HC Deb 17 March 1959 vol 602 cc199-201
35. Mr. Steele

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what he estimates will be the effect on the town of Inverness of the closing of the railway workshops; and what representations on the matter he has received from the Highland Panel.

Mr. N. Macpherson

I understand that the effect on the town of Inverness of the proposed closure of the locomotive workshops cannot be accurately measured until the discussions, which are now being held between the management and the trade unions, have been taken further. My right hon. Friend has received representations from Inverness Town Council about the adverse effect of the closure on the town. The Highland Panel has not yet had an opportunity to consider the matter.

Mr. Steele

Will the hon. Gentleman say if his right hon. Friend has been associated with the representations made by the Provost of Inverness and the trade unions concerned, from whom I myself have had representations? Is he aware that we in the House are anxious to see more industry in the Highlands, and especially in Inverness? Is the hon. Gentleman aware of the difficult situation which will arise as a result of the closure? Will the hon. Gentleman associate himself with the representations of the trade unions and the Provost to see if this matter can be reconsidered?

Mr. Macpherson

My right hon. Friend is in touch with the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation, but, as the hon. Gentleman realises, this is a matter of management for the Commission.

Mr. N. McLean

Will the Joint Under-Secretary of State or the Secretary of State also bear in mind that the Government are directly interested in the problem, as they have said that they wish to promote suitable industry in the Highlands? In his consultations with the Minister of Transport and in any consultations which may take place with the British Transport Commission, will the Secretary of State bear in mind the importance of co-ordinating the policy of the British Transport Commission and his Department in promoting these industries in the Highlands?

Mr. Macpherson

Yes. My right hon. Friend will certainly bear these matters in mind. I am bound to point out the limitations of action which are imposed by legislation.

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