HC Deb 26 July 1965 vol 717 cc34-161

3.38 p.m.

Mr. Michael Noble (Argyll)

I beg to move, That Class III, Vote 2 (Scottish Home and Health Department), be reduced by £8,000.

This debate takes place once a year and is the annual stocktaking of Scotland's trading and industrial position. This year, once again, we have not yet had the Report prepared by the Secretary of State, "Development and Growth in Scotland," which gives us all the necessary statistics about the up-to-date position in our country. I can remember that last year the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State made a good deal of play about the dilatoriness of the Scottish Office in providing this basic information for our debate. I hope that this year he is not intending to criticise himself.

I am bound to admit that I find it a good deal more difficult to realise why the White Paper has not been before the House of Commons, because from all the evidence that we have seen the picture in Scotland has not been one of great "busy-ness". I am only hoping that the Secretary of State has not decided not to issue one, on the ground that this year it might be a nil report. Today, therefore, the Committee has to rely very largely on the White Paper Cmnd 2440, which is the most up-to-date information we have. Last year, this Paper reported that investments, employment, unemployment, production, were all going in the right direction. In the same section there was a warning which was that there could be no relaxation of effort to maintain the momentum that was being achieved.

What is the picture today? We have no reports on which to base our arguments. We have very few statistics and only a modicum of the usual, and I say usual advisedly, complacent speeches from the Prime Minister and the Secretary of State. It is significant that already in mid-summer, unemployment in the United Kingdom has turned up upwards. I do not want to make too much of this with regard to Scotland, because as the Secretary of State, and I am sure the President of the Board of Trade, know very well, our school-leaving date is earlier in Scotland.

It is normal for the July figures in Scotland to be misleading, at least for comparative purposes. But it is, none the less, disappointing that the rest of the United Kingdom should be affected in this way, because over many years we have observed that when England starts to do badly Scotland is apt to catch up, and take much longer to recover.

At the weekend—and I have only the authority of the Press and the B.B.C. for this—the Prime Minister referred to a statement which was to be made in the House, perhaps this week, which would indicate that public spending would have to be cut. What I want to impress on the Secretary of State is that it will be his task to see that if cuts in public expenditure have to be made they will not apply to Scotland. I hope that he will be able to give the Committee that assurance this afternoon. Last year, civil public investment in Scotland showed an increase of 20 per cent. Probably all hon. Members will agree that that increase was fully justified, because of the particularly difficult position in which Scotland had been for some time.

The Committee does not need me to remind it that last year, week by week and month by month, new announcements of projects of one sort and another were made, bringing heartening and comforting news to the people of Scotland. Some came from industry. However much they sometimes want to, Governments cannot claim full credit for this. Nevertheless, many of those projects concerned matters over which the Government have complete control—housing, roads, technical colleges, teacher training establishments, universities, schemes for retraining men who are to become redundant, great bridges, new power stations, and water works—all this great panoply of public expenditure which is required to sustain and increase the flood of new inquiries and developments that are weekly coming to Scotland.

For the first time for many years confidence had really been established that the Government meant business, and industrialists at home—in both Scotland and England—and from overseas were all joining in the queue, so that whatever else the present Secretary of State inherited in October last year it was not a picture of a declining Scotland.

Before I consider some of the interesting points which came from last year's debate I want to ask the Secretary of State a few questions on specific matters, because we have had no up-to-date information from his Department. We had arranged for the Erskine Bridge to be our next priority big river crossing in Scotland. I hope that the right hon. Gentleman can tell us today when it will start, and what he considers the cost will be. Then there is the problem of the hydro-electric schemes. The report on these was in St. Andrew's House in the week immediately before the election. The Secretary of State has told the House that it was a very long and extremely complicated Report. I take his word for it, because I did not see it.

The time has come when the right hon. Gentleman must make up his mind whether to say "Yes" or "No" to the Report. We are left imagining that it must have come down against these schemes as a whole, because if it had come down in favour of them the Secretary of State is on record on many occasions in the past as having pleaded that they should go on. But whether the Report was in favour or against, the Committee deserves an answer from the right hon. Gentleman.

Then there was the problem of the new town growth area round Irvine. This, also, was announced as a project to be discussed with the local authorities concerned well before the last election. It is important for that area to know where it stands and what the plans are. There are three other items on which I should like some information, since they involve construction. I refer to housing, school and technical college building, and hospital plans. The Secretary of State has told us that he was aiming at a total of 40,000 completed houses this year. We should be given the most up-to-date estimate whether this target will be achieved.

We have heard a great deal about the necessity for more school and technical college building, and for extra hospitals, We should be told what the Secretaary of State's thinking is about these matters today. Then—almost as important—there is the question of training centres. A certain number of places were to be provided by the middle of this year. My recollection is that the number was about 1,700. I hope that the Secretary of State or the President of the Board of Trade will be able to tell us whether these places are now ready and are being fully used.

Lastly, in this category, can the Secretary of State tell the Committee what information he has from Lord Robens about the likely run-down in the coal industry? Year after year one of Scotland's consistent problems has been not only getting new jobs to come to Scotland, but anticipating the position in the industries which were naturally running down. Over and over again we have been told that reviews were being carried out to see what should be done. We have had no answers this year, and it is right that we should have some today, because we have been patient and have not tried to harry the Secretary of State during a period when he has obviously had to do a certain amount of rethinking.

As we have no statistical paper on which to judge the various points that we should make I have made an analysis of the debate that we had at the same time last year, and of the speeches made by hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite. You will recall, Dr. King, that that debate was on 21st July, and was the last of the Supply debates. At that time, after 13 years in opposition, the Labour Party was poised and ready to take over the Government. It is, therefore, right that at this moment in history the Committee should study with special care its ideas.

Before coming to the main argument I want to deal with two rather personal matters of which the Secretary of State was particularly pleased to make fun. The first concerned my visit to America and the second my visit to Moscow. The right hon. Gentleman will remember his splendid phrase, "Have kilt, will travel." My point of view—and it may well be shared by right hon. Gentlemen opposite, including the President of the Board of Trade—is that anything which will help to create the right atmosphere for bringing new jobs to Scotland is an advantage.

Although I would certainly not claim that by going to America I was able automatically to wave a wand and bring a lot of new jobs to Scotland from that country, I was able to meet a good many big American industrialists and talk to them on a person-to-person basis. All that I would wish to put on record is the fact that the Scottish Council subsequently said that that had been its best single industrial visit. The Secretary of State was very fond of quoting the Scottish Council when and if it was critical of the Tory Administration. Perhaps he will accept it from the Council that this was a most successful visit.

May I say a word about the Moscow visit? A few years ago I was Chairman of the Livestock Export Group. At that time, our total export of livestock to the world outside Britain was about £250,000. This past year it was raised to nearly three times that figure, and this year, with luck, it should be over £1 million. A great deal of that extra has come from countries behind the Iron Curtain who were represented at the exhibition. Looking back, I feel that though the Secretary of State thought that this was just a gimmick, it did a certain amount of good—I will not claim more than that—and that it certainly helped in the basic factor of letting industry, agricultural or manufacturing industry, know that politicians are sufficiently interested in its export activities to take the trouble to go to see for themselves the problems which arise.

May I come to the points made during last year's debate? The Secretary of State opened it. I hope that I am not spoiling his speech, for he may intend to say the same thing today all over again. He may remember that the first thing which he deeply regretted was that the Board of Trade was taking part in the debate. I seem to assume that the Board of Trade will take part in our debate today. He referred to what would happen to proud Edward. There is a proud Douglas, too, and we shall see what may happen to him. He made a Bannockburn reference.

The second point was to stress very strongly—and in this he was supported by the right hon. Member for Hamilton (Mr. Tom Fraser) who was the shadow Minister of Power—that the Government must see that the experimental station at Dounreay was continued and, if possible, extended. When I left office a decision was expected about the future of Dounreay about March or April this year. We have heard nothing whatever about it either from the right hon. Member for Hamilton or from the Secretary of State.

The right hon. Member said that he would shut Dr. Beeching's casebook. One or two of my hon. Friends have found that Dr. Beeching's casebook is not being shut and that lines in their constituency which the Labour candidate during the Election promised would be kept open have in fact been shut down.

The right hon. Member moved to air transport and talked to us about the importance of a flight to Dundee and improvements at Prestwick. We have had no signs of either of those. The Secretary of State can tell us at any time he likes about his new flight to Dundee.

The next point, which was picked up by several right hon. and hon. Members, was the absolute necessity of getting research and experimental units to Scotland. The right hon. Member for Orkney and Shetland (Mr. Grimond) made this point, as did the hon. Member for West Fife (Mr. William Hamilton), who seems to have left the Chamber.

Mr. Tam Dalyell (West Lothian)

Is not the right hon. Gentleman impressed by the fact that the Government have concentrated all the computer-aided design research and numerical control research at East Kilbride as a major policy decision?

Mr. Noble

I am always impressed. Indeed, month by month I have become more and more amazed that the Government do nothing for Scotland. I certainly do not want to take a small bit of credit away from them, but I will come to that intervention in a moment.

As far as I know, there is one major research which is footloose, to use the industrial expression, and that is called the Natural Environmental Research Council. This Council is not yet in existence. Anybody who has had any experience of trying to move scientific bodies from one place to another knows the considerable difficulties which attend this process. But when there is a completely new council to be set up, when it is one which in almost any unbiased view could work very well from Scotland, which has a considerable number of natural resources which could be developed then it is a body which I should have thought the Secretary of State might have been able to induce in the right direction.

The hon. Member for West Lothian (Mr. Dalyell), who was not lucky enough to make a speech, made an intervention during the debate and said that any action which the Government could possibly take to bring a new motor industry to Scotland would be of the very greatest benefit. Hon. Members on both sides of the Committee would agree with him about that. I am not blaming the Government for not having picked up a motor industry or for not having started a motor industry of their own, as perhaps the hon. Member for Fife, West would have liked them to do, but all the actions which the Government have taken over the last six months have been basically against the motor industry—increased petrol duty, increased licences, and the credit squeeze. It is no particular wonder that the motor industry is not as expansion minded at the moment as it was at this time last year.

The hon. Member for Glasgow, Central (Mr. McInnes), who I do not see at the moment, asked me or my right hon. Friend why it was that the Queenslie Industrial Estate, which he said had been offered by Glasgow Corporation to the Government for nothing, had been turned down. My right hon. Friend pointed out to him that it had not been offered for nothing, but had been offered for sale. But whether it was for nothing or for sale, the Glasgow Corporation is broadly of the same political view as the present Secretary of State, and I should have thought that if this were a good venture he would have proceeded with it.

I hope that the right hon. Member for Orkney and Shetland will not feel that I am doing him an injustice in including some of the excellent points which he made as though it were an Opposition speech. He voted for the Opposition last time and he asked a few questions, too. He asked for a United Nations agency to be settled in Scotland. He asked for a differential tax system to be introduced which would bring extra business and more industrialists to Scotland because of the advantages of going there. Neither of these has happened. He asked that better internal air routes should be considered. We listen to him in this respect very carefully because we know how dependent he is in his far-flung constituency on air communications. As far as I know, the Highland Transport Board was preparing a report on all the internal air services in Scotland. I hope that it has been given to the Secretary of State, but, if so, he has failed to tell us anything whatever about it.

The right hon. Gentleman asked that at least the headquarters of the Forestry Commission should be moved to Scotland. I have heard that in another place one of the Joint Under-Secretaries stated that this was a decision taken by the last Government, but he is not entirely accurate because the decision was that a small part of the headquarters and the English directorate should go to Basingstoke. Since then the whole organisation of the Forestry Commission has been changed. The power of direction seems to have been brought considerably more down to Whitehall than it was in the past, although we do not know all about it.

The Secretary of State might persuade his colleagues to move the entire head- quarters for this operation to somewhere in Scotland. That would mean that the bulk of the timber growing areas would be nearby and the members of the Commission would know more about what goes on in Scotland. The right hon. Member for Orkney and Shetland asked for a Scottish Office with more power and—[Interruption.]

The Chairman

Order. The right hon. Gentleman on the Front Bench must behave himself.

Mr. Noble

Thank you for protecting me, Dr. King.

The right hon. Member for Orkney and Shetland asked the Committee on that occasion for a Scottish Office with more power and more guts. I wonder whether he thinks that he has got that.

Next in the debate the hon. Member for Fife, West, who is always very active in such debates and often has independent and interesting ideas to adduce—

Mr. J. Grimond (Orkney and Shetland)

Before the right hon. Gentleman moves on to the hon. Member for Fife, West (Mr. William Hamilton), do I understand from what he is saying that he is adopting the points which I made last year? If so, why did he not succeed in putting them into practice when he was in office?

Mr. Noble

That is a perfectly fair point. A great many things were not done when I was in office—and that goes for my predecessors—but if one compares what we did in our last two years of office with what has been done in the past year one can see why I am prepared to stand such a comparison any day.

I come to the hon. Member for Fife, West, and he gets the oscar. Out of all the speeches and ideas that were produced in the last debate by hon. Gentlemen opposite, he was the only one who made a suggestion which the Government have implemented. He deserves the congratulations of the Committee for his foresight, because he said that office building in London should be controlled. That has been done and, his suggestion having been accepted, we must congratulate him. However, he has not been so successful in some of his other major suggestions—apart from those I mentioned earlier—because he also suggested that we needed publicly-owned drug companies in Scotland. Such enterprises may be coming along, but they have not been established yet.

