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CLYDE PORT AUTHORITY (HUNTERSTON ORE TERMINAL) ORDER CONFIRMATION BILL (By Order)

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 11th December 1973.

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Photo of Mr Teddy Taylor Mr Teddy Taylor , Glasgow Cathcart 12:00 am, 11th December 1973

I am in the unfortunate position of finding myself more in agreement with the sentiments expressed by the hon. Member for Glasgow, Govan (Mrs. MacDonald), in her excellent speech, and the hon. Member for Greenock (Dr. Dickson Mabon) than with some of my hon. Friends.

I was particularly interested in the hon. Member for Greenock's point about the possibility of getting cash from the Common Market Regional Development Fund. Were it not for the fact that we are contributing £90 million net this year and next to the Common Market, after all the repayments we would have had a splendid fund of £90 million in Britain which we could have used for projects like this without consulting the Common Market. It is a shame that we do not have that opportunity.

I must congratulate my hon. Friend the Member for Bute and North Ayrshire (Sir F. Maclean) on the splendid campaign he has conducted on behalf of his constituents. He has done it responsibly and ably and has impressed many people. It has also been a help to the Government in these difficult times because his constant opposition to the proposal has enabled the Government to announce the new project at least once a fortnight for the past year and it has meant considerable items of good news coming from time to time.

However, I am not impressed by the arguments against the Bill. No one can doubt that there is a need for the jetty. The fact is that the general terminus quay cannot cope with the likely amount and cannot take the larger vessels which can bring us economies in terms of the supply of iron ore. There is no doubt that without a new jetty we cannot take advantage of the economies stemming from the use of large vessels.

I am not impressed with the remarks of those who try to press the unique advantages of this peninsula. It has not been available to the workers of Hill-head or Cathcart in my memory. It is not as though we are proposing the destruction of a recreational area for workers. The only point appears to be the view which can be obtained from Millport and elsewhere.

Similar arguments were put to me when we were considering the establishment of the nuclear power station there. However, in my opinion Hunterston "A" has added to the beauty of the area. It is a magnificent sight and has not detracted from the scenic interest of the area.

The question which I want to put to the Minister is the very question that my hon. Friend the Member for Bute and North Ayrshire asked. Is this just the beginning or is it an end in itself? There is no doubt that an iron-ore terminal on its own would make sense. It would help to provide cheaper and better supplies of iron ore, and the terminal could be justified in itself. But I hope that it is not something in itself and that it is only the beginning of a major industrial enterprise in the area.

It is crucial for Scotland if we are to prosper in the future that we make use of our unique natural assets, especially in view of the pull towards the centre of the Common Market. There is no doubt that the deep water at Hunterson is a unique asset, and it is the reason why so many foreign companies have shown a keen interest in developing there.