HC Deb 28 April 1936 vol 311 cc704-6

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland whether he can supply any references to authoritative evidence upon the movement southward from Scotland in control and ultimate direction in finance, railways and factories and workshops employing fewer than 25 workpeople; and whether he will invite the Economic Advisory Committee for Scotland to give him the conclusions it draws from the Ministry of Labour's Report for 1935, wherein it is shown that during the last 12 years employment in the south has increased by 27 per cent. and decreased in the north by 3 per cent?


So far as I am aware precise information is not available as to the extent of any movements of the nature referred to in the first part of the question, but there appears to be no reason to suppose, from the general information available in the publications to which I have already referred the right hon. Gentleman, that substantial movements of such a kind are taking place. The Scottish Economic Committee has, with Government assistance, been set up by the Scottish National Development Council because employment in Scotland has not developed to the same extent as in other parts of the country in some of the newer fields of industrial enterprise. The responsibility for initiating such enterprise rests with industry, not with the Government, and I have no doubt that the Committee, in examining the possibilities of promoting fresh enterprises and employment in Scotland, will consider all aspects of the problem, including such matters as those mentioned in the question.


Will the right hon. Gentleman specially draw the attention of the Committee to the information given in the last part of the question?


I shall be very happy to do so.


asked the Secretary of State for Scotland whether he has considered the question of the formation of local committees, where those do not already exist, to co-operate with the recently created committee advising on industrial matters in Scotland, and the co-operation of the local committees with the larger committee, where the local committees are already in existence, with a view to encouraging local interest in the work of the national committee?


Yes, Sir. In my statement to the Scottish Economic Committee I emphasised the importance of steps being taken by them to enlist the co-operation of the business interests in the various localities and to encourage them and local development committees in their efforts to help themselves.