North-East Consultative Group

Oral Answers to Questions — Scotland – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 15th June 1966.

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Photo of Mr Alick Buchanan-Smith Mr Alick Buchanan-Smith , North Angus and Mearns 12:00 am, 15th June 1966

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland when he expects the North-East Consultative Group to complete preparation of specific proposals for industrial development; and if he will make a statement.

Photo of Mr William Ross Mr William Ross , Kilmarnock

The North-East Consultative Group held its first meeting on 1st June, and I am sure its assistance will be invaluable in the further economic planning of its area, but this is a continuous process in which specific proposals will emerge as we proceed.

Photo of Mr Alick Buchanan-Smith Mr Alick Buchanan-Smith , North Angus and Mearns

Is not the right hon. Gentleman ashamed that the Scottish Economic Plan White Paper did not contain any specific proposals for the North-East? Is he not aware that in the North-East unemployment is higher than in any other area of Scotland and that there is a very great need for urgent action in this part of Scotland?

Photo of Mr William Ross Mr William Ross , Kilmarnock

The urgency of the need for action relates to the fact that so little was done by the hon. Gentleman's right hon. Friends. The Scottish Economic Plan was never meant to be a detailed blueprint, and if the hon. Gentleman had read it he would know that.

Photo of Mr Hector Hughes Mr Hector Hughes , Aberdeen North

I thank my right hon. Friend for the last sentence of his last reply. Will he say what steps are being taken to counter the drift from the South-East of England to the Continent of Europe in favour of the North-East of Scotland to the Continent of Europe?

Photo of Mr William Ross Mr William Ross , Kilmarnock

It is because we have become aware of the need to take action in this part of the world and because of the facts which were elicited in the preparatory work of drawing up the Economic Plan that we have taken this step, which is only the first step.

Photo of Mr Michael Noble Mr Michael Noble , Argyll

Has the Secretary of State no information yet from the Group on the effects of the Industrial Development Bill and the Selective Employment Tax on its efforts?