the then Labour Government were putting into the rate support grant was public money. The whole focus of their urban redevelopment programme was the public sector and public money--and we got no results. For 15 years, we had nothing in docklands from the joint development board ; we had nothing in the centres of Liverpool and Leeds, and nothing on Teesside.
Mr. Gummer : This document clearly shows, however, that the Government's major initiatives have achieved significant success. It also suggests that their effect would be better if we had a policy that drew them together on a regional basis--which is precisely what we have done through the single regeneration budget, and by establishing a single Government office to cover the four departments which are most directly affected, and which had regional representation before. We have done the very thing that the authors thought would most commit us to those regional arrangements. The report makes an interesting statement about local government, referring to
"Local authorities--in their newly emergent roles as enables and facilitators".
Who made local authorities enablers and facilitators ? The present Government, with their legislation. Who opposed every step down the line ? That party, and above all that spokesman. Whenever he spoke on education-- as when he speaks on inner cities--he objected to any concept of enabling and facilitating. What he wanted was owning, controlling, insisting and running. That is the kind of local authority that the hon. Gentleman wants, but it is not the kind with which this document suggests we establish a partnership.
Mr. Straw : Would the Secretary of State care to read the rest of the sentence that he quoted ? The sentence reads :
"Local authorities--in their newly emergent roles as enablers and facilitators"
there is plenty more about local authorities, and how they have been denied a role
"need to be given greater opportunities to play a significant part in such coalitions"
that is, between public and private sectors. Would the Secretary of State like to tell us what greater chance authorities will be given to do that ?
Mr. Gummer : What does the hon. Gentleman think the single regeneration budget is about, if it is not about making that partnership proper ? He knows that ; he knows that that is the opportunity. But, of course, authorities will
Column 843not get the money unless they show that they are enablers and facilitators. They will not be given it if they are merely controllers and holders.
Ms Estelle Morris (Birmingham, Yardley) : Will the Secretary of State give way ?
Mr. Gummer : No. Time is moving on.
Let me remind the Labour party of the enormous success of the urban development that has resulted from the work of the urban development corporations. In Newcastle, the former Vickers Armstrong engineering works had become a derelict eyesore. The Tyne and Wear development corporation has transformed the site into the Newcastle business park--60 acres of award-winning landscaped development, providing 670, 000 sq ft of office space, which was quickly let to major companies such as British Airways, Allied Dunbar and IBM, and providing the very employment that we care about in the inner cities. Labour Governments never managed to deal with that when they were constantly directing public funds into local authorities.
In Sheffield, the development corporation has reclaimed nearly 500 acres of derelict and contaminated land, attracted more than £500 million in private investment, secured the development of 300,000 sq m of office, commercial and warehouse space, and created or safeguarded some 10,000 jobs.
Mr. Betts : Will the Secretary of State give way ?
Mr. Gummer : Just a moment. I want to contrast that success with the debacle of the world student games in which the hon. Member for Sheffield, Attercliffe (Mr. Betts) played such a prominent role. We need only compare what the urban development corporation has done in Sheffield with the failure of Sheffield's city corporation to produce the answers to its own unemployment problem to understand why our systems work, and why the Labour party is always at a loss for an answer.
Mr. Betts : That is a very unfair comparison. We should not compare the regeneration brought about by the city council, with its limited resources, with what has happened to land for which the urban development corporation is responsible.
I am sure that the Secretary of State does not wish to mislead the House. He mentioned 10,000 jobs and £500 million in private investment ; much of that is connected with the Meadowhall shopping centre, which accounts for more than 6,000 of those jobs. Sheffield city council gave planning permission, working alongside private developers, before the establishment of the development corporation. Will the Secretary of State now correct the information that he gave the House ?
Mr. Gummer : I am happy to congratulate Sheffield city council on giving planning permission that it was its duty to give. It would only give planning permission if it was right to do so ; I am sure that it would not do so in an improper way. It could claim credit only if it had granted planning permission when others would not have done so. I believe that planning permission is open to everyone. Since when has the system been operated only by the Labour party in Sheffield ?
On Teesside, developments in the Teesdale project in Stockton include the Tees barrage, a new bridge providing better access, a university college, housing and other
Column 844commercial building. Those developments are helping to transform what was derelict and polluted industrial wasteland into a site of major commercial significance.
