HC Deb 18 June 1964 vol 696 cc1462-3
13. Mr. Bence

asked the Secretary of State for Industry, Trade and Regional Development what steps he is taking to speed up industrial development in the Twechar and Croy area of Dunbartonshire.

Mr. Heath

Twechar and Croy form part of the natural catchment area for the new town of Cumbernauld, which has been designated a growth area in the White Paper on Central Scotland. I am continuing to make full use of my powers under the Local Employment Acts to attract new industry to the area. Already 1,700 jobs are in prospect there.

Mr. Bence

This is a matter which affects two villages and the town of Kilsyth in West Sterling. Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that these two villages may well decay unless some local industry is stimulated? It is not sufficient to suggest that new industries will be provided in Cumbernauld, because that area is for Glasgow's overspill. We must have new industries to save this triangle of Croy, Twechar and Kilsyth. Will the right hon. Gentleman take steps to bring new industries to this area where all the collieries are being closed?

Mr. Heath

The object of attracting industrial growth to this area was to provide employment around the area as a whole. We must now concentrate on doing that.

Mr. Rankin

While accepting to some extent what the right hon. Gentleman said, may I ask whether it is not the case that Cumbernauld is now very far behind schedule? Can the right hon. Gentleman say what is being done to bring it up to schedule?

Mr. Heath

My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Scotland is pressing on with Cumbernauld as hard as he can.

Mr. W. Baxter

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that this triangle of Croy, Twechar and Kilsyth has lost its main industry, namely, coal mining? There is now very little or no industry within it. Is there any possibility of the right hon. Gentleman providing an advance factory in that area so as to encourage some industrialists to go there? We recognise the magnitude of the problem facing the right hon. Gentleman, but anybody looking at this problem in an unbiassed way must come to the conclusion that there is a grave need for some new industries to come to this area.

Mr. Heath

I know about the pit closures. I understand that the majority of miners are being redeployed and that long-term redundancies are not expected to exceed 125, but we must concentrate on the growth areas to create a centre of industry which will provide employment for these areas.