As always, we had an interesting debating speech from the hon. Member for Greenock (Dr. Dickson Mabon) and today we pay particular attention to what he said because he is now an Under-Secretary of State. He is the head of the Scottish Development Department, which, more than any other Department in St. Andrew's House, is responsible for some of the things which we are discussing today. What was it that he wanted last year? The first things he wanted were more advance factories, and—

Mr. Hector Hughes (Aberdeen, North)

On a point of order. Is not this part, indeed, the whole, of the right hon. Gentleman's speech out of order? Is it not merely a recital of what was said in a previous debate? Surely the right hon. Gentleman should, on an occasion like this, say something original instead of merely repeating what was said in a previous debate?

The Chairman

The hon. and learned Gentleman has not understood the whole of the right hon. Gentleman's speech, which is quite in order.

Mr. Hector Hughes

Further to that point of order. Bearing in mind the doctrine of not indulging in tedious repetition in Parliament, Dr. King, is not the right hon. Gentleman merely reciting what was said in a previous debate instead of contributing something constructive, which is needed on an occasion such as this?

The Chairman

The hon. and learned Gentleman is himself tediously repeating his point of order, on which I have already ruled that nothing in the right hon. Gentleman's speech is out of order so far.

Mr. Noble

I am grateful to you, Dr. King. I assure the hon. and learned Member for Aberdeen, North (Mr. Hector Hughes) that he need have no fears on this score because he did not take part in the debate last year. It was to avoid tedious repetition that I analysed the debate very carefully so as not to repeat more than once the arguments which were adduced on that occasion by several hon. Gentlemen opposite.

As I was saying, the present Under-Secretary—the hon. Member for Greenock—wanted more advance factories; and I will return to that later. He also felt strongly that derelict land should be cleared more quickly and that a Bill should be introduced to make that possible. I think that he would now agree, although he has left the Chamber, that my hon. Friends and I have been most co-operative in the Scottish Grand Committee and that if he had wanted to introduce a small Bill to "clear up some definitions," as he put it, that would have been possible.

The hon. Gentleman waxed furious about the failure of the Government to provide a nuclear ship. No nuclear ship yet. He went on to make the rather rash forecast that the Clyde would be more or less without orders after May. I am glad to say that that is not so and I agree that some credit—not all, but certainly some; I am anxious to be fair—for that must go to the present Secretary of State.

The hon. Member for Greenock asked for the establishment of new docks at Leith. That was done before the last election. He also asked for large-scale investment to solve the problem of the Clyde docks. John Brown's recently made a suggestion for a completely new type of dock on the Clyde. Perhaps the Secretary of State will say whether he approves such a scheme in principle, if not in detail.

The hon. Member for Greenock went a little further when it came somewhat nearer the election and, in his election address, a copy of which I have with me, he was quite certain. He said: Labour will construct large modern advance factory premises on the vacant 22 acres at the Port Glasgow Industrial Estate". The Secretary of State has given us a few advance factories in the last year, but they have all been in the central belt. There was not very much imagination about that. He left out practically the only one which his hon. Friend said that Labour would establish. Greenock and the whole of Scotland would become a growth area, the hon. Member for Greenock said in his election address. Would the Secretary of State say whether the Government have abandoned the growth area concept? If so, should not they have said so?

Lastly, the hon. Member for Greenock said in that address that the Labour Party would enlarge the projected industrial training centre to train young, unskilled and retrain redundant skilled men for new jobs. A site for this training centre was picked many months ago but, as far as I am aware, not one brick stands upon the other there. That, again, is something which has been promised on behalf of the Labour Party. It was a perfectly easy thing to continue, but it has not been done.

Then, as always, we had an interesting speech from the hon. Member for West Stirlingshire (Mr. W. Baxter). He is a businessman with some knowledge of business and industry and also of farming. He asked that the standard of living in Scotland—and he compared it with other countries—should be greatly increased. He knows as well as I do that the actions of the present Government, particularly concerning the cost of living, have hit Scotland probably harder than any other part of the British Isles.

The hon. Gentleman told the Committee that the agricultural policy followed by the former Labour Administration had brought about security for the farming community. Since he wanders around in farming circles as I do, would he now say that they are feeling particularly secure as the result of the last February Price Review?

The hon. Member for West Stirlingshire then said that it was a disgrace—and the word "disgrace" was banded about freely by hon. Gentlemen opposite not long ago—that we were paying a higher price for coal in Scotland than in England. Has the Secretary of State changed that? The hon. Gentleman's last plea, no doubt from the heart, was, "Do not alter hon. Members' salaries. Alter the procedure". What has happened?

I am getting, no doubt to the comfort of many hon. Friends opposite, towards the end of my analysis of last year's debate. The right hon. Member for Hamilton wound up that debate, but in a fairly long speech, apart from the specific request for more action at Dounreay, did not have time to specify any of the things he wanted for Scotland. He might have done the hon. Member for Fife, West out of the oscar if he had, but perhaps, in view of the other speeches, he was lucky that he did not.

The right hon. Member also put forward the perfectly fair statement that it was the duty of the Opposition to oppose, and to oppose fiercely, if they thought that the Government were not doing their duty for Scotland. He made one interesting observation, which I hope that the Secretary of State will bear in mind. He said: Time and again we have been told that everything will be all right tomorrow."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 21st July, 1965; Vol. 699, c. 379.] I have a feeling that this will be the theme of the right hon. Gentleman's speech, because we have had nothing so far. I am sure that we shall be told that it will be jam tomorrow, but not jam today.

All these speeches were united in one thing: They wanted a Socialist Government, and they wanted a Socialist Secretary of State for Scotland. Well, they have got him. Are they proud of him? [HON. MEMBERS: "Yes."] Is the right hon. Gentleman proud of himself? But there are two other Scottish members of the Cabinet, and I think that they must bear some of the blame for the fact that practically nothing has come Scotland's way this year. In last year's debate, the present Secretary of State for Scotland referred to himself as a humble peasant. I have never thought of him as a peasant and, certainly while he was in opposition, I never thought of him as humble. Perhaps the situation has changed now that he has so much to be humble about.—[An HON. MEMBER: "That is not original."]—I know that it was not original, but was made of another Socialist leader. A statement was once made from an epitaph on a Roman emperor "Omnium consensu capax imperii nisi imperasset". As there are so many schoolmasters sitting opposite, I know that I do not need to translate that—

The Chairman

Order. I have to protect the interests of every hon. Member. Not every hon. Member is a schoolmaster; perhaps the right hon. Gentleman will translate that saying.

Mr. Noble

I was dazzled by the range of schoolmasters opposite, Dr. King, and thought that perhaps I could get away with your indulgence. However, if I might translate it freely, it would be, "By everyone's consent he was capable of being an emperor if only he never become emperor".

The Secretary of State, over the last year, has disillusioned his friends, he has made fools of his party supporters, and, what to my mind is much more important, he has failed Scotland. For this reason, Dr. King, you may have noticed that we wish to reduce the Vote by the total amount of the right hon. Gentleman's salary.

4.15 p.m.

The President of the Board of Trade (Mr. Douglas Jay)

One of the interesting pieces of evidence that this debate affords is how very few Conservative Members of Parliament for Scotland are now left in this House at all. My own expectation is that after the next General Election there will be none, although I am willing to concede that there will probably be quite a number of Liberals.

The right hon. Member for Argyll (Mr. Noble) was very critical of the administration of the Board of Trade in the Government of which he was a member. I can assure him that it is a very different Board of Trade now. I have always argued in this House that the most practical way of getting the industry and employment that we all want into Scotland—and, of course, into other under-employed areas—is as follows: first, to pursue an economic policy over the whole economy which permits expansion and full employment; second, to restrict excessive factory and office extensions in the congested areas of the South and Midlands; and, third, to steer the new industrial projects coming forward vigorously and persistently towards the under-employed areas. That is the policy pursued for the last nine months, and I claim that it is already showing solid results.

We have since last October tightened the industrial development certificate control of factory building in the South-East and the Midlands. We have introduced, as the right hon. Gentleman admitted, an entirely new office control which, although not yet law, has restricted new office building in the London metropolitan region since last November. We have launched a new programme of 29 advance factories, of which nine are in Scotland, and we have added to the already large areas scheduled in Scotland as development districts. By a far-reaching improvement of export credit facilities, which the night hon. Gentleman also acknowledged, we have also revived the shipbuilding industry with a flow of new export orders which have specially benefited Scotland.

In all these efforts, a very large share of our attention has gone to coalmining areas in development districts because of the problem of the continuing decline of employment in that industry. Indeed, 15 out of the 29 new advance factories which we launched last winter in Great Britain as a whole have been located in coalmining areas.

As a result of all these policies, unemployment in Scotland has fallen in recent months to the lowest level for many years. The right hon. Gentleman quoted at some length the debate we had in the House a year ago but, throughout the whole of his speech he did not mention any unemployment figures. The July unemployment figure for Scotland as a whole of 2.6 per cent., or 57,678, is the lowest July figure since 1957. It compares with 3.3 per cent. in July 1964, 4.3 per cent. in July 1963, and 5.3 per cent. in February, 1963, which is only two and a half years ago.

Mr. Noble

I know that the right hon. Gentleman wants to be fair and to give credit where it is due, as I did. I am sure that he will agree that before unemployment figures can start to be reduced the factories, and so on, have to be built, and he will, I think, agree that the bulk of extra employment given this year was directly and absolutely due to the fact that the previous Government had stimulated industry to come to Scotland. The results of anything which the right hon. Gentleman himself may do will come next year or the year after, but not this year.

Mr. Jay

For the moment I am giving not credit, but facts, and the Committee can judge for itself. If the right hon. Gentleman thinks that the policy pursued over the last nine months has nothing to do with the present situation, he has a lot to learn about these matters.

For development districts in Scotland the total unemployment figure in July this year was down to 3.3 per cent., compared with 4.1 per cent. in July, 1964 and 5.3 per cent. in July, 1963. One can also trace in the figures promising evidence that concentration in the past year on the under-employed regions is beginning to affect the geographical unbalance throughout the country.

Unemployment in Scotland over the last 12 months has shown a bigger drop than in Great Britain as a whole. In Great Britain as a whole the total has fallen between July, 1964, and July, 1965, from 1.4 per cent. to 1.2 per cent. In Scotland as a whole it was down from 3.4 per cent. to 2.6 per cent., and in the Scottish development districts from 4.1 per cent. to 3.3 per cent. That seems to show that a real distribution of industry policy, when it is vigorously enough pursued, begins to work. Production in Scotland in the first quarter of 1965 was 7 per cent. above the same quarter of 1964. That is a faster increase than in Great Britain as a whole.

The improvement has been particularly striking in some of the previously worst hit Scottish areas. In Shotts, for instance, he drop was from 5.2 per cent. in July, 1964, to 2.9 per cent. in July, 1965. In Greenock, it was from 8 per cent. to 3.3 per cent.; in Dumbarton, from 5.6 per cent. to 3.8 per cent.; and in Cumnock, from 5.7 per cent. to 3.7 per cent.

Mr. Noble

I know the right hon. Gentleman is giving us facts, but will he tell us what his Government have done in Shotts in Greenock, Cumnock, or anywhere else to bring about these figures?

Mr. Jay

I am coming to that. I thought that it would be more interesting, if perhaps illogical, to give the results first and then to explain how this has been done. I am sorry to have to quote so many figures, but after the speech of the right hon. Member facts and figures may be more eloquent than words.

In the Glasgow group as a whole unemployment in July is as low as 2.9 per cent., in North Lanarkshire 3.2 per cent., in Dundee 2.3 per cent. and in Aberdeen 1.9 per cent.

Mr. Hector Hughes

I was waiting for that.

Mr. Jay

I congratulate my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Aberdeen, North (Mr. Hector Hughes) on what he has done to incite us to get the figures down to that very low level.

The very slight rise in unemployment in July compared with June this year is largely accounted for by the influx of school leavers. The rise in wholly unemployed in Scotland as a whole was 2,972 and 2,791 summer school leavers came on to the register.

That is the present situation. The right hon. Member asked about new projects and I come to those. A large number of new industrial projects and developments are coming forward which I believe hold promise for the future as well as for the present. During the last nine months, apart from granting industrial development certificates freely throughout Scotland, we in the Board of Trade have been building new advance and other Government-owned factories, launching new industrial estates and going forward with the purchase of land in Board of Trade ownership so as to be well prepared for further developments in future.

By the tougher I.D.C. policy in the South and Midlands—which will now be intensified and which the previous Government refused to do—by the lowering of the I.D.C. exemption limit to 1,000 sq. ft. instead of 5,000 sq. ft. in the South-East and the Midlands the number of expansion schemes coming forward has been increased. During the nine months, October, 1964, to June, 1965, 191 industrial development certificates were issued in Scotland. That was the highest number of approvals ever recorded in Scotland in the October-June period. These covered another 6.9 million sq. ft. of factory space, also a record amount for the nine months' period.

These totals compare with 159 I.D.C.s and 4.5 million sq. ft. in the same nine-month period, October, 1963, to June, 1964, and 128 I.D.C.s and 3.3 million sq. ft. for October, 1962, to June, 1963. If the right hon. Member for Argyll is to argue that everything happening now is due to what was done in the past he has to explain why the total of certificates approved in the last nine months is double what it was a year ago.

Mr. T. G. D. Galbraith (Glasgow, Hillhead)

I wish to ask the right hon. Gentleman a question. He has not answered my right hon. Friend's question, but is referring to I.D.C.s approved and not to factories built as a result of the Government's policy. What my right hon. Friend the Member for Argyll (Mr. Noble) said was that the reduction in the rate of unemployment was due to the former Government's policy. The right hon. Gentleman has not succeeded in disproving that. Can he say anything that he and his Government have done to reduce the rate of unemployment?

