HC Deb 26 January 1960 vol 616 cc13-6
22. Mr. Jay

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he has now granted industrial development certificates for major expansion schemes in the motor industry; and in what areas.

Mr. J. Rodgers

My right hon. Friend has agreed to issue to the British Motor Corporation industrial development certificates for new productive capacity amounting to 3.1 million square feet, of which about 2.2 million square feet is in areas of high unemployment, 250,000 square feet at Swynnerton and 670,000 square feet in the Midlands. This will lead to the creation of over 11,000 new jobs in Scotland, Wales and Merseyside and 1,000 at Swynnerton without expanding the Corporation's labour force in the Midlands beyond the capacity of its existing factories. Discussions are proceeding with other car manufacturers.

Mr. Jay

Will the Minister accept our congratulations for following our advice in this respect, and, also, will he congratulate the British Motor Corporation on its co-operation, no doubt with some inducement? Further, will he keep up this good work, not forgetting the North-East Coast, in future?

Miss Herbison

Is the Minister aware that no part of the extension of the car industry has come to Scotland at all and that what we have in the plans he has put forward is the manufacture of tractors? Will he remember that what Scotland wants is an assurance that we shall have part of the car industry?

Mr. Rodgers

I am grateful to the right hon. Gentleman for his remarks. Certainly, we are indebted to the British Motor Corporation for its co-operation with us in achieving what we have so far achieved. I ask the hon. Lady to exercise a little patience.

28. Mr. Edelman

asked the President of the Board of Trade what discussions he has had with motor manufacturers with a view to the re-siting or the expansion of the motor industry beyond its present location.

30. Mr. W. Hamilton

asked the President of the Board of Trade if he will make a statement about his recent discussions with representatives of the motor car industry; and in particular whether he will estimate the prospects of any expansion of that industry being sited in Scotland.

Mr. J. Rodgers

My right hon. Friend is engaged in discussions with the leading motor vehicle manufacturers with a view to securing new capacity and new jobs for the areas of high unemployment. The House will welcome the recent announcement of the British Motor Corporation's plans, which provide for 12,000 new jobs outside their traditional centres, 5,600 in Scotland.

Mr. Edelman

Will the hon. Gentleman say whether, in addition to consultations with the motor manufacturers, he has had consultations also with the trade unions concerned in order to make sure that this otherwise very desirable action does not result in competition in wages between the areas concerned? Further, will he say whether, in view of the interest of the steel industry, the machine tool industry and the electrical industry in the matter, he has consulted those wider interests also?

Mr. Rodgers

We are in constant touch with the trade union representatives on all these matters. At the present moment, we are concentrating on discussions with the motor car industry. Talks with other industries will follow.

Mr. Hamilton

Is the Minister aware that Scotland will not be completely satisfied with the extension which is being given there, and that the 5,000-odd jobs which are to be created represent only about 5 per cent. of the current figure for unemployed in Scotland. It does not go nearly far enough. Will he assure us that the simple fact that there has been this steering to Scotland will not adversely affect Scotland's chances of getting something from Ford, Vauxhall, Rootes, and so on?

Mr. Rodgers

I do not think that it would be wise for me to say anything more about current negotiations which are proceeding.

Mr. Mitchison

Will the hon. Gentleman say how much public money these companies are receiving, on what terms, and why they cannot find their own money?

Mr. Rodgers

The only scheme so far announced, that of B.M.C., will cost about £9½ million. The terms are not specially favourable to B.M.C.; they are available to any firm which would go to these particular areas.