HC Deb 18 June 1964 vol 696 cc1454-5
5. Mr. N. McLean

asked the Secretary of State for Industry, Trade and Regional Development what amount is now being advanced by the Government on loan and on remittance of interest on the loan, respectively, in respect of the pulp and paper mill project at Fort William.

Mr. Heath

The total sum to be advanced in respect of the first phase of the project is expected to be £8 million. Grants in respect of interest are expected to amount to some £1,200,000. If the firm decided to proceed with the second phase of the project, the Government are prepared to consider advancing a further sum not exceeding £2 million if the need for this is established.

Mr. McLean

In view of the very large sums of Government money which, together with private enterprise, will play a tremendous rôle in the northwest of Scotland, will my right hon. Friend bear in mind that communications with and access to this great project are extremely important, and will he give an assurance that in connection with any proposals for cutting down railway services or in connection with spending money on inadequate roads he will consult the Secretary of State for Scotland and other Ministers?

Mr. Heath

Yes, Sir. I shall be in the closest touch with the Secretary of State for Scotland and the Minister of Transport.

Mr. Emrys Hughes

Can we take it that the firm has definitely not refused the £8 million in protest at recent speeches by the Leader of the Opposition?

Mr. Heath

I understand that the project is going ahead. Perhaps those concerned have not read the speeches of the Leader of the Opposition.

Mr. Proudfoot

Is my right hon. Friend convinced that the project will be viable, and how has the paper industry in Scotland fared since tariffs have been lowered by E.F.T.A.?

Mr. Heath

I have great confidence in the project. The paper industry has been able to maintain its own position even with the acceleration of the lowering of the tariffs on paper. We are in the closest touch with our E.F.T.A. partners about this and no problem arises.