Of course, we can compare what has happened under our system with what happened when the Labour party ran such systems. The results are there for all to see. The systems that we have used have brought in great sums from the private sector, whereas those that the Labour party produced were merely a drain on the public sector. People from the United States are now beating a path to our door to learn what we are doing, whereas previously we had to go there to learn what they were doing.
We shall see more, through English Partnerships and the rest, such as the £102 million programme of environmental projects. More than 100 projects across all parts of England will reclaim derelict, vacant and contaminated land
Mr. Max Madden (Bradford, West) : Will the Secretary of State give way ?
Mr. Gummer : I have given way more often than the Opposition spokesman did, and now I must come to the end of what I have to say. Mr. Madden rose
Mr. Gummer : No, I must come to the end of my speech, and I want to return to the hon. Member for Blackburn.
What the country really wants to know--indeed, what the grass roots of the Labour party really want to know--is what the Labour party really stands for, not only on housing and inner cities, but on everything. If we listen carefully, we hear a good deal of talk about vision and the far prospects, and much use of words that could happily be used in advertisements for lavatory tissue--soft, sensitive words--but no words saying what Labour would actually do.
I therefore thought that I ought to read what the hon. Member for Blackburn had written in his press release explaining the Labour party's document, "City 2020", in which it is difficult indeed to discover what Labour's powerful propositions, its determined agenda and its specific proposals are. Page 1 of the press release does not refer to housing at all. Page 2 is full of concrete proposals such as the following :
"Our strategy should start by being unashamedly proud of the diversity and vibrancy of urban life. Some of the finest aspects of our common culture are represented in our cities."
What a revelation. What an enchanting prospect. No one has ever heard of that before. In 2,000 years of urban living, nobody thought of that--and it must be the highlight of the document, for it appears in a press release, containing only the short bits.
The hon. Gentleman did not finish there ; he had more to tell us :
"Local people must be seen as part of the answer not part of the problem."
What a remarkable insight. It did not come from the Liberal Democratic party, although it might well have done. The hon. Member for Newbury (Mr. Rendel) knows that that phrase could well have come from one of his "Focus" leaflets. We have read that sentence before. The hon. Member for Blackburn then continued ; I suppose that he wanted to define more clearly what he meant :
"Such a people-led urban policy must by definition also be flexible".
Column 845Flexible--there is a word for the new Labour party. Labour is so flexible that it has no policies to be flexible about. If one has no policies, flexibility is one's only claim.
The press release continues :
"Policies which try to straitjacket local initiatives only lead to waste and inefficiency as well as resentment and alienation." Next, the document says :
"The final plank of the strategy"
those are the words of the hon. Member for Blackburn ; we have heard the rest of it and now we come to the final plank
"is in some ways the most important and that is to foster a proper debate in this country"
not a debate about housing or urban renewal, but
"a proper debate . . . about public space."
The most public of spaces in the debate has been the public space that has not been filled by the Labour party's policy. After 15 years of pregnancy, all that has come forth from the Labour party is a load of wind. The fact is that Labour has no urban policy and no housing policy, yet it has dared to waste the time of the House debating a presentation in which it has presented nothing more than a promise to be flexible and a promise to talk about space.
Mr. Gerald Kaufman (Manchester, Gorton) : I represent an inner-city constituency in which many thousands of people live in poverty. Some 25 per cent. of my constituents--and a far higher percentage of my young constituents--are unemployed, and there is overcrowding, homelessness and deprivation on a large scale. If my constituents had been able to listen for the past 50 minutes to the Secretary of State's bombastic student union speech, which was supposed to be dealing with the most profound urban problems affecting the people of this country, they would be in even greater despair. Some little while ago I described the Secretary of State for the Environment as a political pipsqueak. In the light of the deplorable and sickening performance that we have just heard, I now realise what lavish praise that was.
