HC Deb 29 July 1952 vol 504 cc1254-5
29. Mr. Grimond

asked the President of the Board of Trade in view of the comparative failure of the Development Area in Ross and Cromarty, what other steps he is taking to assist Highland areas where there is high and continuing unemployment in attracting new industries or occupations.

Mr. P. Thorneycroft

We are doing all we can to persuade new industry to set up in the Highlands, especially those based on agriculture, forestry, fisheries and on other local resources. But as the hon. Member will appreciate, the problem of dealing with small pockets of unemployment in a widely scattered population is not a simple one.

Mr. Grimond

Would the Minister not agree that in point of fact unemployment is fairly widespread compared with the rest of Britain, and has been for some time, and as efforts to attract new industries have so far rather failed, will he look at schemes put into operation in Norway to deal with similar problems?

Mr. Thorneycroft


Mr. John MacLeod

Will my right hon. Friend agree that until basic services are put right in the Highlands he will not attract industry into that area?

Mr. Woodburn

Will the right hon. Gentleman bear in mind that it is not that the Development Area has failed but that private firms have not been able to take advantage of the Development Area. Will he consider Government action to encourage private enterprise to go there?

Mr. Thorneycroft

I was not suggesting that anything had failed. I was agreeing with the hon. Gentleman that we must continue our efforts in this matter.