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Public Responsibility For Social Justice

Part of Orders of the Day — Opposition Day – in the House of Commons at 3:59 pm on 10th March 1997.

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Photo of Mr Michael Forsyth Mr Michael Forsyth , Stirling 3:59 pm, 10th March 1997

I do not want to be distracted too much, but I suggest that, if the hon. Lady gives that answer again, she should begin it with "Once upon a time".

Let me make another point about the consequences for Scotland's economic prosperity. [Interruption] The Labour party used to be concerned about such issues. It used to be concerned about jobs. It is this Government who have delivered prosperity to Scotland and created new opportunities for employment, thanks in part to the efforts of the enterprise network and Scottish Enterprise, which we established. Now a Scottish parliament is being proposed, with tartan-tax-raising powers that would destroy jobs and prosperity, and damage people's savings and their income from dividends and other sources.

Not content with damaging the business climate in Scotland and allowing business rates to be sent sky high by the irresponsible councils that their party runs in Glasgow and elsewhere—the same people who would be in a Scottish parliament—Opposition Members who are committed to a Scottish parliament want to destroy Scottish Enterprise and the local enterprise companies. They want to destroy the engine—the job creation machine—in Scotland.

We have that on the authority of a Glasgow councillor, no less—Councillor Jean McFadden, who produced a report from the John Wheatley centre. We are told that, under a Scottish Parliament, the functions of the LECs would be transferred to local authorities, and that the structure of the national enterprise bodies, Scottish Enterprise and Highlands and Islands Enterprise, would be reformed—in other words, crushed. As for the Scottish National party, we have confirmation from Mr. George Reid, who is described as the party's trade and industry spokesman, that the transfer of the LECs to local authorities would also be its policy.

Here we have a structure that has been successful in delivering jobs, but both those Opposition parties plan to wreck it in order to find the money to pay the £80 billion for their "pretendy parliament"—as I believe Billy Connolly called it— in Edinburgh.

That is in complete contrast to the Government. We will continue to support Scottish Enterprise and the local enterprise companies, because we support people who deliver. I am therefore pleased to announce further support for Scottish Enterprise and Highlands and Islands Enterprise in the current year. I shall be providing a further £5 million for Scottish Enterprise—