§ 24. Mr. Buchanan-Smith
asked the President of the Board of Trade if he is satisfied with the working of the Local Employment Act, in relation to migration of population in Scotland; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Darling
The Local Employment Acts are designed to promote employment in places of high and persistent unemployment, not to deal with problems of migration. Nevertheless, the provision of employment in these places helps to lessen outward migration.
§ Mr. Buchanan-Smith
Would not the Minister of State agree that areas such as the North-East, the east of Scotland, and the Border suffer tremendously from migration and find it very difficult to maintain existing industry, let alone attract new industry? Would he not consider, in implementing certain promises made during the election, including migration as a criterion for designation as a development district?
§ Mr. William Hamilton
Is it not a fact that one of the great defects of the Local Employment Acts was precisely that depopulation was not accepted as a criterion by the then Government, although we on this side tabled Amendments designed to secure this?
§ Mr. Barber
Will the Minister of State also agree with the point made the other day by Mr. George Chetwynd that one consequence of the changes in company taxation will be that investment in development districts is less attractive than it has been hitherto?
§ Mr. Darling
There are differences of opinion a bout this and I understand that the matter will be discussed in the House before long.
§ Mr. Hector Hughes
Does the Minister of State realise that these Acts are not really effective for the purpose for which 614 they were designed? In particular, they are not stopping the drift south of craftsmen from the north-east of Scotland. Will he have a look at it from this point of view, with a view to stopping that drift south?
§ Mr. Bruce-Gardyne
Is the Minister of State aware that one of the problems in areas which may suffer from depopulation is that they are unable to attract new and vital labour because of shortage of housing induced by the Government's monetary policy? Will he urge his right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Scotland to help in this matter?