Mr. Jay

Strangely enough, the I.D.C.s have to be approved before factories are built. I have shown that I.D.C. approvals have greatly increased in the last nine months and unemployment has been reduced. I will tell the Committee what has happened about advance factories, but, first, I tell the Committee that I.D.C. approvals in the period October, 1964, to June, 1965, covered factories which will employ 8,400 men and 5,900 women. This brings the total of new jobs—I do not use the term "pipeline" because I think it best to say exactly what we mean—the total of new jobs which can be foreseen from schemes actually going forward in Scotland to 54,000.

In view of what the hon. Member for Glasgow, Hillhead (Mr. Galbraith) said, I should explain that that excludes employment in advance factories being built for the Board of Trade or for the new town corporations. I do not want, as the right hon. Member suggested, merely to say that everything will be all right in the future; I think it better to look at the whole problem objectively and realistically. Therefore, I remind the Committee that there are also contractions and closures to be expected which are harder to compute than the known expansions and the figures I have given are of gross increase in employment and not net.

Of the 12 advance factories which were uncompleted or unallocated in October, 1964, three—at Stranraer, Vale of Leven and Kilwinning—have since been let. One at Whitburn has been completed and sold and another at Peter-head has been allocated and should be occupied in September this year. The other seven are all being built and are expected to be ready between now and next spring.

The hon. Member for Hillhead asked what we have been doing; I will tell him. Of the nine further which I announced in November, seven are in coalmining areas. One at Blantyre, two at Queenslie and one at Bellshill are already building, and another three will start building in September, at Carluke, Cumnock and Port Glasgow. We are in the process of acquiring sites for the remaining two at Falkirk and Kilsyth.

Those are all Board of Trade advance factories. At the same time, the new town authorities in Scotland are also building advance factories and at this moment on a bigger scale than the Board of Trade. We in the Board of Trade, of course, work with the new town authorities to find tenants for their advance factories. The present new town building programme includes 23 new advance factories in Scotland, additional to the Board of Trade ones, with a total area of 287,000 sq. ft. and a further 25 factories are planned covering a total of over 250,000 sq. ft. So the total advance factory programme in Scotland now going forward by public authorities is very large indeed.

It may perhaps interest the Committee to know that the total number now employed in factories administered by the Industrial Estate Management Corporation for Scotland—that is, not including the new towns—is over 90,000. That is striking proof of where Scotland would be today if it were not for the industrial development planned and achieved by public enterprise.

We in the Board of Trade are also now acquiring land and constructing new estates for future development. I had the great pleasure, as one who was in at the birth of the Newhouse Estate in 1945, of launching operations at Bellshill last January. This estate will cover 112 acres. It will aim at a total labour force of about 5,000—which incidentally, Newhouse, which is still growing, has already achieved—and the first new factory at Bellshill is already building. I am sure this will be welcome to the hon. Member for Hillhead, because it has happened in the last few months.

Mr. Galbraith

It is quite clear that the right hon. Gentleman has not grasped the point I have tried to make. I am delighted to hear about these advance factories. The right hon. Gentleman is claiming that they have helped to reduce unemployment. He has not shown any action which his Government have taken which has helped to reduce unemployment. He is talking about the future. It is the past that we are interested in. What has happened between the time his Government took office and now? That is what he has not answered.

Mr. Jay

The hon. Gentleman seems to be unaware of certain very simple facts. One is that when a factory is being built people are employed to build it. Another is that people are not employed in it until it has been built. I am sure that when the hon. Gentleman has grasped those two facts he will better understand what is going on.

We have also acquired or are acquiring 54 acres of new land for estate development at Donibristle, 18 acres at Hillington, 21 acres at Blantyre, 18 acres at Chapelhall, and another 18 acres at Port Glasgow. Land is being bought on a third main site at Dundee which will comprise a new estate of over 50 acres. I am also glad to announce today that we have reached agreement in principle with the owners to purchase approximately 90 acres on the outskirts of Falkirk, and negotiations are also going on for other sites in several other parts of Scotland.

We have also been making grants to encourage private industrial development. Between 1st November, 1964, and 31st May, 1965, financial assistance offered totalled £7,654,913 for 279 projects promising nearly 5,000 jobs. Altogether today the total amount of public money invested by the Board of Trade in new factories, grants and loans in Scotland under the Local Employment Act since April, 1960, has reached £70,800,000. That, incidentally, is 48 per cent. of the total for the whole of Great Britain. Altogether—this is a tribute to public enterprise and what it has done for Scotland—the value of land and buildings publicly owned by the Board of Trade in Scotland through the Estate Management Corporation is now £23½ million.

A number of important individual projects are now going forward, of which the Committee may like to have some information.

Mr. Dalyell

Can my right hon. Friend tell us where these 90 acres outside Falkirk are? Does he have the information to hand?

Mr. Jay

I should be very glad to let my hon. Friend know, but I would not like to give him the exact site without notice. I assure him that this project is going forward.

I will mention a certain number of individual private projects. Associated Electrical Industries has just launched two major new projects in Glenrothes and Kirkcaldy. These should employ about 400 workers at Glenrothes and another 1,000 at Kirkcaldy. They will manufacture telephone equipment for the Post Office, and this is largely a new industry for Scotland. Burroughs Machines Ltd. is expanding at Cumbernauld and Strathleven and will provide another 700 jobs. British Hydrocarbon Chemicals at Grangemouth is investing another £8 million. Though, as is usual with the oil and petro-chemical industry, it will not employ very many more people, it will expand further the science-based petro-chemical industry in central Scotland. At Bellshill, which I mentioned, the first new factory has been let to Watson and Maclean, which will employ 130 workers on chain making.

I could mention many other new projects which will employ substantial numbers—Hewlett-Packard, at South Queensferry, making electronic instruments, which is expanding; Yale and Towne, hardware at Livingston; Polaroid Photographic Production, in the Vale of Leven; a clothing firm in the Vale of Leven; Rolls-Royce, in a further expansion at Hillington; Elliott Bros., on micro-electronics at Glenrothes; Timex, which makes watches and camera parts, at Dundee; and North British Rubber, at Newbridge. Chemstrand, a subsidiary of Monsanto's, expects to employ large numbers before long on nylon yarn at its 350,000 sq. ft. factory at Dundonald, Ayrshire. I.C.I. plans a major expansion at Dumfries, as does the Weir Housing Corporation at Coatbridge.

I hope also to be able to announce before long a further expansion in the chemical industry in Scotland. Meanwhile, the Leyland Motor Company, one of the most enterprising and successful exporters in the whole country, is steadily expanding its Albion Motors Plant at Scotstoun and hopes to extend its expansion plans to Dunbarton before too long.

At the same time, the prospects for the shipbuilding industry look brighter than for several years past.

Sir William Anstruther-Gray (Berwick and East Lothian)

In the catalogue of new projects which the President of the Board of Trade has given us, I have not heard my two counties of Berwickshire and East Lothian mentioned. I hope that the right hon. Gentleman will bear in mind that depopulation is a problem every bit as important as unemployment.

Mr. Jay

I am very glad to explain to the right hon. Gentleman that the catalogue I am giving is far from exclusive. There are other schemes going forward in addition to the major ones which I have mentioned this afternoon.

Mr. Hector Hughes

Before my right hon. Friend leaves this very impressive catalogue of new factories and expansion, will he say what he is doing to expand the excellent tool industry in Scotland? He is aware that I have frequently asked that the Dounreay experimental station, which is purely experimental, should have annexed to it something of a productive character producing tools which could be exported. What is being done about that?

Mr. Jay

I agree with my hon. and learned Friend. All the facilities which we offer under the present law for development districts are available to this industry. I should be delighted to see developments such as my hon. and learned Friend suggests. I was referring to the shipbuilding industry. Not merely are the present Government advancing a substantial part of the money necessary for the building of the new "Queen" by John Brown, but the improved export facilities which I announced in January have led to a remarkable uprush in export orders for ships from British yards.

The right hon. Member for Argyll mentioned what one of my hon. Friends said a year ago about what could be done in the shipbuilding industry, and how right my hon. Friend was. The effect of this has been that in the United Kingdom as a whole orders for ships in the first half of 1965 were valued at £94 million, totalling 826,000 gross tons, of which 375,000 gross tons were for export.

Export orders in the first half of 1965 in the shipbuilding industry were over three times as high as in the whole of 1964, nearly double the level in 1963, and only slightly below the record level of 1957. That is, in Great Britain as a whole. In Scotland, new shipbuilding orders have also been encouragingly high. In tonnage, they amounted to 255,000 gross tons, the highest level reached for the first half of any year since 1957. Export orders in shipbuilding in Scotland were 72,000 gross tons, nearly three times the orders received in the whole of 1964, and the highest half year figures for many years.

The value of orders in hand and ships under construction in the United Kingdom industry at 30th June, 1965, have been estimated now at £333 million, of which the Scottish share is about £135 million, and I am delighted that our new export credit policies, which the previous Government said were impracticable, have produced such dramatic results. In addition, the Geddes Committee, which I set up last February to report on how the industry could be made even more efficient and competitive, is hoping to report early next year.

Meanwhile, the inflow of shipbuilding orders has been so great that in Scotland, together with the growth of new engineering industries in the Central Scotland industrial areas, a shortage of skilled labour has undoubtedly made itself felt in the shipyards. The right remedy for this, in my view, is not to damp down activity in the industry, but, instead, to banish restrictive practices on the one hand and, on the other, to get back men who have left the industry and to increase the intake of apprentices. I think that my hon. Friend from Clydebank, the Member for Dunbartonshire, East (Mr. Bence) will agree with me.

All this is under way. Arrangements for a gradual increase in flexibility in these matters and fuller use of skill are already being made in a number of individual yards in Scotland, as they are south of the Border. Scottish Members will be aware, for example, that arrangements for shipwrights and platers to work in teams have now been adopted in the John Brown yard. A similar arrangement is in force at Stephens' yard on the Clyde.

Mr. John Rankin (Glasgow, Govan)

This is the particular matter on which I wanted to touch. Can my right hon. Friend say whether it has become an accepted practice and a general practice in the Scottish shipyards?

Mr. Jay

It has, I understand, become the accepted practice in an increasing number of shipyards, but not yet throughout the whole of the industry, as I hope it will.

I hope that both sides of the industry, therefore, will not slacken their efforts to extend such agreements both in area and in industrial scope. Shipbuilding firms are also making every effort to attract back the men who have left the industries in the leaner years of the early 1960s, under hon. Gentlemen opposite. As to the longer term, the Shipbuilding Industry Training Board is preparing schemes of training for apprentices which will fit them for the modernised shipbuilding industry of the future.

Secondly, the Government are energetically expanding their training effort directed not just to shipbuilding but to industry as a whole. The right hon. Gentleman asked about this. There are now five fully operating training centres in Scotland, at Hillington, Motherwell, Dunbarton, Irvine and Dunfermline, with a capacity of 647 places for men in 15 different trades. There are further places for 108 apprentices sponsored for first year basic training. A further two new centres will be opened in September of this year at Queenslie and Port Glasgow estates, and existing centres will be enlarged and a new one provided in Edinburgh. This will bring the number of centres in Scotland to eight, with facilities for turning out 2,000 adult trainees per year.

In looking at the problem dispassionately, as I said, we must always remember that industrial contractions as well as expansions are bound to appear over any period. It has been known for some time, for instance, that I.C.I.'s factories at Linlithgow and Mossend are likely to run down. The Board of Trade, having this information, will help to find tenants when the time comes for the factories to be vacated in order to ensure that any loss of employment is as temporary as we can possibly make it. Again, as hon. Members know, Associated Chemicals has transferred its plant that was at Rutherglen to another development district outside Scotland, and here the Board of Trade, in association with the company and with a private developer, is making vigorous efforts to attract new interests to the area.

Further contraction must be expected in the coal industry. Board of Trade policy, as I have said, has been slanted during the past year towards steering new work into areas where coal closures are likely. I am now and have been for some time in close consultation with my right hon. Friend the Minister of Power and the National Coal Board to ascertain what future closures are likely, so that we can fashion our whole policy for scheduling development districts, for launching new industrial estates, for building new advance factories and for steering new expansions in accordance with these plans.

Perhaps I should apologise once more for inflicting so many facts and figures on the Committee, but we did not have very many from the right hon. Gentleman, and I think that facts and figures here are much more convincing than any amount of talk. In the past, we have had rather too much talk and not enough action. I have also this afternoon concentrated mainly on the industrial areas of Central Scotland and left it to my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State to speak of the other plans which come more directly within his responsibility.

In the months ahead, we must expect some seasonal rise in unemployment, despite all that has been done and is being done. In addition—and I say this because the right hon. Gentleman said that hon. Members had merely been told that everything would be fine in the future—we must never become complacent about the problem because, despite the success of recent months, the nature of the problem, I am convinced, is that, as soon as one relaxes, the evil forces of under-employment, neglect and emigration will set in once more. We must keep up the pressure, therefore, both for expansion in Scotland and for restraint in the South-East. The mistake in the past has been to relax too soon.

We cannot finally succeed in the full development of Scotland unless we build up the national export effort energetically enough to enable us to sustain the general expansion of the economy at the recent rates. The fact is that the very lowness of unemployment and the present high level of incomes are naturally tending to increase imports and making it easier for many British firms to sell at home rather than to export. This temptation must be countered if expansion is to continue. But I can assure the Committee—and here I answer what the right hon. Gentleman asked at one point in his speech—that if, to help exports, the Government feel it necessary to postpone the start of some capital development schemes in the country as a whole, the needs of the under-employed areas will be specially taken into account.

Nevertheless, given the necessary export performance, I am confident that with the help of the Scottish Economic Planning Council and the Scottish Economic Planning Board and the vigorous pursuit of the policies that I have described, it will be within our power to achieve a steady and balanced industrial development and mobilise, in time, all the manpower that Scotland has to offer into the nation's productive effort.

