Orders of the Day — Scottish Development Agency Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 1:41 am on 21st October 1987.

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Photo of John Reid John Reid , Motherwell North 1:41 am, 21st October 1987

The electors of both Central region and Stirling will note with interest the fact that after three hours of debate it was their Member of Parliament who intervened in order to stop further discussion of the problems faced by Scotland and the SDA.

Another group of people in my constituency will note with great interest the Government's attitude tonight. Within 12 days of this debate the giant Caterpillar plant at Uddingston is due to close. This Government proclaimed that they were prepared to back that plant against the decision of a multinational company to close it. Although taxpayers' money had been ploughed into the plant, that multinational company was prepared to loot the pension fund, to abandon the work force and to snub the Government.

The Government proclaimed what they were prepared to do from the rooftops, but we have heard nothing from them during the last three months. The Government said that they would fully support the efforts of the local community to keep the Caterpillar plant open, and yet, while the Government publicly proclaimed that they would use every ounce of economic muscle that they had to change the company's mind, privately they ensured that the Caterpillar company would be able to tender for a large Ministry of Defence contract. If 1,200 people at that plant are about to face years on the dole, they will be asking why the Government were unable to spend more than three hours tonight discussing the role that the Scottish Development Agency might play in saving their jobs.