SCOTTISH DEVELOPMENT AGENCY (No. 2) [MONEY]

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 25th June 1975.

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Photo of Mr Jim Sillars Mr Jim Sillars , Ayrshire South 12:00 am, 25th June 1975

The carping reluctance of the approach of the Conservative Party to the Bill and the money to be provided with which to back the Scottish Development Agency will not go unnoticed in Scotland.

It is remarkable that three technical monetary questions should have been asked by a member of the Conservative Party. When we asked questions about the amount of money to be committed by the Conservative Government under the Industry Act 1972 we were told that that amount depended on how successful we were in attracting investment. We were told that the more investment there was the more grants and expenditure there would be. There was an open cheque attitude to investment under the Industry Act 1972.

Tht £300 million allocated to the Scottish Development Agency is not enough. If the Scottish Development Agency spends up to the limt of £300 million in the first two years of its life it will be a highly successful operation. The Government will be able to claim an enormous investment success in the rehabilitation of land north of the border. We shall have proved our case for further Government assistance. I am happy to agree with the prescribed limit of £300 million.

There has been no mention by the Opposition of the fact that this is a year of crisis for the working people of Scotland. A financial crisis faces the country. The unemployed, their families and the young people pouring out of schools on to a labour market which is already severely depressed face a time of crisis. They look to the Government for action. The Money Resolution will enable the Government to take adequately backed action in the next two years.

The Opposition complained that no Government supporters seemed to be concerned about the amounts to be spent. That is why I speak. When the Minister makes a decision on the voluntary timetable I hope that he will bear in mind that the Tory Party has had a fair crack of the whip. In the other place, for which there are no elections, the Scottish Tories are better represented than in any other part of the Palace of Westminster. Those Tories have knocked our Bill about a considerable amount. Will the Minister discuss with the Leader of the House, the Chief Whip, and through the usual channels, the possibility of a generous, timetable motion being introduced so that the Bill becomes law and the £300 million is spent on employment in Scotland?