The Chairman

Before I call the next speaker, I would point out that it is evident that almost every Scottish Member wishes to take part in this important debate. Therefore, I would plead with hon. and right hon. Members to help their colleagues by keeping their speeches reasonably brief.

4.50 p.m.

Sir William Anstruther-Gray (Berwick and East Lothian)

In supporting the very welcome appeal which you have made to hon. Members, Dr. King, I should like to remind the Committee that in days gone by—before the war—there was a mutual arrangement, not more than just mutually agreed, whereby hon. Members did restrict themselves to shorter speeches in Scottish debates.

Just to appreciate what difference that would make in this afternoon's debate, I saw more than 20 hon. Members, I thought, anxious to make speeches. At about nine o'clock, I expect, the Front Bench winding-up speeches will begin. Thus we have a period of four hours, more or less. If we restrict ourselves to 10-minute speeches those four hours will allow 24 of us to contribute to the debate.

Mr. Rankin

On a point of order. Is that agreed? The right hon. Gentleman has made a most useful suggestion and I should like to ask you, Dr. King, whether or not we could accept the suggestion about 10-minute speeches.

The Chairman

It is not a point of order, but a matter of responding to the appeal which the right hon. Member makes from a wealth of experience.

Sir W. Anstruther-Gray

Thank you, very much, Dr. King.

Just to finish the point, if speeches are 20 minutes each, only 12 of us will be called, and if speeches should be as long as 30 minutes—and I seem to remember having heard the hon. Member for Glasgow, Govan (Mr. Rankin) himself on occasions speak for 30 minutes—then only four Members on either side of the Committee will have a chance to speak at all. I come, therefore, straightaway to my subject.

I wish to devote my remarks to my constituency in particular. I make no complaint of the right hon. Gentleman the President of the Board of Trade not having dealt with my problem, because the Secretary of State, I am sure, will be referring to it when he winds up the debate. It is, indeed, very largely a Scottish Office problem—but not entirely, because there are two sides to the Border. The north is infinitely more important, but there is a southern side of the Border, too, and Berwick-upon-Tweed itself is an English responsibility, and if Berwick-upon-Tweed is prosperous that means, of course, that the prosperity spreads up into Berwickshire.

The situation is that although in that part of the country we are not faced with unemployment we are faced with depopulation, and we have not been given—both Governments must accept responsibility for this—the encouragement which we require to remedy that state of affairs. The hon. Member for Roxburgh, Selkirk and Peebles (Mr. David Steel), I am sure, very fully appreciates the point I am making.

What we really want is to be designated as a development district. That would allow us at least an even chance with other places of getting new factories which people may have in mind to build. This, I may say, goes farther than Berwickshire; it extends up to East Lothian; but if we are to seek any new development we have to compete with the development districts in Lanarkshire, other parts of the Lothians, and in Fife, and it is difficult to persuade a firm to sacrifice the advantages that it can get by going to those areas in order to come to us.

In actual fact it is not entirely a tale of woe, and here I am happy to emphasise that the new Portland cement factory at Dunbar which was started under the last Government is now going ahead on that good foundation to increase its production—a very welcome fact in these days of shortage of cement—and it will provide employment for over 100 more people. All is not black, but more requires to be done.

I direct my remarks to the Secretary of State for Scotland, because, I have had to abbreviate a little bit what, in Committee upstairs, I was endeavouring to say the other day. The first point is that we must in that area of south-east Scotland have good communications. The Secretary of State will be very well aware of the threat which British Railways hold over our heads, the threat that they will downgrade the railway service between Newcastle and Edinburgh. Well, I have begged the right hon. Gentleman before and I beg him again not to allow that to happen, because we must have rail communications if we are to hold our own.

I turn from the railways to the roads. It was with dismay that I read yesterday in the Press that there is a threat to the road programme. I hope that that threat will not affect the part of the road programme on the A.1 between Edinburgh and London. That road is all-important if we are to attract tourists to our part of the country and make them come to it rather than avoid it, which is what many are now tempted to do.

I want to be perfectly fair. I admit that something has to be done. The right hon. Gentleman has authorised the building of a substantial roundabout on the dangerous part of the Dunbar by-pass and has also agreed, I am very glad to say, to some improvements on the A.1 road in Berwickshire itself. This is good work, and I would hope that these improvements will be allowed to continue, and that whatever restrictions may be the order of the day in other parts will not be allowed to affect a part of the country where depopulation is just as serious a worry to us as elsewhere is unemployment. Please let the right hon. Gentleman remember that.

One more word, and that is about Eyemouth Harbour. This is a place with a naturally good harbour. There could be natural expansion there without artificially bringing industries to places to which they do not necessarily want to go. The harbour is dependent upon its being possible for ships to enter at high tide and at low tide and in fair weather and in foul weather. The right hon. Gentleman will be aware that about £380,000 was spent under the previous Government in improving that harbour. Those improvements are not entirely satisfactory. A further, much smaller, subsidiary sum is required, and it is required urgently. I urge the Secretary of State to give us that money as soon as he can, so that we can at least save one promising spot, where the population is increasing and employment can follow that increase—and save it before it is too late.

4.58 p.m.

Mr. A. Woodburn (Clackmannan and East Stirlingshire)

I congratulate the right hon. Member for Berwick and East Lothian (Sir W. Anstruther-Gray) on representing such a fine constituency. I am willing to support him in his plea. His constituency, like my own, and like others in Scotland—West Fife, for example—are very nice and it is vitally important, when we are inviting industries to come to Scotland, that they should go to places where it is worth while to live. I could sell the right hon. Gentleman's constituency anywhere, and I could also sell West Fife, and my own constituency. Stirlingshire, because those are very good places in which to live.

This reinforces a point which I should like my right hon. Friend to keep in mind, namely, that it is desirable to avoid sending more and more industry to places which are already congested and to try and get them into places which have some industry and population and have the opportunity of growth. This includes the Borders. The Scottish Council issued a Report some years ago, to which I am sorry to say the last Government paid little attention. It pointed out that one of the ways to reallocate industry was to develop existing small towns and their industries rather than to depend entirely upon bringing new industries into Scotland. I hope that this point will be looked at closely.

It is not always necessary to build new factories and houses. If only the Government would redirect their orders to existing firms in these areas they would expand naturally. Instead of youngsters leaving for Glasgow to learn to become engineers they would learn their trade in their own areas. Fraserburgh is an example where two brothers developed an engineering factory which has become a successful business in the North-East of Scotland. I am sure that my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Scotland will keep this point in mind.

I should like to thank my right hon. Friend the President of the Board of Trade for what he has done since he took office in October and also for what he did in the lifetime of the previous Labour Government in bringing industry to Scotland. He has played a great part in formulating the policy of allocation of industry, an important matter which I regret to say the previous Government overlooked. I do not deny that the right hon. Member for Argyll (Mr. Noble) gave a death-bed push to Scottish industry on behalf of the Conservative Government.

When we left office in 1951 we had established factories to provide 126,000 jobs and there was a promise of further development of factories in Scotland. The right hon. Gentleman's Government promptly forgot all about it and for over 10 years allowed Scotland to decay. They knew that industry was declining, particularly the coalmining industry. A Royal Commission had made this clear, but the Conservative Government made no provision for new industries when the coal industry had departed. They provided nothing to replace the declining shipping industry. Beardmores, on Clydebank, had built the battleships, but by their own policy the Conservative Government destroyed the prospects of employment and prosperity in that area.

They had a great responsibility for the decay in the employment of skilled men in Scotland. When they saw the election approaching they provided too much of a programme, in the sense that it was quite incapable of fulfilment. The building industry could not possibly have carried out the programme which they laid down before the election without changing methods and finding far more materials than were available. If the Conservatives had returned to office they would not have been able to carry it out.

Mr. Noble

The building industry was able to complete the programme. I was asked over and over again by hon. and right hon. Members opposite to provide the building contractors with a long-term programme which they could plan. I did exactly that and they completed the programme.

Mr. Woodburn

Many hospitals are still to be built. Many of them, and many other projects which were sketched out, were incapable of fulfilment without an expansion of methods and materials in the building industry. The Scottish building industry suffers from lack of plasterboard, bricks and other materials for which no preparation was made by the Conservative Government. As has been pointed out, these could not have been produced without an expansion programme being established 12 months or 18 months ago.

It is important to the planning of industry in Scotland that there should be an expansion of the building trade. I am guided by my hon. Friend the Member for West Stirlingshire (Mr. W. Baxter) in saying that the building trade has developed new methods and that we can look forward to expansion, but we must wait for the building materials industry to be expanded to supply the building industry.

The larger problem of production in Scotand depends upon either more labour or more productivity from existing labour. We shall fail unless we have more productivity from existing labour. We cannot earn our living by merely trying to produce more by means of overtime, because this means more wages and therefore more purchasing power and a higher consumption of goods at home, which means, in turn, less being available for export. This is the wrong way to go about it. If there is more productivity from labour we shall be able to produce more, not only for export but also to satisfy home consumption as well.

I can well understand that the Prime Minister and the Government are coming to the point where they must counteract this imbalance in home consumption and get more effort devolted to exports. This country cannot continue to eat its seed corn and survive. There must be contraction of consumption at home so that productivity and production can develop in the export trade, otherwise we shall fail. When the Scottish shipbuilding industry was busy it drew on carpenters and joiners in the house-building industry. When this happens there is sooner or later a transfer of labour and a shrinkage in house building.

If this is to take place now I hope that the country will realise that the export trade is more important to our economic survival even than the provision of accommodation and the means of a more luxurious life at home. Every economically expanding country has had to concentrate on factories before housing. This may come in this country. The Government must be ready to slow down home consumption to produce the capacity for exports.

I say this because Scotland is peculiarly fitted for the export trade and, I am sure, will develop it if it is given the opportunity. I have mentioned the lack of foresight in the past. We should now try to get industry to go to places where housing already exists. If we start new towns we must build houses and factories, but if industry is sent to places like Haddington the houses already exist there. Housing is available in many villages where the mining industry is closing down. There is the possibility of avoiding capital expenditure on housing if new industries are guided there. What is the good of miners leaving villages in Fife to go south where more houses have to be built for them?

Mr. William Baxter (West Stirlingshire)

My right hon. Friend will be mindful of the fact that Cowie, Plean, Bannockburn and Fallin, next door to his constituency, but actually in mine, are typical examples of the kind of places he mentions. I approve very much of his sentiments.

Mr. Woodburn

I thank my hon. Friend, but I hope that he will remember that he is taking part of my 10 minutes.

Mr. Baxter

Then my right hon. Friend can take half a minute longer.

Mr. Woodburn

The examples given by my hon. Friend are interesting and there are examples, also, in my constituency. There is plenty of room in places like Haddington where people could have had a nice living and good educational opportunities for their children. This would have avoided cluttering up those parts of Scotland which are becoming like parts of Lancashire where one hardly moves out of built-up areas for scores of miles. Industry must be spread over the country. I hope that my right hon. Friend will tell us of his plans in this regard, embracing even the Highlands so that something can be done there as well.

Scotland's export production must be improved. Our export trade will have to be developed not only by expanding industry in Glasgow and the congested area round about, but by spreading industry to the Borders, down to Dumfriesshire, even up to Brechin, where there is a very good engineering nucleus already, into Fraserburgh, and the rest.

I congratulate the right hon. Member for Argyll on Dounreay, I congratulate him on the pulp mill, and I congratulate him on the eventual decision which Mr. Macmillan took, in spite of the objection of the Chairman of the Conservative Party in Scotland, to send a steel mill to Scotland. But I remind him that these are all examples of public enterprise For 10 years, we pressed the right hon. Gentleman and his colleagues to develop Scotland by public enterprise because Scotland cannot be developed by private enterprise until there is a good foundation of population and a good foundation in the economy.

5.10 p.m.

The Earl of Dalkeith (Edinburgh, North)

All of us who are Scots eagerly welcome this annual debate because it evokes within us some of our nationalistic sentiments and gives us a chance to speak up for what we believe to be right for Scotland. I hope that our nationalistic sentiments are sufficiently infectious even to encourage some of the Welshmen, Ulstermen and Englishmen sitting on the Government benches to speak up for Scotland as well. I had the impression that some of them were pregnant with speeches.

I listened with great interest to the speech of the right hon. Member for Clackmannan and East Stirlingshire (Mr. Woodburn), and with some parts of it I agreed, notably when he asked for the spreading of industry throughout the whole of Scotland. I shall return to that point later. But there were moments when I wondered whether anyone had told him that the Labour Party won the General Election last autumn. I heard him carrying on in the same sort of vein that hon. and right hon. Members opposite used to follow when they were in opposition, castigating the Government, or anyone they could find to castigate, on the subject of jobs. I was astounded by one proposition which the right hon. Gentleman appeared to advance. I hope that I misheard him, but I understood him to say that we should cut back on our slum clearance programme and sacrifice this sort of good work in order to increase shipbuilding. I do not know whether I misunderstood In my view, slum clearance deserves the very highest priority.

Our previous debates were chiefly notorious for the way in which the Opposition at that time castigated the Government. Criticism is all very well, but constructive criticism is a good deal better. Now that we are the Opposition, I hope that we shall not follow the example of right hon. and hon. Members opposite. I hope that our contribution will always be constructive. Moreover, I am sure that we shall not do as they so often did, which is to paint the blackest possible picture of Scotland, which, of course, does more than anything else to discourage potential industrialists from coming to Scotland.

After 13 years of torrents of abuse and criticism from right hon. and hon. Members opposite, we had the right to expect an explosion of brilliant new ideas for solving Scotland's economic ills. However, nine months have passed, with precious little to show beyond a continuation of the policies which we ourselves started. Nine months is quite a long time, and quite a lot of things can happen in that period. I can only conclude that the ideas of right hon. and hon. Members opposite were not as fertile as many people had hoped, or that their gestation period is like that of the dinosaur.

