Scotland (Local Government)

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 17th June 1981.

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Photo of Mr George Younger Mr George Younger , Ayr 12:00 am, 17th June 1981

I am grateful for the right hon. Gentleman's response to the idea of a debate on a matter day, which believe will be widely welcomed. I am glad that he also approves of our ensuring that districts retain their industrial development responsibilities.

I hope that in due course the right hon. Gentleman will think a little further about our decision on promotion. I am sure that he is as concerned as we are that the Locate in Scotland bureau should be successful in co-ordinating efforts. If he looks into the matter further, he may agree on reflection that a number of different districts in different areas carrying out their own promotion would create only confusion at home and certainly abroad if that were allowed to happen. I therefore believe that there is a wide measure of agreement in many quarters that some element of control would be desirable.

With regard to my approval for regions to undertake promotional activity, I assure the right hon. Gentleman that I would not intend to exercise this in a restrictive way. If the main effect for Scotland is to be achieved, however, it is essential that there should not be large numbers of different Scottish local authorities falling over themselves in foreign capitals. That is the object of the co-ordination.

I appreciate that the leisure and recreation decisions are somewhat complicated, but they reduce concurrency very substantially —in fact, almost entirely —and it should not in future be necessary for both regions and districts to have leisure and recreation departments.

The decision on overseas tourism promotion was announced earlier, but now that we have a Scottish Tourist Board that is able to influence the British Tourist Authority, with a proper strategy for promoting Scotland overseas, we can get the strength of the British Tourist Authority on a co-ordinated Scottish basis to put forward Scottish promotion, and that is an improvement on the previous arrangement.