§ 22. Mr. W. Hamilton
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what representations he has received from local authorities and other bodies concerning the effects of the proposals contained 387 in the plan for South-East England on economic development in Scotland; and what reply he has sent.
§ Mr. Noble
Stirling County Council has sent me a copy of a resolution it adopted on this subject, and Fife County Council a copy of one adopted at a meeting of Fife local authorities. I have drawn their attention to the clear assurances already contained in the White Paper on South-East England that the proper development of the South-East will be carried out without prejudicing growth in other parts of the country.
§ Mr. Hamilton
How can the right hon. Gentleman possibly give that kind of guarantee? Is not it the case that to the extent that the South-East plan goes forward the attractiveness of the South-East must be increased regarding industrial development and that it is a cumulating process? Is he aware that to that extent the fortunes of Scotland must be adversely affected, if the plan goes through? Is not it the case that the plan provides for immigration, presumably from Scotland and other parts, and to that extent the hon. Gentleman accepts that we cannot do much about the present situation?
§ Mr. Noble
I think that the hon. Gentleman is being much too defeatist. At the same time we are doing our very best in Scotland—the Government, local authorities and others—greatly to increase the attractiveness of Scotland for industrialists. We shall have a clear period of six or seven years ahead. It is true that the South-East Study accepts that there will be some migration from Scotland, though most will be from overseas and from other places. This is in accordance with the figures which the White Paper for Central Scotland lays down as our target.
§ Mr. Hamilton
Has not the right hon. Gentleman, today or yesterday, received a Report from the Scottish Council condemning the plan for Scotland as it stands? If in the meanwhile, and while we are seeking to implement the provisions in the White Paper, the plan for South-East England is going ahead, clearly the comparative disadvantages for Scotland will increase.
§ Mr. Ross
The assumption in the South-East plan is that we are to do very little. Did the right hon Gentleman know about the plan? If he knew about it, has he made any representations? Is he aware that there is an implicit slur on his Department and its ability to deal with the Scottish problem when provision is made here in the South-East for the reception of a million people in the future, many from Scotland?