I listened to the President of the Board of Trade with some interest, but I could only feel that we were listening to the out-pourings of a dehydrated computer. In so far as he touched on human problems at all and discussed the present unemployment figures, he appeared to be bathing in the reflected glory of our achievements during the past few years. In decency and conscience, he cannot possibly claim that the low unemployment figures today are the result of his Government's efforts.

Beyond the proliferation of review bodies and planning boards, the Government have failed to produce the startling, new and dynamic ideas which some people expected of them. Obviously, no one begrudges planning, least of all I myself, a forester accustomed to planning 100 years ahead, but planning is only a part of the general scheme of things for solving our problems. Innumerable plans have already been made and a great many others have been patently obvious. What is important is that they should be implemented, and this, of course, largely depends upon money.

The acid test of any Government's performance, to show whether or not they are better than the previous Government, is whether they can extract more money from the Treasury both for public spending and for stimulating the private sector of industry. So far, all this Government appear to have done has been vastly to increase the difficulties and cost of borrowing money, thereby contributing to the general shortage of investment capital. Penal taxation is hardly the best weapon to stimulate private enterprise into taking the sort of risks which are so essential to launch our industries into the new endeavours which we simply must have if we are to provide Scotland with an economy which is really modern and assist in the transition from the older declining heavy industries to the modern science-based industries.

When the Government established the new Ministry of Technology, we were led to hope that they would give new recognition to the problems of technology and science. A fanfare of trumpets greeted the appointment of the Minister of Technology, but now the sound of the trumpets has faded and it is abundantly clear that it was nothing more than a cleverly devised move to put a protective shoe over the Achilles heel of the Labour Party.

Mr. Dalyell

The noble Lord is being less than generous. Will he agree that, although there may be grounds for attacking him, on this particular issue my right hon. Friend has made a fundamental decision, giving the real prize, the real plum in technology, namely, numerical control and computer design, to Scotland?

The Earl of Dalkeith

If the hon. Gentleman thinks that I have been unfair in picking upon his right hon. Friend as being the Achilles heel of the Labour Party, there are many others, I am sure, who would qualify to be placed with him in a similar category. Nevertheless, during the 250 days in which the Government have been in office, the right hon. Gentleman has, as far as I can gather, managed to spare only one day for a personal fact-finding mission to study Scotland's technological and scientific potential. If he has done more than that, I shall be only too pleased to hear about it.

In February this year, the Scottish Council produced a statement of immense importance on the subject of technology and science. I mention this even though it contains some uncomplimentary passages, as well as complimentary ones, about the previous Government. The points it makes are too vital to be ignored for any reason, and, in any case, our function here is to look forward, not to look back.

If the Government are to show a serious regard for the problems of regional development, they have many things to do in the field of science and technology. I beseech the right hon. Gentleman to tell us, when he winds up the debate, a little about his plans in this direction. Perhaps he can tell us what proportion of those engaged in the D.S.I.R. are working in Scotland as opposed to the rest of the United Kingdom, and whether he has any plans for establishing new laboratories in Scotland or moving existing laboratories there. It is important that the Government should give a lead in moving their own offices and laboratories wherever they can to set an example to private industry to do the same.

What about the Forestry Commission and its new headquarters? Could it not be moved to Scotland? It would seem to be eminently logical and sensible that it should go there. After all, in Scotland it would be nearest to its main centres of production, particularly if one includes the forests on the English side of the Border, which are, of course, within close reach. The exact situation of such headquarters might produce some difficulties, but I for one would not insist that it should go to a development district.

This brings me to a point which the right hon. Gentleman made in his speech about spreading industry more widely than hitherto, and, indeed, to the classification and designation of development districts. Now that so much progress has been made in the areas with the heaviest concentrations of unemployment, has not the time come for us to embark upon a stage two operation whereby the aim would be to stimulate growth in other regions of Scotland where there have already been signs of natural growth, because it is in those areas that natural growth is easier to encourage and, indeed, where self-regeneration is more likely to take place? I have in mind various areas such as those around Edinburgh and to the South and, as was mentioned by my right hon. Friend the Member for Berwick and East Lothian (Sir W. Anstruther-Gray), the Border counties.

I cannot help feeling that one of our problems is to boost the whole of the Scottish economy. If the right hon. Gentleman could do this and include the areas at present outside the development districts, I think that we should encourage a much swifter flow of families from the bleaker unhappier and over-congested parts of Scotland. Many of our more enterprising young men and women are tending nowadays to seek their opportunities outside the Glasgow and North Lanarkshire regions. Let us at least try, if we can, to waylay them on their way to Australia or wherever else they are going, waylay them in the green and pleasant land of the Borders, where, I am sure, we can provide them with the opportunities they are seeking.

Incidentally, just before the General Election an Australian friend of mine who is a staunch Conservative said how much he hoped that the Labour Party would win, because most of the enterprising, virile young men from this country would pack their bags and hurry out to Australia. This was exactly what the Australians were hoping would happen, because they need talent of this kind. Yet these are the very people that Scotland most urgently needs to keep so as to boost its future economy.

Clearly, we all have an immense task to do in recreating Scotland as a land of opportunity, enterprise and culture—the Government, local authorities, trade unions, the people of Scotland themselves and, of course, particularly the managers of businesses and industries. Too often we see Scotland as the cradle of inventive genius, and too often the ideas are left to be developed or exploited in other parts of the country or the world. This is true today of the whole of the United Kingdom. The latest most glaring example is in connection with the development of the Hovercraft. It has now been left to the Swedes to show the necessary courage and enterprise to develop the trans-channel Hovercraft on a large scale in order to transport British people to and from this country.

What has happened to the imagination, initiative and the risk-taking capacity of our people? If it was partly stifled by the high taxation of the previous Administration, there would certainly seem to be no sense in making matters even worse by suffocating it altogether through an even more massive dose of the same medicine. I suggest that the most essential thing that any Government can do to stimulate regional development is to create oppotunities for the individual to prosper, and by "individual" I mean everybody from the apprentice to the managing director. I am utterly convinced that the carrot of inducement yields far better than the stick of coercion, which is so often the way of Labour Governments.

Several years ago the principle of fiscal incentives on a geographical basis was frowned upon. Yet my right hon. Friend the Member for Barnet (Mr. Maudling) broke down the barriers when he was Chancellor of the Exchequer and introduced them in his Budget three years ago in the field of investment allowances. These have shown considerable success. Could we not now extend this principle a stage further into the more personal field of Income Tax and/or rating relief?

My last point concerns industrial harmony. Last week there was a debate on this subject in another place, and I believe that it was one of the most important debates to take place in either House during this Session. Lord Thomson of Fleet deserves to be congratulated on his initiative in bringing this subject forward. A great deal of what was said on all sides in that debate was particularly relevant to Scotland and her prospects as a modern developing nation. Nothing could be more certain to hamper the prospects of growth in Scotland than the needless unofficial disputes which too often take place.

Nothing could be more certain to frighten away potential industrialists than the disputes in the industries which we have struggled to bring to Scotland in recent years. If, by the application of common sense on the part of both management and men, we can make Scotland a shining example of industrial harmony, I believe that we shall accelerate the progress which we all want to see in Scotland.

Mr. Cyril Bence (Dunbartonshire, East)

This is very important. Does the noble Lord realise that the hours lost through industrial disputes in Scotland have fallen from 561,000 in 1962 to 161,000 in 1964 and that the hours lost through strikes in the motor industry in Scotland are less than those in Birmingham and Coventry?

The Earl of Dalkeith

The hon. Gentleman's standard may be different from mine, but I regard one hour unnecessarily lost through an unofficial dispute as too much.

Mr. Edward M. Taylor (Glasgow, Cathcart)

Is my hon. Friend aware that the hours lost by the motor industry in Scotland during the first six months this year were almost double those during the whole of 1964?

The Earl of Dalkeith

I am grateful to my hon. Friend for being able, as usual, to produce accurate statistics, which he appears to have at his fingertips.

If the damage that wildcat strikes can do to Scotland's prospects and her good name, especially when in new firms such as Rootes, ought to be more generally and deeply realised and recognised, I believe that there would then be a greater sense of self-restraint than there has been in the past. I wonder whether it would not be possible for both sides of the House of Commons for once to unite in making an appeal—we ought, of course, to enlist the wholehearted support of the Press and television—not only to the men but more especially to the wives to recognise that they are cutting not just their own throats but the throats of their children and grandchildren, because nothing is more certain to discourage new industries from coming to Scotland than these unofficial industrial disputes.

Mr. Norman Buchan (Renfrew, West)

I do not want to get involved in the wholesale slaughter by the hon. Member of the families of motor workers, but he has mentioned Rootes in terms of irresponsibility. May I remind him that the most responsible agreement which has been signed in recent years between trade union and management was the agreement prepared by the Rootes shop stewards, who behaved in a highly responsible fashion? It was a completely new type of agreement which solved the kind of disputes which had been going on, which were not the fault of the workers but were because of the problems inherent in the area. I hope to develop the point if I am fortunate in being called in the debate.

The Earl of Dalkeith

As always, I am grateful to the hon. Member for doing his best to inform me. I warmly welcome anything that is done to reduce these disputes. If the hon. Member has the opportunity of developing his argument in the debate, I shall be delighted to listen to every word of his speech.

If we can get this appeal across to the people who are involved in this sort of action, and particularly to the wives, who have a great deal of influence upon their husbands, at least this debate may have achieved something.

5.32 p.m.

Mr. Thomas Steele (Dunbartonshire, West)

I am tempted to follow the speech of the noble Lord the Member for Edinburgh, North (The Earl of Dalkeith), but I will content myself with making three short remarks about it. First, it was a high compliment to the Labour Government that the noble Lord expected them to do in nine months what his own Government failed to do in 13 years. Secondly, the noble Lord has shown evidence of a great deal of effort, because his phrases were reminiscent of the midnight oil. Thirdly, the hon. Member asked for restraint. Earlier this afternoon the Chair called for restraint on the part of hon. Members, but the noble Lord took double his share of the time.

The Earl of Dalkeith

If the hon. Member reads my speech, he will notice that I particularly criticised the Government for not producing new ideas, new plans and new ways of doing things. That is what is so disappointing. I apologise for having taken more than my fair share of the time, but for the last three years I have been "gagged" in these debates by being a P.P.S.

Mr. Steele

The noble Lord should show a little more restraint than to try now to make another speech.

The two opening speeches in the debate ran rather to form. My right hon. Friend the President of the Board of Trade did what other Presidents of the Board of Trade have done from the Front Bench. He was able to show exactly what was happening and, by quoting figures for jobs and employment, he gave the general pattern of industry and employment in Scotland. There were differences between what has happened in the past nine months and what happened previously, but in the main it was a good Board of Trade brief and my right hon. Friend adequately dealt with it.

The right hon. Member for Argyll (Mr. Noble), who opened the debate, then proceeded repeatedly to interrupt my right hon. Friend. What we got from the right hon. Gentleman, and what we will get from other hon. Members opposite, is that all that has happened in the past year was the result of plans made by the Tory Government when they were in power. That is exactly what I expected would happen. I am very happy that the situation has improved. It has improved over past years and it has improved this year. No one is happier about this than I am, because 12 months ago the constituency that I represent was having a bad year. What has happened over the past year has been very helpful.

My next remarks are directed again to the right hon. Member for Argyll. A number of years ago, I took a deputation to the Board of Trade and we put our case. As usual, the Press release was written before we arrived. That is the experience that we have all had at the Board of Trade. I was, however, concerned about a remark that was made to me by an official at the Board of Trade. In the presence of my constituents, he said to me that the problem of employment and industry was like the tide. It had come in to the Midlands, it was then enveloping South Wales, soon it would reach the north-east of England and then it would come to Scotland. After that remark, I refused to take any more deputations to see Presidents of the Board of Trade. It was clear to me that they were simply waiting for the tide to come in, whereas I was not prepared to wait for that to happen.

That remark also made me very concerned about the general attitude of the Board of Trade. I was deeply concerned about what happened in the case of British Oxygen, a firm which the Board of Trade was anxious should come to Scotland. I regarded the removal of the factory lock, stock and barrel to Dumbarton as an ideal operation which any Government would wish to see.

In a situation of that kind, however, the Board of Trade has to take a negative position. In the first place, British Oxygen had wanted to expand in the South and it had already made provision to do so. When it wanted to make the move, however, the Board of Trade said, "No" and had to try to encourage the firm to go to Scotland. This process took a number of years. The company argued about a site and what assistance it would receive, and in the end it did not come to Dumbarton. I am convinced that it was the slight recession at that time which made British Oxygen change its mind. The problem as I see it is that there is no positive action behind what the Board of Trade and the Government generally try to do.

I listened carefully to what my right hon. Friend the President of the Board of Trade said this afternoon. He illustrated the three items which he had in mind. I have heard those three traditional items mentioned repeatedly. Each of them is negative, however, because no action is taken by the Government in respect of any of the three until an application is submitted.

I pay tribute to the officials of B.O.T.A.C. Under the 1960 Act, a great deal of new industry has come to Scotland. Some of it has come to my constituency. Whenever I have been in touch with any of the officials, I have had nothing but courtesy in the assistance which they have been able to give. In the circumstances of today, however, I should like to know from my right hon. Friend whether he considers that B.O.T.A.C. and the 1960 Act are the correct machinery to use.

Mr. Dalyell

Hear, hear.

Mr. Steele

One firm in my constituency has now been able to get assistance from B.O.T.A.C., but it has taken a considerable time to get it. The company wanted the assistance for one thing only, and that was to develop the export of its products. The firm was already exporting, but it wanted to improve on its performance. The Government have rightly insisted that firms which want to export, particularly to the dollar market, should be assisted. In view of my experience over the past few years, I believe that this is the sort of matter which has to be studied and I hope that there will be some new thinking and some new ideas.

