HC Deb 25 July 1957 vol 574 cc570-1
10 and 11. Mr. G. M. Thomson

asked the President of the Board of Trade (1)what efforts he is making to bring new industry to Dundee under the provisions of the Distribution of Industry Act;

(2)if he will relax his instructions regarding the building of Government-financed factories to rent in respect of the Dundee Development Area.

Sir D. Eccles

I cannot at this stage add to the statement I made after Questions on 17th July, and to the further details given by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Scotland in the debate on Industry in Scotland on 18th July.

Mr. Thomson

In view of the new situation in Dundee, will the President now reverse his decision and re-open the local office of his Department there, and at least put Dundee on a par with Inverness? Will he also promise the House that he will refuse some industrial development certificates in London and the Midlands, and tell the industrialists who wish to develop to do so in Dundee?

Sir D. Eccles

I hope to do rather better than the hon. Gentleman suggested; but, about the local office, I would say that the Jute Controller has his office in Dundee, and I think that we must put this difficult problem into the hands of officials at a pretty high level. As to his second point, certificates are refused for London for new factories. We will do all we can to persuade industrialists to go to Dundee, but we cannot compel them.

Mr. Strachey

Would not the President agree that the fact that the Jute Controller has his office in Dundee has very little to do with the Board of Trade having a local office there? That is what my hon. Friend was speaking about. Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the closing of the local Board of Trade office in Dundee is, rightly or wrongly, regarded by the inhabitants of that city as a sign that the Government have lost interest in bringing in new industries and that nothing but re-opening that office will really give the citizens of Dundee confidence that efforts are to be made to bring industries into Dundee?

Sir D. Eccles

The Jute Controller, of course, gives us the facts about employment in the jute industry which are very important in this matter; and I hope to make arrangements that will satisfy the people of Dundee that they are better off than they would have been if they had just had the old office.

Mr. Nabarro

Would my right hon. Friend bear in mind that the demise of the Jute Control would not be lamented in Kidderminster?

Mr. Jay

Can the President confirm what I thought he said in his statement ten days ago; that the Board of Trade is now prepared to build Government-financed factories, at any rate in Dundee?

Sir D. Eccles

The Treasury is prepared to make an exception of Dundee in granting loans for the building of factories when we can find someone who wants to go there.