Oral Answers to Questions — Millennium Link

– in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 17 February 1998.

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Photo of Dennis Canavan Dennis Canavan Labour, Falkirk West 12:00, 17 February 1998

What recent representations he has received about funding for the millennium link project to reunite the Forth and Clyde canal and the Union canal. [28077]

Photo of Henry McLeish Henry McLeish Minister for Home Affairs and Devolution, Scottish Office

The Government have received representations from hon. Members, elected members, local tourist boards and other interested organisations in support of the project. I shall arrange for detailed information to be placed in the Library of the House.

Photo of Dennis Canavan Dennis Canavan Labour, Falkirk West

As independent consultants estimate that 4,000 permanent jobs and 1,500 jobs during the construction stage could be generated by the project, plus an annual injection of £55 million into the central Scotland economy, with additional benefits in terms of tourism, leisure and recreation, will my hon. Friend try to ensure that the project receives the full amount of £16.4 million requested from the European regional development fund, bearing it in mind that the total cost of the millennium link is only about one tenth of that of the millennium white elephant being planned by the Dome Secretary at Greenwich?

Photo of Henry McLeish Henry McLeish Minister for Home Affairs and Devolution, Scottish Office

I shall ignore the opportunity to comment on the latter part of my hon. Friend's contribution. We share a concern for the project. The Scottish Office supports the project. A meeting is to be held on 24 February at which the two partnerships involved will come together, so there will be an opportunity for British Waterways and Scottish Enterprise to reinforce the case made by my hon. Friend. On Thursday my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State and I will be able to discuss the entire millennium link with canalside Members and we can go into much greater detail with them then.