Orders of the Day — Scottish Development Agency Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 1:06 am on 21st October 1987.

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Photo of Mr Bill Walker Mr Bill Walker , North Tayside 1:06 am, 21st October 1987

The hon. Member for Glasgow, Rutherglen (Mr. McAvoy) certainly took the House with him in his comments about his predecessor, Gregor MacKenzie. There is no doubt that Gregor was respected and held in deep affection in all parts of the House. We found the hon. Gentleman's speech interesting. He spoke with conviction and displayed clearly his love of his constituency and his great love of that great city of Glasgow. He also displayed his genuine concern for the problems of the unemployed in his constituency and he left the House in no doubt of his knowledge of the Scottish Development Agency—in particular the assistance that it has given to Hoover. We look forward to his contributions in future debates and are sure that he will take the opportunity, as all of us do from time to time, to be provocative. I congratulate him on his maiden speech.

During the debate we have been discussing the activities of the SDA, and I wish to place on record my appreciation for the work done by its former chief executive, George Matheson. During his period of office, I always found him extremely courteous and helpful. The hon. Member for Glasgow, Garscadden (Mr. Dewar) said that not everyone on the Government Benches supported the SDA and intervention. He is quite right. I have no hesitation in saying that I have never believed that the only way to pump prime or to encourage internal or inward investment was through vehicles such as the SDA. The creation of conditions that encourage investment is much more important an area of Government activity than the setting up and operating of agencies such as the SDA. The control of inflation, the reduction in taxation and in local and national borrowing together with other measures such as privatisation linked to employee shareholdings——