The Board of Trade is an advisory body which helps industry in many ways, but it does not act in the positive kind of way which I believe to be necessary. This view has been reinforced by what happened only 18 months or two years ago, when the then Minister of Housing and Local Government set up an office in London to assist industry and offices to move out of the city. This policy has been very successful. I read a report in the Glasgow Herald of 13th July showing how successful the Ministry of Housing and Local Government has been in assisting industry and offices to move out of London. But where are they going? Who decides where they should go? That is not the job of the Ministry of Housing and Local Government, but of the Board of Trade.

Mr. Jay

I have discussed this matter with the Location of Offices Bureau which, in its national location policy, is guided by the Board of Trade. As a result of this, one very large firm has recently moved to Sunderland, as my hon. Friend may know.

Mr. Steele

I am very glad to hear it. I have discussed this matter with a number of employers in London. Resulting from the failure of our talks with the Board of Trade, Dumbarton Town Council and Dunbartonshire County Council set up their own industrial estates and went out to seek firms themselves. In recent months I have found that employers are desperate to get out of London because of staff problems.

This is where the tide begins to move. Economic circumstances—high rents and scarcity of labour—drive many firms out of London and towards Scotland. The right hon. Member for Argyll, who is enjoying my speech, should not take so much credit, because it has been the tide which has been flowing north not the efforts of the Tory Government, which has brought about our successes.

We now have the new planning councils and I hope that they will result in some positive action, but I am afraid that we may be adding the fifth wheel to the coach. I hope that my right hon. Friend will be able to assure me that that will not be so. In Scotland, we do not lack advice and people prepared to plan. The Board of Trade has an office in Scotland and the Scottish Council operates in the same way, while the Secretary of State for Scotland has a special interest in the new towns. My experience is that, instead of co-ordination and co-operation among the three, they have generally been fighting each other for whatever industry is available. The extension at Cumbernauld would never have occurred there, but would have been a development in my constituency if the then Secretary of State for Scotland had not interfered. There should be co-operation among those three bodies and with local authorities doing this kind of work.

The difficulty about the competition which is now going on is that all of these bodies are at the wrong end. They are all trying to attract industry. But what body knows which firms are prepared to come? It is in this connection that the Board of Trade ought to be much more active. Apart from the new planning councils and my right hon. Friend the First Secretary, I would like the Board of Trade itself to take more power in this matter. It is the Department which has the knowledge and experience of industry. I would like it to be much more active about finding out what firms propose to do. If legislation, or money, is required for the purpose, let it be provided. If the Board of Trade were able to know in advance what was to happen, we would not have the present negative attitude and the Board of Trade could be more positive in its approach. It is along these lines, rather than more planning councils or wheels to the coach, that we can hope for the expansion in Scotland which we need.

5.46 p.m.

Mr. Hector Monro (Dumfries)

I am very glad to have the opportunity to follow the hon. Member for Dunbartonshire, West (Mr. Steele), who speaks with great knowledge and interest of the Board of Trade. I echo many of the things he said. Hon. Members opposite should pay more tribute to the foundations on which they started last year. The structure was not at ground level but well on the way up to the roof. If the Government do not complete the building of the employment situation, it will be a very sad story. I hope that they will press on with all speed towards that end.

The hon. Member for Dunbartonshire, West spoke of the set-up of the Board of Trade in Glasgow and I add my tribute to his. I have had negotiations with the officials there and I have found them most helpful and forward-looking. However, I sometimes wonder whether it would not be advantageous if we could have the Scottish office of the Board of Trade and the Scottish Development Department under one roof. Separated as they are, there is a great deal of extra telephoning, sometimes under extreme pressure when businessmen want to move fast.

The Local Employment Acts have been of tremendous benefit to Scotland. I know from my own dealings with businessmen who are considering coming to Scotland that the incentives are of the greatest importance. If the Government want to attract more industry to Scotland, they should extend the incentives, which are a major factor in bringing new industry from England.

I am glad that the President of the Board of Trade has spoken about the coal industry. This industry is vulnerable and in the development district in my constituency we are always worried about pit closures, for the alternatives are very few. In a way, there is a vicious circle, because we cannot attract new industry until labour is available, so that the new industry will not come until a pit has closed. But that leaves a gap of about a year while an advance factory is built. I appreciate the difficulty, but I urge the President of the Board of Trade to make every effort to overcome this serious problem in the coal-mining areas.

I want to refer to the educational side of industry. I am glad that the right hon. Gentleman stressed the importance of the development of industrial retraining. This is important to the coal-mining industry, because we have to train the coal miners to become engineers or other skilled labour. There is no doubt that the expansion of technical colleges in recent years has been a tremendous success. They are now bursting at their seams and young boys and girls are queuing up to get in. I want to see that continued. In the same way the day-release scheme has been slow to get off the ground, but now I think it is rolling and we want to give every encouragement to this very good idea. Even more important is the need to encourage industry to provide more apprenticeships, and when we have the apprentices let us make sure that we have the skilled jobs for them once they are qualified.

As the President of the Board of Trade was talking about the employment figures today—it is, as he said, fair to say that the slight increase in July over June is because of the school-leaving problem—I think we should give, as I did in respect of the Board of Trade in Glasgow, credit to the employment exchange officers and youth officers for the outstanding job they are doing in placing school leavers.

I want to move from there to the important point of the cost of these educational schemes. Some part of the cost, I know, comes from central funds, as in the case of the technical colleges. But there is no doubt at all that the cost of education to local authorities is soaring beyond their capacity. This in turn is forcing up rates. Here again we have the vicious circle, because the higher rates go the less likely we are to attract industry. The sooner the Government are able to take some decision on removing part of the cost of education from local authorities to central funds the better. In this way those areas which have pressed on with exceptional housing programmes and very much above-average school buildings will be able to reduce their rates to a more universal level, and in that way they will attract more industry.

I want to move on to technology and the Atomic Energy Authority in Scotland. As we know there is the South of Scotland Electricity Board power station at Hunterston, and two Atomic Energy Authority stations at Dounreay and Chapelcross. Some expansion, particularly in the two Atomic Energy Authority stations, is becoming essential if we are to retain the confidence and the numbers of workers in this industry. Last month we had a visit from the Minister of Technology, who inspected our two Scottish stations. I am quite certain that he was pleased with what he saw, and I hope that it helped him to make up his mind as to where the future fast reactor is to be sited, if the Atomic Energy Authority recommends to the Government that it should be built. I am concerned that we should be having such a long delay over this announcement. In the last report of the Atomic Energy Authority, in March 1964, the design was nearly completed, and I understand that the last Government would have made an announcement this spring.

A year ago the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State was impatiently asking my right hon. Friend the Member for Argyll (Mr. Noble) why a decision had not been made. Yet here we are, twelve months later, not one inch nearer a public announcement. Why are we having a delay over this decision? What is going to be the size of the fast reactor and how many people is it going to employ? I connot see that there is anything desperately secret about this. We have a great pride in the Atomic Energy Authority. Let us blow our trumpet from the rooftops and hear more about it. The important thing to bear in mind is that there are probably three or four sites in the United Kingdom for this fast reactor, two of which are in Scotland, the one at Dounreay and the other at Chapelcross. Both these sites have much in common. They have the space, the labour is available, and there are social and economic reasons for the reactor being built there.

It may be that Chapelcross may be nearer to the centre of Britain and on the grid, and it may be it has technical advantages. I am not going to put one against the other today. The point is that we must get it to Scotland. In my honest opinion, the fast reactor will not come to Scotland unless the Secretary of State makes a very determined fight to get it. I have a feeling that a site in England is at this moment the front runner and I earnestly urge the Secretary of State to make every possible effort to make sure that Scotland obtains this reactor.

If we are not to have the fast reactor in Scotland, what other developments can we look forward to in this important industry? Can we have more generating capacity? Can we have an extension of laboratories or another desalination plant or diversification, as the hon. and learned Member for Aberdeen, North (Mr. Hector Hughes) suggested? We certainly must not let the skills of the Atomic Energy Authority workers evaporate into thin air. The Minister of Technology set up an advisory council on technology this year. Has it met in Scotland? Has it discussed Scotland's problems? Has the future of the Atomic Energy Authority been tied into the regional surveys? We are hopefully awaiting the publication of these surveys, which will be under very careful consideration at this moment. Perhaps action will be taken later this year. I would like to ask, because it is not a parochial matter, to what extent is the Solway plan being considered? I feel that the Government may have got their priorities wrong over this most important concept.

The Minister of Land and Natural Resources and the Secretary of State for Scotland have set up a feasibility study. This is purely on the technical possibilities. At the same time I am quite sure they should have set up, in parallel, a survey on the economic and social effects so that both plans could be considered together in the not too distant future. I ask the Secretary of State at this stage to go to the Strathclyde University, which has a regional study group and to ask it to look at the economic and social aspects of this problem. I feel that at the moment many people in the area are thinking that we may end up with a freshwater reservoir. That will be an anticlimax. What we want is something that will attract industry and employment to the area. A night-watchman for a freshwater reservoir does not seem to give us what we want.

This is not a debate on agriculture, but I must confess—[Interruption.] I said not a debate on agriculture.

Mr. Rankin

While it may not be specifically a debate on agriculture, agriculture is an industry and this is a debate on industry. We must not forget that.

Mr. Monro

The hon. Member has a wonderful sense of anticipation. That is exactly what I was going to say, but I did not wish to be called to order on moving on to a specific subject not covered by this debate. The very important point is that a profitable agricultural industry is the basis of rural economy. If agriculture is doing well then we are going to get employment in machinery, in the blacksmiths' shops, the corn merchants, the "tatty" merchants and in the shops. All this is of the greatest importance. The farmers are still recovering from a miserable Price Review and, although I do not blame the Government for the weather—

The Under-Secretary of State for Scotland (Dr. J. Dickson Mabon)

Why not?

Mr. Monro

I am always a fair and reasonable person. Although I do not blame the Government, the farmers are having a most disappointing summer. I would like to see further encouragement from the Government for such fine bodies as the Scottish Country Industries Development Trust, which is providing technical and marketing advice to rural industries in connection with agriculture, engineering, boat-building, weaving, and so on. If we could get this moving we would not have the present degree of depopulation of the rural areas.

There is one other point that I want to make about rural economy, namely, the industrial side of lime. Last week we had a new lime order, under which the lime producers have taken another severe knock. The Secretary of State for Scotland is primarily responsible for producing lime as cheaply as possible, but the order will mean that lime producers will lose their profitability. The Secretary of State must bear some responsibility. Under the new order the scales will be heavily weighted in favour of England.

There is a higher subsidy contribution and higher allowances, enabling lime to be sold at a favourable price, which is a good thing, but this price will be financed by the Treasury. This is detrimental to the taxpayer, and provides no corresponding benefit to Scotland. Scottish producers should be encouraged to expand. The solution lies in a reduction of depot weighting contributions. The contributions should be weighted according to the cheapest form of transport, which is shipborne rather than roadborne.

The maximum contribution has been reduced to 70 per cent., which will mainly favour the English producers, because they have the longest haulage. In Scotland it will average about only 55 per cent. I therefore ask the Minister to consider the position of lime producers, because the action that the Government have taken is very detrimental to their interests.

I now turn to the key to Scotland, namely, roads. Under the last Government we had a rapid expansion in road construction. I live near the A74 and have seen the tremendous benefit which this dual carriageway between the Border and Larkhall has brought to Scotland. I want to put to the Minister a point that he declined to accept in Committee. I know that he is not responsible for the English trunk road system, but at this moment there is a significant gap between the top of the M6 at Kendal and the Scottish Border. Until that gap is closed there will be great difficulty in bringing industry to Scotland.

If the Under-Secretary had to spend about one-and-a-half hours travelling north through Carlisle to the Border he would know that there is no encouragement for English industrialists to move north. If he and his right hon. Friend could impress the Minister of Transport with the urgency of connecting the north of England to the south of Scotland I am sure that new industry would rapidly flow into Scotland. Road transport is of the greatest importance in bringing new industry to Scotland.

If the Government pay heed to all that they have heard from my hon. Friends and take the necessary action Scotland will have no worries in the years ahead.

6.4 p.m.

Mr. Cyril Bence (Dunbartonshire, East)

I was surprised at the suggestion made by the hon. Member for Dumfries (Mr. Monro) that we should compliment the previous Administration on the rapid construction of the arterial road from Carlisle to Larkhall. I left Birmingham for Scotland in 1951, and when I travelled through Blackpool by car I saw that the road had been started. Last time I came down from Scotland it had not been finished, and that was last summer. They had been 14 years on it so far. At that rate it is a blessing that the last Administration left office when they did. At that speed we should never get any industry into Scotland.

Hon. Members opposite have made some extraordinary speeches. The right hon. Member for Argyll (Mr. Noble) catalogued all the constructive suggestions that were made by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State last year. Those were the right hon. Gentleman's words. Yet the hon. Member for Edinburgh, North (The Earl of Dalkeith) started off by castigating Members of the present Administration for the destructive speeches that they made when his party formed the Government. I know that they have an election on at the moment, but they should forget it for the time being in order to sort out the question whether the speeches that were made by my hon. and right hon. Friends were abusive or constructive.

I am shocked that Scottish Members of Parliament should continue to support the ideas enunciated by Lord Thomson in another place, and follow the general line that has been taken by the Press, that industrial friction is worse in Scotland than it is in other parts of the United Kingdom. This just is not true. I know the motor industry very well, having spent my life in it. I wish hon. Members opposite would realise that it is a very complicated and difficult business to organise and bring together over 3,000 components in order to put them into a motor car.

