The right hon. Gentleman may recall that the Prime Minister, as far back as the debate on the Queen's Speech, undertook to look at this matter specially. Surely it is now time that he had some specific answers to whether or not the measures are to be applied to the established industries as well as the incoming industries. Does he recall that I have put a specific case to him and have had no reply except a mere statement of the rules, which I found very unsatisfactory?
My right hon. Friend undertook to look into any submissions which might be made on this subject, and several have been. The nature of those submissions is not such, at this stage at least, as to guide one towards a change in the rules which currently apply. The requirement to maintain a very real and contrasting advantage for incoming industry still represents an important element of regional policy.
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that in the West of Scotland we are fighting a desperate, losing battle to maintain the established industry and manpower and that if the operational grant were given to those established firms which wanted to extend a little good could be done in that direction? Incoming industries which compete with the established industries get an advantage over them which is quite unfair. The West of Scotland is fast becoming an industrial desert as a result of the inactivity of the present Government.
I am deeply concerned about the situation in West Central Scotland, as the hon. Member knows. I am certainly open to any proposals which seem to me to have a real contribution to make. On this one, I am afraid, I have not yet been persuaded that it would make any real contribution.
Thank you Mr. Speaker. Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that I am deeply dissatisfied with the way in which he answered the other two Questions which are directly related to Question No. 82? Is he not aware that a town development scheme, into which was introduced several new industries, is collapsing because this special measure which is being asked for is not being agreed to by himself and his Government? Is he not further aware that in the new town of Cumbernauld we are losing industries which were introduced into the area under the Labour Government?
Yes, but surely the hon. Member will realise that the expansion of such arrangements spreads still more thinly any efforts which one can make in these ways. I am sure he will realise of what enormous importance it is to the area in question to try to have the maximum of facilities and incentives available for incoming industry.
I am very grateful, Mr. Speaker—[HON. MEMBERS: "You ought to be."] I always am. Could I ask my right hon. Friend whether, on a matter of principle relating to these Questions which are being discussed, he is aware that the Prime Minister told me only last Thursday that a decision would not be very long delayed? I am rather at a loss to understand why my right hon. Friend replied in the way he did to these Questions.