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

That is not the same point as that which I was making. My point was about the special attention that will be paid to enhancing the residents' access to jobs by improving their training and their ability to perform those jobs and, therefore, to apply for them.

In undertaking these tasks the agency will continue to adopt a commercial approach. It will emphasise partnerships. Funding will be drawn from a range of other participants, and a realistic and disciplined approach is to be expected.

Since its creation in 1975 the agency's activities have been influenced by the policy and philosophy of the Government of the day, which is right. We set its budget, we are involved in the development of its overall strategy, we agree its priorities and we approve its major specific decisions. That is also why the SDA's role has developed and expanded so that it is now the powerful force that we want it to be in working with the grain of our capitalist economy.

Where its Labour begetters in 1975 wanted the agency to be an instrument of socialism—interventionist and acquisitive—we have transformed it into an engine of free enterprise, creative and catalytic. In recognition of that, and the increased effectiveness it has achieved in the use of its funds, we have been able to increase its budget in real terms since coming into office.

The agency has increased significantly the amount of money generated by its activities, but over the last few years the Government have still provided about £90 million a year in support of its operations.