HC Deb 14 March 1963 vol 673 cc1499-500
2. Mr. Bence

asked the President of the Board of Trade when the Scottish Industrial Estates Ltd. disposed of the industrial site in Clydebank to Ingersoll-Rand Ltd.; and what steps he is taking to get this site developed.

Mr. Erroll

This site was sold by the Board of Trade to Ingersoll-Rand Ltd. in February, 1961; the company has been repeatedly pressed to submit proposals for its early development.

Mr. Bence

This is a precious bit of Scotland. Will the President of the Board of Trade take steps immediately to get this land back from this American company, because it appears that it does not intend to use it and there are, I am sure, many industrialists who would be delighted to have this valuable site?

Mr. Erroll

I entirely agree with the hon. Member. This is a precious bit of a very precious country. I have been in touch with the firm about its future developments and it fully appreciates the importance which we attach to the earliest possible development of the site. We would certainly consider re-acquiring it for any firm that was likely to provide employment commensurate with its size.

Mr. Jay

Is not the moral of this case that it is much better to keep these sites in public ownership?

Mr. Erroll

That does not follow. Some firms would be deterred by being merely leaseholders. They prefer to be freeholders.