HC Deb 21 March 1962 vol 656 cc386-7
35. Mr. W. Hamilton

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he is aware of the concern about future industrial prospects in Fife, especially consequent on the announcement of the imminent closure of the Rothes colliery; and whether he will undertake immediate consultations with the Fife County Council in order to find means of alleviating the problem.

Mr. Brooman-White

Yes, Sir. I fully understand the apprehension which is felt in Fife about the future employment situation there. With regard to consultation, the Departments concerned are already in close touch with the County Council on this matter. Plans for the expansion of existing industry at Glenrothes are likely to create 200 additional jobs in this area in the near future. Furthermore, the New Town Corporation's negotiations with prospective industrial developers for a number of other new projects are at an advanced stage.

Mr. Hamilton

Does the Under-Secretary of State recognise that even assuming these projects come to fruition, which must be problematical, in the meanwhile they will not bring jobs before the Rothes pit closes and that meanwhile men will have moved out of the area? In view of these circumstances and the tremendous psychological, social and economic implications involved in the early closure of this pit, will he impress upon the Secretary of State for Scotland to seek to bring pressure in higher circles in the Cabinet to get the extra £5 million necessary to go to the deeper seams in this colliery, so that we may try to salvage something out of the losses already incurred there?

Mr. Brooman-White

I cannot comment on the latter point. So far as the introduction of industry to the area is concerned, we shall certainly do all that we can to speed up developments.

Mr. Gourlay

Is the Minister aware of the growing apprehension among all sections of the community in Fife arising out of the closure of the Rothes colliery—apprehension among people of different political persuasions regarding the future employment prospects, particularly for young people in Fife? Will he urge upon his right hon. Friend to make representations at Cabinet level to introduce tax concessions to prospective industrialists coming into Fife and so prevent it becoming a depressed area?

Mr. Brooman-White

That is a very much wider question.