Part of First Minister's Question Time – in the Scottish Parliament at 12:00 pm on 22nd March 2007.

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Photo of Rt Hon Jack McConnell Rt Hon Jack McConnell Labour 12:00 pm, 22nd March 2007

I accept that Campbell Martin is committed to tackling poverty and I answered his first question positively for that reason, but I do not accept his attempt to misrepresent and demean the hard work of people in North Ayrshire to try to create jobs there.

I grew up in North Ayrshire and I know the economic challenges that it has suffered over the past 30 years. It has a number of communities that need support, proper infrastructure, inward investment and the development of new businesses that will create jobs there in the future that will retain the population and help grow it to ensure that those communities are sustainable. Our investment, not just in the M77 to the south but in the new bypass at the three towns, in improved ferry services, in regeneration in Irvine and elsewhere and in the urban regeneration company, will make a difference in North Ayrshire. If Campbell Martin really wanted to tackle poverty, he would support that investment, not run it down.