I made my maiden speech on housing 24 years ago ; 24 years later the situation in my constituency is in many ways worse than it was when I entered the House. During the period of the Labour Government from 1974 to 1979, my city and my constituency had an excellent house-building record. The Labour Government of 1974 launched a house-building drive and encouraged local authorities to take over empty privately built properties that developers could not sell. I was the junior Minister who had responsibility for that programme, and I remember the President of the Board of Trade, when Secretary of State for the Environment accusing me of going around the country stirring up councils to build houses. He regarded that as an extraordinary performance. From the Government Front Bench, I put through the Housing Act 1974, which gave an expanded role to housing associations, and more money, a greater role and greater responsibility to the Housing Corporation. Under the Labour Government from 1974 to 1979, repair and renovation grants were easily available, and the owner-occupiers in my constituency--they are in the majority there--could renovate their homes and make them more habitable.
Column 846The slums were being removed ; we had massive slum clearance programmes. I shall not say that the situation in the country, in my city of Manchester or in my constituency was anything like paradise. There were extremely serious problems, some of which, such as the building of tower blocks and deck access accommodation, were encouraged by the Conservative Government in which Sir Keith Joseph, as he then was, was the Minister of Housing.
An excrescence in my constituency, which looked like a French foreign legion fort and was described by local people as "Fort Ardwick", had been built by the Conservative party during its three years in control of Manchester city council, from 1968 to 1971. Because that was such an odious development it has now been totally demolished--but the people of the city of Manchester will be paying the loan charges for that Conservative folly for many years to come. Things were not as satisfactory as they might have been, but during that period, things were getting better. We had a good housing budget, we had a good house-building programme, we had good encouragement for private developers and we had relatively low mortgages.
Mr. Jonathan Evans (Brecon and Radnor) : Will the right hon. Gentleman give way ?
Mr. Kaufman : No. I hope that the hon. Gentleman will forgive me. Many other hon. Members want to speak, including three of my hon. Friends who wish to make their maiden speeches. I do not, therefore, wish to take up an excessive amount of the House's time.
The situation now in the constituency that I have represented for almost a quarter of a century is worse than at any time during that period. The responsibility lies pretty well entirely with this Conservative Government. They have wiped out the local authority housing programme in my city. In the last year of the Labour Government, 1,070 new starts in local authority housing were made in the city of Manchester. In the last year of that Labour Government, there were 729 completions of local authority dwellings in the city of Manchester. In the past financial year in Manchester, new starts were nil and completions were nil.
Under previous Governments, Conservative and Labour, housing associations were regarded as a useful and important social supplement to local authority housing. That is why I put through the Housing Act in 1974, which gave added resources and responsibilities and a new role to housing associations. The Government have now decided that housing associations, which are not democratically accountable in any way--although they still do useful work--should replace local authorities as providers of public sector rented accommodation. Unfortunately, they are not filling the gap left by the total abolition of local authority housing programmes in Manchester. In the past financial year in my city of Manchester, housing association starts were 544--only half the number of local authority starts under the Labour Government. Completions were 607--well below the number of completions under the Labour Government.
Nor is the private sector filling the gap. In my city in the past financial year, private sector starts were 544 and completions were 269. The exceptionally important role, in a city of great poverty and great housing need, which was filled by the local authority is being filled neither by the housing associations nor by the private sector.
Mr. Thomason : Will the right hon. Gentleman give way ?
Mr. Kaufman : No. I have already told the House--I do not wish to be discourteous--that there is great pressure on time. The 10-minutes rule will come into effect in 28 minutes. Three of my hon. Friends want to make their maiden speeches. With great respect and with no discourtesy to the hon. Gentleman, I say that I hope that he will forgive me for not giving way.
In my city of Manchester, there is a waiting list of 27,136, yet we cannot build a single new house to go towards shortening that waiting list. There is terrible overcrowding and there is dreadful homelessness. The local authority fulfils its responsibilities to the homeless more than most other local authorities do, but, as my hon. Friend the Member for Blackburn (Mr. Straw) pointed out, by doing so, it is putting incredibly large sums into the hands, pockets and bank accounts of exploitative private landlords. We have far too many such landlords in my constituency. They harass tenants when the local authority imposes a ceiling on the extortionate rents that they require to be paid.
The fact is that the Government do not subsidise tenants any more ; they subsidise landlords. They turn landlords into millionaires through homelessness. Instead of putting money into the pockets of private, exploitative landlords who harass people, the Government could do far greater good if they used the money to allow local authorities to build new houses to house my constituents and others who are living in such misery.
