HC Deb 13 March 1956 vol 550 cc210-1
15. Mr. McInnes

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will, in order to attract industry to Cumbernauld New Town, provide factory accommodation at the same rentals as those operating in Scottish Industrial Estate factories.

Mr. J. N. Browne

The development corporation, which is responsible for providing for industry within the new town, is required by the New Towns Act to obtain a reasonable return on its capital outlays; it has no power to subsidise factory building or factory rents.

Mr. McInnes

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that unless the Scottish Office or his right hon. Friend gives some guidance and direction, and applies the principle of the Distribution of Industry Act and the New Towns Act, we shall not be able to attract new industry to Cumbernauld?

Mr. Browne

As things are at present, I have every reason to believe that Cumbernauld will prove attractive to industry, and that industry will pay economic rents.

Mr. T. Fraser

Does not the hon. Gentleman appreciate that those Glasgow firms who go out to the industrial estates get factory accommodation at the rent of 1s. 3d. per square foot, whereas, if they have to pay an economic rent to a development corporation, they cannot possibly obtain accommodation at less than 4s. a square foot?

Mr. Browne

Future policy about the extent to which subsidised rented factories—for example, those in the Scottish Industrial Estates, such as Hillington—should be provided in Development Areas, is under consideration by the Board of Trade in the light of a report by the Select Committee on Estimates. which suggested, not that unsubsidised rents would be too high, but that rents of factories in Scottish Industrial Estates are a good deal too low.

Mr. McInnes

Is not the hon. Member aware that what he has now said means, in effect, that he will sabotage Cumbernauld before it is started? It is criminal to suggest that future policy is under consideration when he has already given authority to proceed with this new town.