Scottish Development Area (Factory Building)

Oral Answers to Questions — Trade and Commerce – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 28th June 1956.

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Photo of Mr George Thomson Mr George Thomson , Dundee East 12:00 am, 28th June 1956

asked the President of the Board of Trade which Government-financed factory in the Scottish Development Area has been approved as a matter of urgency; and what are the seven Government-financed factories which have been deferred.

Photo of Mr Peter Thorneycroft Mr Peter Thorneycroft , Monmouth

It would not be proper to disclose details of individual applications. I should perhaps add that, as indicated in reply to the hon. Mem- ber's Question of 13th June, the one application he referred to is not approved but under consideration.

Photo of Mr George Thomson Mr George Thomson , Dundee East

Is the President aware that the Government's decision to halt almost all Government factory building in Scotland is doing the most serious damage to Scottish prospects of employment, and is completely contradictory to the advice given by his own Department's Scottish experts to a Select Committee of this House quite recently?

Photo of Mr Peter Thorneycroft Mr Peter Thorneycroft , Monmouth

The Question asked was, which factory is under consideration? As I say, I cannot give the name of it, because it is not our practice to do so. As soon as a decision is reached, I shall be able to announce it.

Photo of Mr Douglas Jay Mr Douglas Jay , Battersea North

Does the President realise that before now the Board of Trade has had to give lessons in economic policy to the Treasury, and will he now explain to the Treasury that one does not help the national economy by stopping the building of factories in areas where there is unused labour?

Photo of Mr Peter Thorneycroft Mr Peter Thorneycroft , Monmouth

I am bound to say that when all Departments are being asked to economise, it is not unreasonable that expenditure by the Board of Trade on material and labour should be the subject of some economy at the same time.

Photo of Mr Douglas Jay Mr Douglas Jay , Battersea North

Are we to understand that the Government's economic policy is run on the principle of fair shares between Departments, without regard to the merits of what is being done?

Photo of Mr Peter Thorneycroft Mr Peter Thorneycroft , Monmouth

It is run on the basis of trying to live within our means.