Discretionary grants for owner-occupiers have almost dried up. Mandatory grants have to be provided, of course. When I go round my constituency and talk to owner-occupiers whose houses are in great need of repair, they tell me that they need grants. These are the owner-occupiers whose number the Government are proud to say they have increased. Yet my owner-occupiers, living in Victorian and early Edwardian houses, are unable to get the discretionary grants that would make their living conditions and the living conditions of their children better. There is a growing backlog of repairs because of the ring fencing of the housing revenue account. Of all the ghastly things that the Government have done to housing, one of the most ghastly is the way in which the poor are forced to subsidise the poor. Rents have had to be increased substantially.
Government subsidy has fallen in real terms--and I do not mean Government subsidy to landlords, which has multiplied unconscionably. Government subsidy to the city of Manchester has fallen in real terms, as have housing investment programme allocations. In 1979-80, the last year of the Labour Government, the amount was £64.8 million. In 1993-94 money, that is £154.9 million. Yet the housing investment programme allocation for my city in 1993-94 is only £27.6 million. In cash terms, that is less than half what it was under the Labour Government. In real terms, it is less than one fifth of what it was under the Labour Government.
The Government have reduced Manchester's housing spending by 82 per cent. and that reduction has been responsible for the terrible housing problem in my constituency. Most of my advice bureaux are filled with people in terrible housing need. They are homeless people, people who are being persecuted by private landlords, people who are living in box rooms in their parents' homes
Column 848and people who are separated from their wives because they cannot find a house in which their baby can be born. That is what the Government have done directly ; it is their responsibility and no one else's. Yet we heard bombastic rubbish from the Secretary of State for the Environment, who proclaimed the success of the inner-city policy. My inner-city constituents would not have recognised what he was talking about.
My constituency is deprived not only in terms of housing need but in terms of environment and amenity--and here, too, the Government must take most of the blame. They have bled my city of Manchester of finance. During the 1980s, the Government cut the grant to Manchester city council--what was originally the rate support grant and then became the revenue support grant --in cash terms, by more than £500 million. If one extends that cut into the 1994-95 financial year--the current year--and adjusts the figure for inflation, one sees that the Government have taken about £1 billion of grant away from the city of Manchester.
Other particular and specific sources of funding for my city and for my deprived constituents have been wiped out. In 1991-92, we had £1 million in urban programme grant ; that has gone completely. Section 11 funding has gone completely. I represent a constituency that has a substantial ethnic minority population. We had section 11 schemes in schools in my constituency, such as Stanley Grove school, which is in an area of intense poverty and deprivation. That section 11 money has gone. Estate action funding has gone, yet our needs grow the whole time.
My constituents are good at self-help. They are proud people, active people, innovative people and enterprising people. They work hard to improve their lives and environment and they do so in every way they can think of. They do so by having events that bring the community together, such as the Abbey Hey carnival, which took place in my constituency last Saturday. My constituency is impoverished. My constituents can generate enthusiasm and they can generate effort and they do both, but they cannot generate cash because they have little cash and because so many of them are out of work in any case. Our community organisations have faced lean times. The Gorton community centre and the Birch community centre, which both provide services for the deprived, for pensioners and for young people, nearly had to close. The Trinity Baptist church in Gorton, which I have visited, provides facilities for the young, for the old and for the poor, and does so in a derelict building, which, in many ways is uninhabitable. The church provides those facilities because it views it as its role to do so. It has a development plan. We need permission for that development plan and we need money for it. But we are not going to get it from this Government. We may get a few smarmy words about what a good idea it is, but that is as far as it will go.
In an area of huge youth unemployment, the Abbey Hey area--and youth unemployment covers a great deal more of my constituency than that area--we have an excellent amateur football club, the Abbey Hey amateur football club. It needs new dressing rooms. Would it not be better for that football club to be able to enhance its role to keep young people off the streets ? Apparently not, because we do not get a penny from the Government for any of it. During the past three or four years, and after 24 years in the House of Commons, I have had to take up writing begging letters to try to scrounge money for causes in my
Column 849constituency, which help the unemployed and the poor and which try to reduce crime but which the Government will not help in any way. One estate in my constituency, the Anson estate, has dreadful crime problems. It also has dreadful unemployment problems. We have been campaigning and trying to get some kind of finance to establish a youth facility on that estate. It would create an enormous impression on the people there and would assist in dealing with severe social problems. We have not received a penny from the Government--and the council, because of what the Government have done to it, cannot provide the money either.
