Development in Rural Areas

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 7th February 1964.

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Photo of Mr James Hoy Mr James Hoy , Edinburgh Leith 12:00 am, 7th February 1964

The independent airlines do not want to take merely the Highland services. The dispute has always been about what services they should take. B.E.A. has rightly said that it is entitled to have the good services which can earn profits, if it is to maintain these Highlands and Islands services. I beg the hon. Gentleman not to enter into this fray, because I could take his mind back to the time when the services were run by a private firm. The people concerned have now gone, so I will not go into that matter, but I can tell the hon. Member that there were never better services than those which are supplied by B.E.A. They are absolutely unsurpassed. I shall let it go at that.

We are dependent upon the Government in these matters. I do not want to be party-political this morning, but I would remind the House that the Government fought the election against nationalisation, and yet the first Bill they introduced was one to nationalise the steamer service—a Bill, as the hon. Member for Galloway will confirm, to provide a ship at State expense. All I ask is that the Government should face their responsibility.

In addition, we must have electricity supplies in these rural areas. I was glad to hear the tributes paid to these nationalised services from both sides of the House this morning. Today in the rural areas there are thousands of people who are enjoying electricity but who could not have got it without the formation of the nationalised boards. In the Highlands and Islands, and certainly on the borders, the services which are being enjoyed today would not have been provided under the old set-up. The North of Scotland Hydro-Electric Board has done a first-class job and the South of Scotland Electricity Board has not been behind.