Orders of the Day — Scottish Development Agency Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 11:33 pm on 21st October 1987.

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Photo of Donald Dewar Donald Dewar , Glasgow Garscadden 11:33 pm, 21st October 1987

A sporting metaphor from the hon. Member for Dumfries (Sir H. Monro) is always something to savour. All that I can say to the hon. Gentleman is that he should stick to rugby and not stray on to the cricket field. He has got it all wrong as usual.

The position is clear and is as I have stated it. The figures have declined in that area as they have in the others to which I referrred. I proposed to draw the Minister's attention to the fact that on page 45 the 1985–86 industrial investment figure is given as £5·7 million while in one of his own parliamentary answers it is given as £8·1 million. That struck me as a curious discrepancy. I therefore took the trouble to telephone the SDA today for an explanation. Having got it, I thought that the House might be interested in it. It gives an interesting insight into the way in which the Scottish Office compiles its figures.

In 1985–86, the £5·7 million which appears in the report of the review group is the gross advances to new investment. The figure of £1·8 million that is added to it is the capital and interest payable to the Scottish Office, and £600,000 is the rural loan scheme. If one adds those three together, one gets the £8·1 million which, in parliamentary answers, the Minister is claiming is the industrial investment of the Scottish Office.

All that I can say, in all seriousness, is that I do not understand the logic, consistency or honesty of claiming that the payment of £1·8 million back to the Scottish Office is industrial investment by the SDA in Scotland and its economy. The figure in the review group report of £5·7 million is much more honest.