While local endeavour is hamstrung because of what the Government have done, bodies which used to be accountable to the public are exacerbating the problems in my constituency. North West Water is behaving like a corporate vandal in my constituency. Debdale lane, a statutory bridleway, is now infested with vehicular traffic--against the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981--because North West Water is impervious to the requests of the people. So one little area of my constituency where people could safely take their children is being taken away.
Railtrack, the body now responsible, is failing totally to respond to requests from my constituency to remove a substation on Vine street, near which one child has already been electrocuted and where other children are in danger of electrocution. Railtrack does not respond to my constituents or to me when I write to it. Railtrack is failing to provide fencing next to the Abbey Hey football club and, although the body has accepted that there are safety implications, it has left it to the football club to spend £1,600 which the club cannot afford and for which it has received no recompense. Youths congregate around two telephone boxes in one area of my constituency, and guns have been sighted there on occasions. The police have written to British Telecom asking it to remove those two telephone boxes. A superintendent of Greater Manchester police has written to BT and I have written to it, but it will do nothing whatever.
We are ignored by the Government. We are ignored when we ask for anything and we are ignored when we ask to be enabled to do things for ourselves. We have poverty, we have unemployment, we have homelessness, we have overcrowding and we have environmental deterioration. Yet the Government and the Secretary of State stand there and say that inner-city policy is a success.
We who live in the inner city see no such success. We who live in the inner city deplore the way in which the Government make silly declarations that have no relevance to our constituents' lives. That is why we cannot wait for the day when we get a Labour Government--a Government who will concern themselves with the real needs of the inner city and do something to remedy those needs.
Dr. Keith Hampson (Leeds, North-West) : I will not follow directly the line taken by the right hon. Member for Manchester, Gorton (Mr. Kaufman) on the subject of housing, but I shall remark on what he said. He is a fine, partisan politician and he has made an appropriate case about some serious problems in a constituency which, we
Column 850all accept, has great social difficulties. However, the right hon. Gentleman has been around as long as I have and I remember the days when we had a Labour Government.
I remember the days when we all put exactly those sort of constituency issues to Ministers like him, when he was the Minister with responsibility for housing. I remember the days when a Labour Secretary of State said that the party was over and local authorities received the biggest squeeze ever in a single year. All the personal constituency complaints that he has raised today were raised then. The right hon. Gentleman ought to have acknowledged that there has been much improvement. Many schemes help housing problems. He did not give any gracious thought at all to the whole housing association movement--not a mention. [Hon. Members :-- "He did".] Well, he passed it by. [Hon. Members :-- "No."] He did not acknowledge that it was a Conservative achievement and a Conservative concept. It has transformed public housing in this country. In contrast, there has been no evidence whatever of municipal or council housing doing anything in the way of good estates and involvement-- [Hon. Members :-- "He set up the housing associating movement."]--or anything like the quality of the work of the Housing Corporation or housing associations.
Mr. Kaufman : I do not understand how the hon. Gentleman can say what he has just said. Not only did I refer at length to housing associations, I also pointed out--clearly, he was not listening--that I was the Minister responsible for steering through the House the Housing Act 1974, which gave added funding, added responsibilities and an added role to the housing associations and to the Housing Corporation. Either the hon. Gentleman was not listening or he has decided not to pay attention to the achievements of the Labour Government.
Dr. Hampson : The House will notice that the right hon. Gentleman said "added". The concept was the Conservative Government's creation. The concept of the whole thing certainly did not come from Labour. Labour would have gone on with municipal and council housing ad nauseam. Furthermore, the great triumph--the period of maximum expansion, at an unprecedented rate, in Housing Corporation funds--was under this Conservative Government and certainly not under a Labour Government. I am not going to debate that aspect of the right hon. Gentleman's speech, but it is only fair that we put the matter into perspective. The right hon. Gentleman totally and deliberately ignored the context and, of course, made no mention of what it used to be like.
