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Orders of the Day — Electricity Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 4:28 pm on 13th December 1988.

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Photo of Malcolm Rifkind Malcolm Rifkind Secretary of State for Scottish Office 4:28 pm, 13th December 1988

Since the hon. Gentleman and his party came to slightly greater prominence in the last few months, most of Scottish industry has been pointing out how disastrous it would be for the Scottish private sector if his party's views were ever translated into policy. I would be more impressed by the hon. Gentleman's comments if he were not pursuing a policy disastrous for new as well as existing investment in Scotland.

As to previous privatisation, we always seek to identify where it makes sense to implement separate Scottish or English privatisation, but as most right hon. and hon. Members believe in a united kingdom, it is not always appropriate or sensible to split an existing industry. In the case of electricity, we already have a Government-controlled structure of individual Scottish companies, so privatisation presents an exciting opportunity to see two new major Scottish companies established north of the border. The electricity industry has not been part of the Scottish private sector for 40 years. As a result of the Bill, it will be a major part of it, and those who wish to encourage the growth of Scottish-based companies welcome that.