HC Deb 28 November 1945 vol 416 cc1320-1
61. Mr. Malcolm MacMillan

asked the President of the Board of Trade when he hopes to be able to state if it is the intention of His Majesty's Government to extend the Development Areas provisions of the Distribution of Industry Act, so as to bring industrial development to the Islands and Highlands of Scotland.

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Trade (Mr. Ellis Smith)

My right hon. Friend is in close consultation with my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Scotland in the matter. It is not our present intention to propose the scheduling of the Highlands and Islands of Scotland as a Development Area. Our aim is to secure a stable and high rate of employment throughout the country, and my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Scotland has already initiated a series of measures designed to facilitate, the development of the economic resources of the Highlands. We shall continue to give full consideration to any proposal to attract or expand industries in these areas.

Mr. MacMillan

Is my hon. Friend aware that we are extremely alarmed at the continuity of lack of policy; that as far as the Highlands are concerned the only developments taking place are for the export of power for the rehabilitation of other parts of Scotland; and that we would like some development in the Highlands for ourselves?

Mr. Smith

Controversy has taken place in this House in regard to the advisability of the industrialisation of the Highlands of Scotland, but there are other areas of Scotland besides the Highlands about which we are very concerned, and a relatively large number of unemployed are in those areas. The Highlands will benefit from the introduction of hydro-electrical development, and from the Herring Industry, the Rural Water Supply and other Acts.