HC Deb 03 April 1963 vol 675 cc445-6
39. Mr. Hendry

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland when he will give a decision on whether there will in future be one Electricity Board for Scotland.

Mr. Noble

While I appreciate that an early announcement is desirable, I regret that I cannot at present say when this will be possible.

Mr. Hendry

Will my right hon. Friend consider whether he can possibly speed up his answer to the Question in view of the amount of misleading and ill-informed propaganda sent to hon. Members by "Aims of Industry" and similar organisations?

Mr. Noble

I will, of course, try to speed up my decision, but this must not be at the expense of looking carefully at the very complicated problems involved.

Mr. Woodburn

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that many of us do not want him to make such a decision and have one Electricity Board for Scotland? Is he aware that we are almost convinced at the moment, unless evidence emerges to the contrary, that it would be much better to preserve the North of Scotland Hydro-Electric Board?

Mr. Noble

I am aware that this view is held not only by the right hon. Gentleman but by many others in the House.

Mr. John MacLeod

Is my right hon. Friend aware that authoritative opinion in the north of Scotland is against amalgamation? Why cannot this Board, which has done so much for the Highlands of Scotland, retain its independence?

Mr. Noble

I am certainly aware of what my hon. Friend says, but the problem is not purely one for the Highlands. It is one for Scotland and it is in balancing these matters that I have to take a decision.

Mr. Ross

Surely the right hon. Gentleman has had the report before him for many months. Is he aware that this is bound to create an unsettling feeling? Will the right hon. Gentleman show himself to be as sensitive to the real needs of the people of Scotland as hitherto he has shown himself sensitive to the propaganda of "Aims of Industry"?

Mr. Noble

Yes, Sir.