HC Deb 12 March 1959 vol 601 cc1437-8
22. Sir D. Robertson

asked the President of the Board of Trade if he will consider setting up a Development Corporation in Scotland, similar to the corporation in Northern Ireland, to attract new industry to towns where unemployment persists, and to others that are threatened by the decline or closure of older industries.

Sir D. Eccles

The Government consider that adequate machinery already exists for this purpose. The functions of the Northern Ireland Development Council are to a large extent discharged in Scotland by the Scottish Council (Development and Industry).

Sir D. Robertson

Is not it a fact that the existing machinery is not doing the job? Does the President of the Board of Trade feel satisfied to continue with an inefficient machine which is handicapped in every way by lack of powers and money?

Sir D. Eccles

I do not think that it is the machine which is not doing the job. The difficulty is to find suitable firms to go to the north of Scotland, but we will continue our attempts to find them.

Mr. Rankin

is the President of the Board of Trade inferring that the Scottish Council (Development and Industry) possesses the same powers, finance, and so on as the Northern Ireland Development Council?

Sir D. Eccles

No, it does not. But we have always considered the unemployment position in Northern Ireland so chronic as to require continuing special efforts. We are now giving D.A.T.A.C. facilities to Scotland.

Mr. Jay

Whether or not the machinery is adequate, would the right hon. Gentleman agree that the results to date have certainly been quite inadequate?

Sir D. Eccles

I wish that we could do better, but it takes a little time to get firms to avail themselves of these facilities.