HC Deb 06 February 1964 vol 688 cc1330-1
21. Mr. W. Baxter

asked the Secretary of State for Industry, Trade and Regional Development what actior he proposes to take to bring industry to the Bannockburn, Plean, Cowie and Fallin areas of West Stirlingshire.

Mr. Heath

In steering new industry I must give priority to development districts. But in this area I shall give sympathetic consideration to applications for industrial development certificates for projects which could not reasonably be undertaken in a development district.

Mr. Baxter

I thank the Minister for the Answer. May I point out that these areas are not under the ambit of the Local Employment Act notwithstanding the fact that there is no industry whatever in the four villages mentioned in my Question? Is he aware that they have been rebuilt at considerable cost by the county council to meet the requirement of the coal mining industry but that, unfortunately for them and for the Stirling County Council, the coal mining industry has ceased to exist? Would the Minister seriously consider putting these areas under the ambit of the Local Employment Act so that they may get an advantage, if there is an advantage, in the future?

Mr. Heath

Again, the unemployment rate is lower than the rates in development districts. It is 3.1 per cent. I have said that I will consider sympathetically the provision of I.D.C.s for firms which want to go into the area. But I cannot give an undertaking to include it in a development district.

Sir J. Duncan

Will my right hon. Friend reconsider his Answer, in view of the fact that Scotland should be treated as a whole and an I.D.C. issued to any firm which wishes to go to any part of the country?

Mr. Heath

I know of my hon. Friend's interest in this matter, but I would not go quite so far as him in saying that even in the congested areas of Scotland there should be I.D.C.s. We are pursuing a flexible policy in this regard.