It is all very well to walk round a motor plant and see motor cars being assembled on a conveyor belt, and to imagine that it is an easy process. It is not. It is a very difficult and frustrating process. When a motor plant is established in a new area, new labour has to be obtained and there is a great deal of frustration on both sides. The planners, the toolmakers, the production engineers, the progress clerks, and all kinds of people who are concerned with bringing together the various components of a motor car, have to suffer a good deal of frustration. Tremendous difficulties are experienced by both sides of the industry, and these tend to boil up. Even in Coventry and Birmingham, who have been at this work for 50 years, difficulties leading to slow production are still experienced.

I do not want to go into all the difficulties which lead to frustration and industrial disputes in our automated system of production, but I ask hon. Members opposite to remember that to dwell on the question of who was to blame gets us nowhere. An industrial dispute arises through many factors, which may have built up over a period. There may be a quick strike and then a settlement, after which, we hope, everything goes on as before. We deprecate these strikes, but we have to remember that people in the factory, on both sides, do not like them either. The men do not like these strikes. I beg hon. Members not to give the impression that relations between management and workers in the motor industry in Scotland are worse than they are in Birmingham, Coventry and London. They are not. The Scottish workers are just as amenable to new production processes as are the industrial workers in the rest of the United Kingdom, or in European countries.

There is one very serious problem that I want my hon. Friend to take note of. We all want to modernise Britain. The Labour Government were returned on the basis of a slogan to that effect. But modernising industry can be a very expensive and difficult business. I am not going to mention the firms by name, although most people will know what their names are, but two firms have large plants in Scotland. They are dynamic plants, and they are in the process of considerable development—or they could be. They are programming their production. They are programming specialised techniques to a specialised computer. They are entirely in the hands of half-a-dozen men and if these half-a-dozen men fail to turn up for maintenance or service, 7,000 men cannot work, as the whole of the production line is programmed through these computers. There are only two companies making computers, and the computers which they make are not interchangeable. Each is a unique system of programming. There are only two; a firm takes either one or the other.

Let it not be forgotten that we are talking about new techniques applying to old industries, for the old industries will not disappear. They are industries to which we want to apply the modern techniques of flow production. Manufacturers will be reluctant to put down vast capital if, having put it down to employ the latest techniques, they are in danger of being completely in the grip of one manufacturer, a producer of a computer. Most of these computers are hired. The two of which I am speaking are hired from a company which provides the mechanics and the experts to service these machines.

I suggest that if we want to drive forward in modernising British industry, then the Board of Trade or the Ministry of Technology should acquire this process—not necessarily the manufacturing concern; for it would be a greater safeguard to the investor and to the work people in industry if these new devices, where they are not purchased outright, could be hired through the Board of Trade.

Mr. J. Bruce-Gardyne (South Angus)

Would not the hon. Member agree that it has been the case for many years in the motor-car industry that many firms are totally dependent on one firm for a particular component? There is nothing new in this. It has gone on for years.

Mr. Bence

That is not quite true. I admit that there are some firms in this country which manufacture almost exclusively for the motor industry. No doubt the hon. Member is thinking of Lucas's. But each of the motor groups have their subsidiaries and each have their associated companies through which they get their products. Fords, B.M.C. and Rootes all have their associates.

I was about to pass to the latest effort by B.M.C. to acquire Pressed Steel. I think that this is a very dangerous merger. For many years there were two of the largest car body producers in Europe—Fisher and Ludlow of Birmingham and Pressed Steel. The British Motor Corporation acquired Fisher and Ludlow a few years ago and took into the B.M.C. group this major competitor to Pressed Steel as an indpendent body producer. Now the B.M.C. has taken in Pressed Steel. It is significant that Fisher and Ludlow manufactured bodies for Standards of Coventry and that not long after B.M.C. had acquired Fisher and Ludlow, who manufactured almost exclusively for Standards, Standards went down.

Pressed Steel in Scotland are manufacturing largely for the Rootes Group in Scotland. I think that this merger is a retrograde step. It is wrong that the whole technique of cold drawing and body components now passes almost exclusively into the hands of the Ford Motor Company of Dagenham, through Briggs Bodies, and the British Motor Corporation, through Pressed Steel and Fisher and Ludlow, the two great competitors which have been merged with B.M.C.

Hon. Members on both sides of the House talk about monopolies. It is a very dangerous situation that Rootes, a great British competitor of B.M.C., will have to go to B.M.C. for their bodies for the Hillman Imp. The Board of Trade should watch this very closely because it is inimical to expansion in Scotland especially at the Linwood plant.

Hon. Members opposite have spoken about how we started last October. In my view we inherited what I hope is the highest point of migration of skilled labour from Scotland which we have had for many years. I remember the Scots coming down in the 1920's. I do not know whether the flood was as fast between 1951 and 1965 as it was between 1926 and 1935. It was pretty fast then. The figures I have for population moving out of Scotland is that 28,000 a year moved over the last ten years. When we tried to get moving in Scotland after last October we found a shortage of skilled labour even in the old traditional industries. In every industry in Scotland there is a shortage of skilled labour which makes it impossible to employ a large force of unskilled labour.

The major employment in some of the new industries will be not perhaps of the fully skilled craft labour which we knew in the past but labour which has had some precise training and labour which has had training over a very long period. Looking at the figures over the last few years, one sees that productivity in Scotland has risen from 102, taking 1958 as 100, to 124 in 1964, an improvement of about 23 per cent. in productivity. The labour force employed has risen in the same industries by only 7 per cent. This means that if we were to take up all the labour available in Scotland in the productive processes the capital investment necessary would be phenomenal—hundreds of millions of pounds. Great capital is needed to employ a hundred workers in the modern technological processes.

I was glad to see on television recently—for the first time since I have been in Scotland—a short film from the Department in Edinburgh pointing to the advantages of the teaching profession. If there is anything we need especially in Scotland it is more social amenities, more schools and more teachers. The right hon. Member for Argyll said that he hoped there would be no cuts in capital expenditure in Scotland, and he mentioned the whole field of investment in Scotland in which he said there had been no cuts. He did not mention schools. Every year for the last five years there has been a cut in every school building programme of every local authority in Scotland. We are in great danger of paying for that.

We had cuts in investment in the last five years until, when we tried to expand after 1964, we found a shortage of cement. We are building advance factories, but we are short of skilled labour and cement because of the exodus from Scotland in the last ten years. Of the 30,000 who have gone, no doubt 6,000 or 7,000 were skilled men. When they leave we can no longer employ unskilled workers, and they leave, too. We also lose the links between manufacturers and customers. We are doing everything we can to direct cement and raw material back to Scotland by the initiative and drive being shown by the present Secretary of State.

Many hon. Members wish to take part in the debate so I will curtail my remarks and speak finally about the new town of Cumbernauld and redundancy in the Burgh of Clydebank, particularly at the Singer Sewing Machine factory there. As soon as a firm in Scotland, particularly if it employs skilled men, announces redundancies, firms from south of the Border come in and promise the men jobs in England with additional inducements like taking their families to see the homes in which they would live, the payment of all removal costs and so on. This has been happening in Scotland for years, although I agree that it is impossible to pass legislation to stop people from working wherever they wish or to prevent them from leaving one area to live in another.

The failure of successive Governments for many years to take action to solve Scotland's economic problems is mainly responsible for this. At the new town of Cumbernauld people are threatened with a curtailed bus service. Not only has there been a diversification of the railway there—from Buchanan Street to Queen Street, which will have serious repercussions on the people of the town—but now a cut in bus services has been threatened and this, if it comes about, will create many difficulties.

I am frequently shocked when I hear some of the things said by hon. Gentlement opposite and read certain articles in the newspapers by industrial and City correspondents about the affairs and prospects of Scotland. Articles appearing in the Scotsman and Glasgow Herald, on the other hand, frequently show that in the central belt and other parts of Scotland there is tremendous faith in the future. A great deal of investment is being made in plant and machinery by some of the largest businesses north of the Border and John Brown's is prepared to spend millions of pounds on the Clyde. Many other well-know companies are willing to place a great deal of money and technical expertise at the disposal of existing firms in Scotland to enable them to manufacture parts for many industries, notably the motor industry.

People too frequently plead for branch factories to go from England to Scotland, but I am not all that enamoured of that idea. I appeal to the Government to initiate discussions with the three main motor manufacturers in Scotland—perhaps the Government could help in this—with the idea of helping the older industrial units north of the Border, some of which are declining because of the declining demand for their products.

Many consumer durables, particularly motor car components, could be made by these firms, which could either retool or rejig for the manufacturing of such parts or could produce other consumer durables in addition to the goods which they have been traditionally making. It may be better to go in for this sort of development rather than to continually ask people like Wilmot Breeden, Hardy Spicers and others to set up branch factories in Scotland. We should aim more at inspiring—and by "inspiring" I mean by giving assistance of all kinds—the existing Scottish firms to go in for the production of articles which are in constant demand, particularly car components. If this were done many of the difficulties and some of the friction which today exists in Scottish industry would disappear.

6.25 p.m.

Mr. Alick Buchanan-Smith (North Angus and Mearns)

I hope that the hon. Member for Dunbartonshire, East (Mr. Bence) will forgive me if I do not comment on all the remarks he made, particularly about the motor car industry, because I do not possess the inside knowledge of that industry which he obviously possesses. I join with him in deprecating those who tend to build up to an unrealistic height the industrial troubles which we have in Scotland. Our record for good industrial relations is extremely good and when troubles—which, of course, arise from time to time—are blown up out of all proportion to what they are that merely hinders the efforts of those who are trying to attract industry to Scotland.

Industries which have moved away from the central belt and have gone to the East Coast—Fife, and further north to Angus and Aberdeenshire—have found an extraordinarily good reputation among the local workforce for good industrial relations. Firms which have been established in Scotland from overseas, such as the Euclid branch of General Motors at Peterhead, have found a wonderful record of industrial relations.

From what has been said in the debate today it is obvious that in our discussions of the economic problems of Scotland there is a danger of over-generalising, particularly when we speak of the health of the industrial economy of Scotland. Although things are booming in certain parts of England, particularly in the South-East, the Government are, nevertheless, criticised by those who live in areas which are not booming. The same applies in Sotland. Although the central belt—on which most of the discussion has concentrated—is doing quite well, we are right to criticise the Government on behalf of the remoter areas which are not prospering to nearly the same extent. If we do not register this criticism there is a danger that any Government will bask in a sense of complacency while parts of the country, such as the North-East, the Highlands and Borders are shivering outside in the cold.

The generalisation which is often made in debates was shown clearly in some of the debates we had in the Scottish Grand Committee on certain aspects of Scottish industry in recent weeks. I will give some examples, drawn from the discussion we had of the fishing industry, with which I am particularly concerned from a constituency point of view. The general expression of view when discussing that industry was that everything in the garden was lovely. This is not so, particularly for certain sections of the shellfish industry. When I have talked to the Scottish Office about the difficulties of this industry I have been told that things are booming. That is said because one section of the industry is booming—that which deals in the luxury trade end of it— lobsters and scampi, the Norway lobster. However, other aspects of the shellfish industry, particularly the crab section, are not nearly so healthy.

Sections of the shellfish industry which rely on the ordinary lobster, and the Norway lobster are not in the same economic position as the sections which depend on crab fishing. When we consider the localities which depend on crab fishing we find that they are not doing nearly as well. Indeed, many men are leaving that part of the industry.

During recent months several of my hon. Friends have been impressing on the Government the problem facing some of the remoter areas of Scotland in relation to the transportation of fish to the markets in England. We are often given the reply, "All you need do is co-operate and get together to hire vans from British Railways and thereby send full van-loads to the markets". We are told that by taking such action we will get economic rates for the transportation of fish.

That sort of answer completely ignores the special problems of the industry. The section of the industry with which I am particularly concerned has up to now sent its produce to market by passenger train. In some cases, with rail closures, that will no longer be possible and in any case, even when stations are not closed, the rates are being pushed up too high, thus forcing up the costs. The answer which we get ignores the small consignments and variety of markets and cannot possibly apply in any practical sense to the people of these remoter areas.

For example, our trade in salmon is very important, but a whole year's catch, including that from angling, would fill only about 150 railway wagons. That demonstrates how out of touch the Government can be when they give us this kind of answer. The increase in railway charges has meant that one relatively small concern in my constituency which processes fish has found its transport costs increased overnight by £3,000 a year. For Scotland as a whole that is not a great deal of money, but for the individual concern it can mean the difference between its survival and having to close the doors.

When we also learn that in the district concerned it is one of only two major employers of labour, we can appreciate the tremendous economic effects on the livelihood of everyone in the neighbourhood. These localised problems do not drastically affect the economy of Scotland as a whole, but they are vital to individual districts, small towns and villages, and can make the difference between their economic life and death.

In Kincardineshire, I have the small village of Gourdon, where, in the last few weeks, because of bad fishing conditions and the transport difficulties I have outlined, five boats have been taken from the sea, and more than 30 men have left this livelihood. A few of the men have found employment elsewhere in the district, but a great many of them, particularly the energetic and enterprising, have joined the Merchant Navy. We do not wane that kind of drain if we can avoid it. I therefore urge the Government to think not only in terms of national problems, but in terms of villages and small communities. They must remember that it takes all these different parts to make up the whole.

I support what has been said from this side about industry away from the central belt. I will not enlarge on the problems of the agricultural and fishing industries, because we have discussed them very fully in the Scottish Grand Committee. Nevertheless, we have to remember that they are not only important for their own sakes, but because of their service industries and the other types of employment that are dependent on them for their health.

The textile industry, particularly that part based on jute, is also important to the North-East of Scotland. It's problems, and its adjustment to international competition, have been recognised in the designation of Dundee as a development district. As a result of Government policy over the last number of years a tremendous amount of diversification has taken place in the Dundee area, and I pay tribute to what has been done there.

