HC Deb 28 November 1957 vol 578 c1267
31. Mr. Hamilton

asked the President of the Board of Trade if he will give an assurance that no financial assistance will be given by his Department to foreign firms seeking to establish themselves in Great Britain if such firms threaten competing with British interests, especially Scottish firms.

Sir D. Eccles

Applications from foreign firms for Government-financed factories to be provided under the Distribution of Industry Acts are considered on their merits. The tests are whether a firm would contribute to employment in the area and to the strength of the local and national economy.

Mr. Hamilton

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the paper industry in Fife is deeply concerned about rumours that the Government have granted a Dutch paper manufacturing firm £40,000, and that this is a firm which has competed with the Fife industry? Also, is he aware that, coupled with the closure of textile factories in Fife already, this is causing tremendous concern among those employed in those industries?

Sir D. Eccles

I am not familiar with the case, but I believe that the factory is to be in Northern Ireland, in which case it is a matter for the Government of Northern Ireland and not for me.

Sir J. Hutchison

Does my right hon. Friend agree that the establishment of foreign firms in this country has in many cases, and particularly in Scotland, brought great benefit not only in dollars but also in employment?

Sir D. Eccles

Yes, Sir.