The idea that we can cure the long-standing problems of decline in inner cities in a decade is absurd. There have been huge demographic changes and a movement out of city centres of the core investment in manufacturing industry, which was there for 100 years but which no longer exists in any country in the modern world. That drift of basic manufacturing out of the city centres has caused the dilemma that we face, because with it have gone jobs in the inner cities and naturally, with that, housing. People living in the inner cities want to own their houses and do not want to rent places in vast, sprawling, totally unattractive council estates. In many cities-- in the right hon. Gentleman's city and in mine--such estates have been knocked down in the past few decades. All that wonderful council housing of which the right hon. Gentleman is so proud has gone.
Column 851People have left the inner cities to move into areas where they can buy a decent house. Of course, there has also been a collapse of family life. We are all desperately struggling to curb crime in the inner cities.
The idea that all this is somehow the responsibility of Government is nonsense. I do not know about the council budget in the right hon. Gentleman's constituency. It is probably similar to that in Leeds. Leeds council has £1,000 million a year to spend. That is a huge amount of money by any stretch of the imagination. The Government, in the Local Government Planning and Land Act 1980, freed councils, allowing them to determine their priorities much more and to move their moneys around without detailed control from the centre. If the right hon. Gentleman wants to check crime in his estates, if he wants youth centres or video cameras and surveillance, they can be paid for by his local council determining that they are the priorities, not some of its other stupid priorities. The hon. Member for Morley and Leeds, South (Mr. Gunnell) knows that Leeds has paid for some of those schemes out of its own funds.
I shall move on to the central issue that I want to raise. I want to say something about the Robson report and, directly in that context, about the north-east where I was raised and the city of Leeds, which I represent. It is worth pointing out that, throughout that huge report, stress is placed on the caveats, and reference is made to a wide range of policy instruments, which are applied at different times from different starting points with inherently different strengths and weaknesses. It says that there is "a whole series of permutations and combinations of relationships".
It is hard to come to any positive and clear conclusions. The report says that the measurements used are relatively limited. The outputs that are measured are unemployment, job growth, the creation of small businesses and fluctuating house prices. That is not only what it should be about.
One of the themes that I want to develop is this : the Government set the task, usually through urban development corporations, of physically transforming inner cities, not only because of the jobs that might be created in a particular area but because of the rejuvenation of the whole city. In Leeds, the LDC's developments gave hope to the whole community. It allowed Leeds to develop and use its potential to become the capital of the north and one of the leading cities in Europe, which is the aim of the Labour city council. We have sought to use the catalyst of physical recreation in the inner city to create opportunities in the city as a whole. The knock-on effect of developments in one part of the city is stupendous for other areas. I shall give some examples from Leeds. The south side of Boar lane, the main road coming out of the station, has been a disgrace for decades. When I was there 20 years ago, there were squalid little shops. It was under blight for 25 years.
The Urban Development Corporation totally transformed the south side. It is now full of fine attractive businesses. I give credit to the Labour council because its site--the south side--has now undergone a facelift. Improvements on the riverside frontage and along the canal are only just beginning. The scale of those improvements will be beyond belief. The royal armouries have been attracted from the Tower of London to the canal zone of the Leeds docks by the Urban Development Corporation. That
Column 852will in turn attract more than 500,000 tourists a year--tourists in Leeds!--which will have a knock-on effect for restaurants, for bistros and for job creation in the area.
For the first time in the history of Leeds, the city centre, where people go for leisure activities and people live and enjoy life, will move south of the railway tracks. The transformation is only just beginning. As a result of the development, Tetley has built a museum of the pub--another tourist centre. People must be lunatics not to see that the development corporation has transformed the area. The same can be said about the Albert dock in Liverpool and the dock area in Hartlepool. When I was a child, we would not dream of going anywhere near Hartlepool. We would go to Sunderland or Newcastle, hardly ever Middlesbrough and certainly not Hartlepool to shop. There has now been a physical change in Hartlepool.
The hon. Member for Morley and Leeds, South knows that the improvements around Hunslet Green and the development of a business centre by the Urban Development Corporation have produced investment by First Direct on the Waddington site next door.
Mr. John Gunnell (Morley and Leeds, South) rose
Dr. Hampson : The hon. Gentleman should let me finish my point. I am sure that he will agree there have been substantial improvements in the Hunslet and Holbeck areas, which have resulted from the work, the stimulus and the catalytic effect of the Leeds development corporation, which has brought together a partnership of the city council and private enterprise. At the heart of the Robson report is a recommendation about partnerships.
Mr. Gunnell rose