asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will make a statement on the assessment by his Economic Advisory Section of the effect on the Scottish economy of the Budget.
My Economic and Statistics Unit publishes the Scottish Economic Bulletin, which is designed to provide the broad background to changes in the Scottish economy. The next issue will be published within the next few weeks.
It is already clear that Scotland will benefit from the expansionary measures contained in the Budget and in particular from the measures outlined in the White Paper on Industrial and Regional Development.
Does the right hon. Gentleman recall that in page 2 of the last issue of the bulletin there was an extremely depressing account of the future of the shipbuilding industry? In view of the threatened redundancies at Govan, what steps is the right hon. Gentleman taking to keep in touch with the situation? Secondly, in relation to North Sea oil, what steps has he taken to have consultations with British Petroleum to ensure the firming up of its expansion possibilities at Grangemouth?
These industries are sponsored by another Minister. But I keep in close touch with what is happening. As for the shipbuilding industry, the hon. Gentleman must be referring to a statement about orders in the future. As for Govan, the Government have carried out their pledge to enable a new company, Govan Shipbuilders, to take over the three yards. There has been a successful conclusion in the case of the Clydebank yard. As regards BP, there has been an announcement about expansion at Grangemouth. That company has gone further than any other in its public statements about North Sea oil. I shall keep in touch, as will others of my right hon. and hon. Friends, with its future plans.
Is my right hon. Friend aware that there is great satisfaction in Scotland with the fact that, since taking office, the present Govern- ment have reduced the tax rates for the individual and for industry by an average of £5 million for every single day?
While we are very pleased that last month's unemployment figures showed a considerable drop, 135,000 in the month of June is an exceedingly high level. When does the right hon. Gentleman hope we shall get below 100,000?
The right hon. Gentleman knows that no Minister has ever tried to forecast unemployment figures for the future. I am sure that the whole House welcomes the drop in unemployment in Scotland. One month by itself cannot be regarded as an accurate guide. None the less it is to be welcomed.