We need your support to keep TheyWorkForYou running and make sure people across the UK can continue to hold their elected representatives to account.

Donate to our crowdfunder


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

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Mr George Lawson Mr George Lawson , Motherwell 12:00 am, 11th December 1973

These arguments were advanced at the time, but in the end the argument came down decidedly in favour of Hunterston. We were discussing the steel industry and not the oil industry at that time. Hunterston, it was pointed out, had behind it Ayrshire, with its industrial population spreading into North Lanarkshire as well. Thus, there were advantages in terms of both the approaches and the hinterland. All these factors were carefully weighed. It seems to me that if this is not a wholly unique site it is about as unique as we are likely to have.

In my understanding, the development here proposed is essential for the steel industry as it now exists and as it is planned to grow. The existing means by which ore comes in—if coal were being brought in, the same would apply—is through the terminus quay at Govan, far up the Clyde. But I understand that the ships for that area will range from 15,000 to 20,000 tons, with, perhaps, on very odd occasions, ships of 28,000 tons. But these are tiny ships compared with the ships now sailing the seas and the ships which will be necessary if our steel-making industry is to continue in Scotland.

The information coming to me and, I am sure, to many other Members, is that by 1977–78—not very far away in time—the General Terminus Quay will not be able to meet the needs of the existing steel industry in Scotland. I am not talking about a steel industry on the Clyde, or at Hunterston. It may come. I do not know. However, in the steel industry where it is sited now—and an important part of it is sited in my constituency, at Ravenscraig—the build up, particularly at Ravenscraig, is dependent upon this ore terminal. Without this ore terminal that build up at Ravenscraig will not take place. The two things go together. We have important bits and pieces of the steel industry in Scotland now, but I think that all hon. Members will agree that if we do not have the build up at Ravenscraig the prospects of Scotland's having a sizeable steel industry will be bleak indeed. I put it to the hon. Member for Glasgow, Hillhead, while respecting all his arguments, that that is essential for the steel industry as it is now and as its growth is planned.