The programme of nine advance factories for Scotland announced on 18th November included one of 12,000 sq. ft. in the Cumnock area. It is too early yet to consider a further programme, but when it is possible to do so the employment situation in South-West Scotland will be borne in mind.
While thanking the hon. Gentleman for that reply, may I ask him if he is aware that the factories built at Stranraer and Sanquhar by the last Government have been most successful? Will he bear in mind the very high rate of unemployment for men in this area and explain why the area was not included in the last announcement?
We are aware of the success of the Stranraer factory, but the hon. Member will be aware that advance factories are not the only inducements we have to bring industrialists to these districts. All the other inducements will be brought into play in the district about which he is speaking.
Is my hon. Friend aware that the news of the advance factory at Cumnock was received with great enthusiasm there as being the beginning of the good work of the Labour Government? Is he further aware that in this south-west area there are many villages from which women workers can get to work only by long bus journeys? Since some of them must be away from home for as much as 12 hours a day and are not paid very high wages, is my hon. Friend aware that advance factories in these areas would be very welcome indeed?
Yes, Sir. We are well aware of the travel problems in the area referred to by my hon. Friend. As he said, the advance factory which the Government announced last month is only the beginning. The whole development district policy is being reviewed.
Does not the Minister of State realise that while hon. Members opposite criticise the former Administration for concentrating too much on the centre of Scotland, his Administration, in spite of what they said during the Queen's Speech, are doing exactly that at a moment when any imagination could have seen the opportunities in the outlying parts of Scotland today?
Perhaps if that imagination had been shown a few years ago we might have had a better distribution of industry. I hope that the right hon. Gentleman will also take into account the fact that this central area is the area of heaviest unemployment. It is that problem with which we must deal immediately. When I refered to the fact that we are reviewing the development districts, we have in mind a wider and longer-term proposition to spread industry over a wider area.