Trade, Industry and Employment

Oral Answers to Questions — Scotland – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 17th February 1965.

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Photo of Mr Hector Hughes Mr Hector Hughes , Aberdeen North 12:00 am, 17th February 1965

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will make a statement on his tour on 13th January of Scotland designed to increase trade, industry and employment there, indicating the places and firms he visited and his plans based on the results of those visits.

Photo of Mr William Ross Mr William Ross , Kilmarnock

As part of a three-day programme of visits to firms in the East and West of Scotland, I visited Richards Ltd. and the Hall Russell shipyard in Aberdeen, and the food processing factory of Robert Lawson & Sons at Dyce. I also met the Lord Provost, the County Convener, and representatives of their Councils. The up-to-date appreciation these visits gave me of the needs and prospects of industry in the area will be of great value in completing the regional economic studies which the Government intend should form part of the basis of a comprehensive economic plan for the whole of Scotland.

Photo of Mr Hector Hughes Mr Hector Hughes , Aberdeen North

Does my right hon. Friend realise that his very successful visit has done much to stimulate trade, industry, commerce and employment in the north-east of Scotland? Will he follow this up by building advance factories to accommodate the new industries which we now hope will go there?

Photo of Mr William Ross Mr William Ross , Kilmarnock

Perhaps I should catch the train for Aberdeen right away.

Photo of Lady  Grant of Monymusk Lady Grant of Monymusk , Aberdeen South

Will the right hon. Gentleman enumerate in what way his visit had this extraordinary effect? When is the North-East project likely to be published? It was well under way during the last Administration.

Photo of Mr William Ross Mr William Ross , Kilmarnock

The hon. Lady will appreciate that the success of my visit as recounted by my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Aberdeen, North (Mr. Hector Hughes) is not something for me to explain. Nevertheless, my hon. and learned Friend is usually very reliable in reflecting what happens in that part of the country.

The North-East Study was started during the last Administration but they never said that they would publish it. The study itself will have to be incorporated into the plan for the whole of Scotland.

Photo of Mr Patrick Wolrige-Gordon Mr Patrick Wolrige-Gordon , Aberdeenshire East

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what estimate he has made of the expansion of industry and employment in Scotland during the next 12 months; how much of it will be confined to the central belt; and how much to the rest of the country.

Photo of Mr William Ross Mr William Ross , Kilmarnock

From projects for which industrial development certificates have been issued, the employment expected to accrue is 35,000, of which about 32,000 will be in the central belt, including Dundee. The rate of manning up varies, but on past experience about one-third of all these jobs might arise in 1965. There are no corresponding figures for the expansion of other types of employment, but in recent years employment in the service industries in Scotland has risen by an average of about 18,000 annually, and I can see no reason why this rate of increase should not be maintained.

Photo of Mr Patrick Wolrige-Gordon Mr Patrick Wolrige-Gordon , Aberdeenshire East

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that I hope that that moderately optimistic survey will at least be more accurate than some of the surveys we have had in the past from right hon. and hon. Members opposite, because nothing the Government have done so far has in any way helped the expansion of industry and employment in Scotland and in some cases has even hindered it? Will the right hon. Gentleman confirm that he is at least as militant and enthusiastic about getting work to other parts of the country, as well as to the central belt?

Photo of Mr William Ross Mr William Ross , Kilmarnock

My concern about the whole of Scotland has already been proclaimed, and proclaimed in the part of the world from which the hon. Member comes. I do not know, but he strikes me as being completely out of touch with what is happening in Scotland. As to what is happening in the North-East, I can assure him that we are determined to carry out our pledges to the people of Scotland to ensure that they have a fair share of the expansion of industry in this country.

Photo of Lady  Grant of Monymusk Lady Grant of Monymusk , Aberdeen South

Will the Secretary of State answer the question which I put to him earlier? When does he expect the detailed study of the North-East to be ready? And secondly, what are the considerations which made him decide not to publish it?

Photo of Mr William Ross Mr William Ross , Kilmarnock

I have not made any declaration not to publish it. I have said that it was a study, and what we do publish are plans co-ordinated with the other plans. I think that it is much more coherent to consider how they will affect a part of Scotland in the context of their effect on the whole of Scotland.