North-East Scotland (Development Plan)

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

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Photo of Mr Bill Baker Mr Bill Baker , Banffshire 12:00, 17 November 1965

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what plans he has for preventing depopulation of the north east of Scotland.

Photo of Sir William Anstruther-Gray Sir William Anstruther-Gray , Berwickshire and East Lothian

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland when he will announce his plan for the Borders.

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

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland (1) when he now expects to publish the north-east of Scotland Development Plan;

(2) whether he will make a statement on his policy to reverse the trend of migration from the north-east of Scotland.

Photo of Mr Jock Bruce-Gardyne Mr Jock Bruce-Gardyne , South Angus

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland when he now expects to publish the Government's plan for the north-east of Scotland.

Photo of Mr Eustace Willis Mr Eustace Willis , Edinburgh East

The Government's plans will be set out in a White Paper which my right hon. Friend hopes to publish at the turn of the year.

Photo of Mr Bill Baker Mr Bill Baker , Banffshire

The National Plan foresees an average annual decrease of 20,000 in the working population of Scotland till 1971. Is not this an alarming tendency, and will it not bear most hardly on the periphery of the rapidly developing areas of central Scotland?

Photo of Mr Eustace Willis Mr Eustace Willis , Edinburgh East

We are concerned about this bearing on the periphery, and part of the object of the plan is to do as much as possible to prevent that happening.

Photo of Sir William Anstruther-Gray Sir William Anstruther-Gray , Berwickshire and East Lothian

Is the hon. Gentleman satisfied that the plan for the Borders should be delayed until the plan for the north-east of Scotland is ready, as so much research has already taken place into the Borders problem?

Photo of Mr Eustace Willis Mr Eustace Willis , Edinburgh East

All these plans have to be fitted into one plan, otherwise they are apt to be contradictory and to fit into no pattern at all. It is precisely because of this that we are publishing a National Plan. The National Plan will take account of the needs of the various areas and of the reports which have been produced for these areas.

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

Is the Minister aware that the North-East Development Plan has taken a very long time? Will he agree that plans are no substitute for action and that this problem of depopulation is serious and is still going on? Does he understand that there is urgent need to stem that tide and to start once again to revive employment in these distant areas such as the north-east of Scotland and other parts of Scotland in order to give our people a chance to work in the area where they were born?

Photo of Mr Eustace Willis Mr Eustace Willis , Edinburgh East

I understand hon. Members' impatience. I only wish that they had shown the same impatience during the past 13 years.

Photo of Mr Jock Bruce-Gardyne Mr Jock Bruce-Gardyne , South Angus

Is the Minister aware that there has been almost intolerable procrastination by the Government in this matter? Is he aware that I was assured a year ago that this plan for the North-East would be published in the very near future? Can he guarantee that it will be published as soon as possible in the New Year? It has taken far too long already.