HC Deb 22 February 1951 vol 484 c1436
15. Lord Malcolm Douglas-Hamilton

asked the President of the Board of Trade what steps he has taken during the last 12 months to encourage the development of new industries in Inverness.

Mr. H. Wilson

The attention of several firms wishing to establish new factories has been drawn to the facilities available in Inverness. During the last 12 months two small factory extensions and one small factory re-building have been approved for Inverness. Work on the latter started at the end of 1950.

Lord Malcolm Douglas-Hamilton

While I am grateful for that answer, may I ask the right hon. Gentleman if he is aware that the Longman airfield site was earmarked several years ago for industrial development, and that none so far has been made? Is he aware that an access road is badly needed and that the tweed industry is being badly handicapped by the 66⅔ Purchase Tax? Would he remind the Minister of Transport that transport costs are crippling new development in the Highlands?

Mr. Wilson

I have made clear that we are doing what we can to encourage firms to go there. We have no powers to force them to go there. I do not suppose that the noble Lord wants us to force firms to go there. I should, however, like to make clear to him that although we are trying to deal with the Inverness problem, we inherited a number of development problems much more serious than that, which are now being cleared up.