HC Deb 24 June 1958 vol 590 cc222-3
20. Mr. Hector Hughes

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he is aware that Scotland's population at 30th June, 1957, had increased by 37,000, that 35,000 Scots people migrated to other countries, and that this is partly due to unemployment in Scotland; and what steps he is taking to induce Scottish people to remain in employment in Scotland.

The Secretary of State for Scotland (Mr. John Maclay)

I am aware of the figures quoted by the hon. and learned Member. Emigration is, of course, prompted by a wide variety of motives. The Government's economic policy continues to be directed to the maintenance of a high level of production and employment and new measures to assist in the provision of employment in localities where a high rate of unemployment exists and is likely to persist are contained in the Distribution of Industry Bill now before the House.

Mr. Hughes

Is not the best way of dealing with this problem to put light industries into the North-East and the Highlands of Scotland because they are peculiarly suitable, having regard to the fact that high freight charges handicap heavy industry? What steps has the Minister taken to move light industries into the area?

Mr. Maclay

As the hon. and learned Member knows, every effort is being made to encourage this kind of development by the provisions which I have described in my Answer. Our aim is to help in this very important matter.

Mr. T. Fraser

Does the Secretary of State appreciate that the loss of population suffered by Scotland by migration last year was by far the greatest since 1929 and that but for that loss of population the unemployment figures for Scotland would be very high indeed?

Mr. Maclay

I do realise that very serious fact. It is interesting that a study of the loss of population by emigration in relation to local pockets of unemployment does not give any clear conclusions. It is evident that the reasons for emigration are complex.

Back to