34. Mr. McNeil
asked the President of the Board of Trade in view of the cancellation of equipment contracts for the proposed factory at East Kilbride, if he has inquired of Messrs. John Deere and Company what were their reasons for not proceeding with this project meantime; what was their reply; and what are the future prospects of this company undertaking production in Scotland.
§ Mr. H. Strauss
I understand from the John Deere Company that their decision to suspend for the present their plans for manufacturing outside North America was made in the light of their commitments in the United States and that they cannot foretell when they might wish to reverse that decision.
Would the hon. and learned Gentleman tell us, if he thinks this firm is in difficulties, whether that is due to the vacillation and lack of cooperation of his own Department, and if he thinks that has any part in influencing the decision of this American firm?
§ Mr. Strauss
I do not admit any of the allegations implied in the right hon. Gentleman's statement. The Question asks, "What are the reasons?" All the reasons are, of course, known only to the company, but I have given in my answer to the right hon. Member the reasons as we understand them.
Does the hon. and learned Gentleman deny that his Department had correspondence with this firm following on the vacillations of his Department? Does he deny further that he had representations from various Scottish interests stressing the need in terms of the 1143 distressed areas to give facilities to this firm, which his Department found either undesirable or incapable of giving?
§ Mr. Strauss
If the suggestion is that there has been a great deal of delay in this matter, I can tell him that the delay did not take place entirely in the lifetime of the present Government.