Hydro-Electric Power (Development)

Oral Answers to Questions — Scotland – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 14th July 1965.

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Photo of Mr Russell Johnston Mr Russell Johnston , Inverness 12:00 am, 14th July 1965

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland whether he will now make a statement on the Government's policy on the further development of hydro-electric power in Scotland.

Photo of Mr William Ross Mr William Ross , Kilmarnock

I would refer the hon. Member to the reply given to him on the 26th May by my hon. Friend, the Joint Under-Secretary of State.

Photo of Mr Russell Johnston Mr Russell Johnston , Inverness

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that his continued failure to arrive at a decision in this matter is a grave disappointment to many people? It is now nine months since the Government took office and, as he well knows, there was a long delay prior to that. Can the right hon. Gentleman at least give me some specific indication of when this decision will be made? It is vital to the whole of Scotland, and many people on both sides of the House are concerned about this continued delay.

Photo of Mr William Ross Mr William Ross , Kilmarnock

It would be easy to reach a decision quickly, but whether or not it would be the right decision is another matter. It is because it would have a considerable effect on the economy and life of the Highlands that we have to make sure that it is the right decision. I am sure that the hon. Member would not want me to do other than take time to ensure that the right decision is made.

Photo of Mr George Mackie Mr George Mackie , Caithness and Sutherland

What information does the right hon. Gentleman expect to receive to help him to make up his mind? Why cannot the right decision be taken now?

Photo of Mr William Ross Mr William Ross , Kilmarnock

Because the factors involved are important to the life of the areas concerned and to a wider area. Many factors affecting the decision have developed over the 4½ years which have elapsed since the schemes were stopped and the hon. Gentleman knows that we have to study the generation of electricity in all its forms.