Orders of the Day — Scottish Development Agency Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 1:15 pm on 21st October 1987.

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Photo of Mr Ian Lang Mr Ian Lang , Galloway and Upper Nithsdale 1:15 pm, 21st October 1987

I am sure that Sir Robin Duthie will read the hon. Gentleman's comments in the report of this debate with considerable interest. The report is a valuable tool for the agency in presenting an image of its activities to those potential inward investors and others who can bring great benefit to Scotland. I assure the hon. Gentleman that the agency's image outside Scotland stands very high, and I do not begrudge it the capacity to present itself in an effective and efficient manner.

The aim of the recommendations in the Treasury review is to increase the agency's effectiveness as a motor of change in Scotland. Progress in the implementation of these recommendations is proceeding according to schedule, with action have been substantially completed in over half of them. With an eye to the future, the agency's corporate strategy for the next three years highlights the major thrusts proposed in the fields of technology, Scottish enterprise, internationalisation and urban renewal.

First, the agency recognises — and rightly — that Scottish industry, and not simply inward investors, is its client base. The agency is now increasingly applying to the development of indigenous companies the targeted approach that has brought it success in the attraction of inward investment. Particular emphasis will be placed on the engineering and food processing sectors.

Secondly, the greatest rewards to enterprise are to be found in serving international markets, while the greatest threats to indigenous industry come from international competition and from the international diffusion of technology. By encouraging product and process development, the agency will seek to assist Scottish industry to rise to this challenge. The provision of seed corn and development finance will be needed in these activities, as will a major expansion of the agency's technology transfer capability.

Thirdly, the agency has developed considerable expertise in encouraging property development to achieve environmental renewal and local economic regeneration. The approach, which has paid dividends in Glasgow's merchant city, can be replicated in other major Scottish urban centres. This expertise will increasingly be applied to urban renewal and regeneration in Scotland. We can expect to see this happening, for example, on the banks of the Clyde in Glasgow and in run-down housing areas.