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Gartcosh Steel Mill

Part of Opposition Day – in the House of Commons at 6:37 pm on 23rd January 1986.

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Photo of Mr Gordon Wilson Mr Gordon Wilson , Dundee East 6:37 pm, 23rd January 1986

This debate is probably as important for the future of Scotland and the Scottish economy as it is for Gartcosh and the workers at Gartcosh. I have rarely encountered an issue that has so united the Scottish people. The Scots feel very strongly on this issue, and many believe that they have been abandoned within the British state.

The results of an opinion poll in the Glasgow Herald are significant and bear out what was generally believed. The STUC sent a letter to the Prime Minister stating that as a result of that poll 80 per cent. of the Scottish people wish Gartcosh to be retained. The poll showed that 64 per cent. of Conservatives, 83 per cent. of Labour supporters, 91 per cent. of the Scottish National party, and 86 per cent. of the alliance, all voted in favour of retaining Gartcosh. That is clear recognition that Gartcosh has a Scottish context and is extremely important.

There may well be complex arguments about the future of the Scottish steel industry within the British context. The hon. Member for Glanford and Scunthorpe (Mr. Hickmet) mentioned that earlier, but that point was properly exploded by the measured, useful and helpful contribution of the hon. Member for Hastings and Rye (Mr. Warren) on the basis of his experience in the Select Committee on Trade and Industry. He was able to relate the benefits of retaining Gartcosh as part of the Ravenscraig complex.