But that has not happened in other areas in Angus, Kincardineshire and up into Aberdeen where the problem is no less than that in Dundee. We have villages and small towns whose whole economy is utterly dependent on the health of the jute industry, but because those areas do not qualify for development grants under the Local Employ- ment Act there is not the kind of diversification and the new industries coming in that would so greatly help their economy.

Some individual firms in my constituency are showing considerable enterprise in trying out new processes and new fibres which are giving a greater variety and offering greater prospects for the future, but I ask the Government to show more concern for the jute and textile industry in areas outwith Dundee so as to help them to diversify their economy.

Very often when discussing industry in Scotland, particularly away from the central belt, we talk far too much in terms of trying to bring in completely new industries but, as was pointed out in the White Paper on development last September, the kind of industries for which we want help in the North-East are those based on what we already have; in other words, industries based on agriculture and on fishing. In particular, I would mention the food processing industries.

As transport costs go up, it is cheaper, and a great advantage, to be able to send food into England or overseas—and a good deal of Scottish food goes overseas—in processed form, as unit costs of transport are thereby automatically reduced. Already in the North-East we have processing plants for fish and meat. In my constituency, just south of Aberdeen, one of the national meat concerns has started constructing a meat-processing plant. That is the kind of development we all want to see, it helps other industry, it is a natural sort of industry, and the labour there is very adaptable to it.

Away from the central belt it is not unemployment but depopulation that is the far greater problem. I do not intend to repeat the arguments advanced in the Scottish Grand Committee by the hon. Member for Roxburgh, Selkirk and Peebles (Mr. David Steel), and repeated this afternoon to some extent by my right hon. Friend the Member for Berwick and East Lothian (Sir W. Anstruther-Gray), but, as the Secretary of State knows, and certainly as the President of the Board of Trade knows, over the last nine months I have been doing all I can to bring home to them how serious the depopulation is in these areas.

It is important that the Government should act before it is too late. I have heard a lot of lip-service paid to the problem, and a lot of sympathy and correspondence and meetings with Ministers, but very little appears to be done. I appreciate that legislation may be needed to alter the designation of development districts, but I must warn the Government that if action is not soon taken it may be too late. Once depopulation goes beyond a certain stage, it is very difficult to get people to return, and the cost of trying to build up an area again could be far greater than that of preventing the rot from setting in. The cost of prevention would be far less than the cost of cure.

In conclusion, I would say that the treatment of depopulation is not just a matter of bringing in new industries, but of helping and encouraging existing industries. Industries in these areas of depopulation outwith the development districts do not have the same encouragement to expand when they want to. There are two firms in my constituency, both of which I have mentioned to the Secretary of State, each of which has developed new processes but each is a branch of a national concern. When it is desired to put those developments into production the Boards have the choice of letting the development take place in North-East Scotland or in branch factories elsewhere in Great Britain. It is quite natural that the managements will want to site the production work where they will get development grants for the buildings and for the installation of the equipment and machinery. We are thereby missing out on getting this kind of development; it is going to areas where firms get the benefit of grants.

Training is another problem that faces such firms. One of the greatest difficulties experienced by a machine tool firm in my constituency is that of having to train labour to the skill required because the necessary skilled labour is not available in the surrounding district. Out of a work force of about 380, it has to take in each year eight to 10 apprentices. The National Cash Register firm in Dundee, where there are other firms of a similar type, with a labour force of about 4,000 only requires to take in about 25 apprentices each year.

The reason this firm in my constituency has to take so many apprentices every year is that it loses many and does not gain from the same type of industry in the area in the same proportion as it loses. When people leave such a firm after apprenticeship they rarely come back to it. This firm has a particularly good record of labour relations. The difficulty has nothing to do with labour relations, but to the fact that the firm does not gain reciprocally from other firms in the area.

That is why I hope that under the Industrial Training Act and the board which has been set up for the industry firms of this type which have to bear an unfair burden of training costs may be helped with more than the proportion of contributions which they pay to the board. That would be of great assistance to firms of the type I have mentioned.

Finally, I mention the question of technological industry in Scotland. Over the last few years the record under the previous Government has been a particularly fine one. In the four counties where these new industries have chiefly been set up—Fife, Midlothian, Lanarkshire and Renfrewshire—it is worth while to relate that one in every 20 employed in manufacturing industry is working on computers, automation, electronics and allied types of industry. That is a tremendous credit to the previous Government and proof that their policies are bearing fruit. It is also worth while reflecting that Scotland of all the countries in the world is the third most important maker of business machines and that it is creeping up to second place.

All this is a tremendous tribute to what the last Government achieved in building up this new kind of industry in Scotland. Not only is it a tribute to that Government, but also to the people who have come to Scotland to build up these industries. I mention especially those who have come back to Scotland from Canada and other countries, such as Dr. Pringle, of Nuclear Enterprises in Edinburgh. There is a great need to consolidate this industry and build it up still further because it has not yet reached a stage of development in which it can generate new industry of its own accord. This is where Government help can do a great deal. Through defence contract work, the Government can have a great influence on the development of this type of industry.

Because of that many of us have been disappointed about the cancellation of the TSR2. Defence considerations aside, in Scotland we lost nearly 1,000 jobs at Ferranti's for people working on that type of project. When putting new defence contracts into Scotland I asked the Government to bear in mind the needs of Scotland for this type of industry. I welcome very much the development of the D.S.I.R. in computers, which will give an impetus to this kind of industry. One of the greatest weaknesses of our new technological industry in Scotland so far has been that it is chiefly based on the assembly of components in machines or on the manufacture of components themselves and not enough has been done on research and development within the industry itself so that it can generate more industry and employment.

In conclusion, I urge that we should have closer links with the universities. Far too much work so far in industry and universities has been separated. Many people in the science departments of universities get into an ivory tower atmophere and out of touch with what is happening in industry. If we could have closer co-ordination between industry and the universities there could be a much quicker application of basic research from the laboratory to the shop floor of the factory. This would also give a greater opportunity within Scotland for the employment of graduates from universities many of whom have to go south to find work. There could be scope for this in the new universities of Strathclyde, Stirling and Dundee. Every advantage should be taken of exploiting links between universities and industry.

One thing which is needed if we are to go forward in future has been touched on by other hon. Members who have spoken in this debate. That is good transport links with places elsewhere in Britain and overseas. I especially mention air transport links, because the technological industries of which I have been speaking use air transport a great deal. The products may be small in size, but they are of very high value. If they do not have good air transport there will be a discouragement to expansion of these industries. Good air transport is important not only for sending out their products, but also for conveying those working in the industries. In the new industries concerned with electronics, computers, research and new developments there is a very fast rate of movement. Men working in them have to be able to get about quickly and to keep up to date with what is going on elsewhere.

In a time such as this, as many hon. Members who use air travel regularly will know, it is almost impossible to get a booking on a plane. It is a discouragement to this kind of industry when a booking cannot be made at short notice. Another hindrance is the lack of decision about what is to happen to the airport at Dundee. Nothing concrete seems to be decided and until we know something concrete there is a positive disincentive to attract the type of industry we want in the area.

There is also the question of having a second runway at Turnhouse. The Minister of Aviation has given some statistics, but I believe that at the time this matter was reviewed the wind happened to be in the right direction and more planes were able to land there. If statistics were taken over a longer period it would be found that the disruption of the service is greater than has been suggested. It is not just a matter of saying, "Yes, this is a good thing for the future"; we want definite word of when this project will go forward.

I urge the Government to think not only in terms of Central Scotland and of the advance factories spoken about by the President of the Board of Trade. I want them to think also of areas outside Central Scotland, especially of the smaller industries and firms which are scattered throughout the countryside. I ask them to think not only in terms of industry, but of how universities can co-operate and how transport links and air services can be improved over the whole field. Only then shall we see the full use made of the resources which Scotland has.

6.49 p.m.

Mr. Norman Buchan (Renfrew, West)

I was about to congratulate the hon. Member for North Angus and Mearns (Mr. Buchanan-Smith) when he said "in conclusion" ten minutes ago, but things have happened since. I would have compared his speech favourably with that of the right hon. Member for Argyll (Mr. Noble), who has, because of the length of the hon. Gentleman's speech, left the Chamber, so I will not elaborate on that. The hon. Gentleman's speech contained many constructive ideas about his own area. It also contained one profound blunder which has been running through the speeches made by hon. Members opposite. I refer to their failure to understand the real nature and depth of the malaise facing Scottish industry and the Scottish economy. Anybody who says that the White Paper on Scotland was a satisfactory example of planning has no concept of the real problem facing Scotland.

I have put together some figures for the guidance of hon. Members opposite. I hope that in the process of giving them something will rub off on to my own Front Bench. First, although between 1951 and 1960 the gross national product rose by 59 per cent. in Scotland, it rose by 70 per cent. in the United Kingdom as a whole. The point is that the gap which has existed is increasing. We have talked a great deal about the "have" and "have-not" nations and the underdeveloped countries, but exactly the same thing is happening in relation to our own under-developed regions: the gap is still steadily increasing.

Secondly, our growth rate was at one time comparable with that of the United Kingdom. Up to about 1954 Scotland's growth rate was comparable with that of the United Kingdom. Since then we have remained very far below. Between 1954 and 1960 our growth rate was only 9 per cent. That of the United Kingdom over that period was 18 per cent. The rate of growth for the rest of the United Kingdom doubled as compared with Scotland. This is a very real malaise which cannot possibly be answered by a piecemeal, rag-bag throwing together of projects. The speech today of the right hon. Member for Argyll reminded me of his own plan a year ago in the White Paper on Scotland. It was a throwing together of previously delivered promises.

Mr. Edward M. Taylor

The hon. Gentleman will no doubt have read the White Paper issued last year which pointed out that in the first quarter of 1964 industrial output in Scotland had risen by 9 per cent.

Mr. Buchan

This is true. However, the failure to keep pace with development in the manufacturing industries is the most serious aspect of this. Of course output has improved over the last year or two. I advise the hon. Gentleman to have a look at the report of the Glasgow University Research Unit which deals with this matter in much more detail than hon. Members opposite have devoted to it today.

The problem is, to bring in the magic term, the growth industries. Up to two or three years ago we were developing at a growth rate of just under 2 per cent. Obviously we will need to attain a growth rate of about 6 per cent. in Scotland if we are to remain comparable with the rent of the United Kingdom. Emigration has been mentioned. There has been talk of productivity. But there are also the social effects of this on the economic position, the earning position of our people.

Hon. Members opposite have expressed satisfaction with the White Paper of last year and with the bringing of the motor car industry to Scotland, but it is well to keep certain figures in mind. The Ministry of Labour Gazette shows that for October 1964 the wages paid to workers engaged in motor vehicle manufacture in Scotland were 63s. 4d. a week less than the national average. In the Midlands they were 28s. 4d. above the national average, which makes a difference of over £4. These are the social figures to be borne in mind when considering the Scottish problem.

There is therefore a deep malaise. It will not be solved, either, by the type of story we heard today from my right hon. Friend the President of the Board of Trade, good as it was. I was delighted to hear of the number of advance factories. I was delighted to hear of the increased investment. I was delighted to hear that the Board of Trade is now responsible for £23 million worth of industrial sites and factories. But this reflects only the equivalent of one new private industry. Rootes itself spent £23 million on one factory. Therefore, we cannot take much satisfaction from what my right hon. Friend said here.

The problem will not be solved until there is a proper concept of planning. This will mean, as the hon. Member for North Angus and Mearns said, a proper approach to the technological question in Scotland. The hon. Gentleman seemed to be very pleased that in four counties one in four of the workers in manufacturing industries were involved in computerised industry. However, we are still seeing a steady drift from Scotland of our best graduates. In 1962 only six of the 43 honours graduates in science from Glasgow University, which is the most locally based of all the Scottish universities, got their first job in Scotland. We are exporting the very best of our young people to the south.

We are reaching a climactic moment now, because with the expected rundown—at any rate, the promised rundown—on defence expenditure, one would presume that our technological resources would be moving over to civil expenditure. It is therefore, as the Scottish Council correctly states, the moment when we should be applying this in the interests of regional development and regional planning. If we do not use this moment, the existing research institutes, in the interests of speed, will be used to develop civil technological projects. We must use this moment to bring our technological resources in for regional development.

We need technology, not only in new industries in Scotland, but in the traditional industries. We have heard much about confidence in shipbuilding. I hope that is right. The order books are very full. However, for the year ending March, 1965, orders are down by ½ million tons from the order books as they were in March, 1964. The order books are very full at the moment, but the new orders have dropped by ½ million tons over 12 months. Therefore, we should not be too confident. Of all our traditional industries, this is where research and technology must be applied.

The problem we are facing in competition with Japan is not so much cheap labour. That shibboleth can be knocked on the head. It is the cost-effective of the labour, the proper utilisation of the labour by technological backing. A simple illustration shows this. Britain produces about 40 honours graduates in naval architecture a year. Of these about 20 come from overseas. In other words, we return to the shipbuilding industry about 20 honours graduates in naval architecture per year. Japan produces 260, ten times as many as we retain, and uses them at all levels in the shipyard and not only at the planning level—hull design and construction. We do not spend nearly enough research money on aspects other than hull design and steam turbines, which use so much of our research money. We should establish a proper academic research unit on transportation, not only to study the problems of hull design and propulsion, but new forms of shipping altogether, such as what have been called iron sampans.

We must look very closely at the nature of our economic planning. This is where I would part company with my right hon. Friend the President of the Board of Trade. It seems that for far too long we have thought that the main requirement is the infrastructure—the provision of infrastructure—the provision of roads and environments to induce industry to go to a region and the provision of subsidies to help it to go there. What is needed before this kind of economic planning is industrial economic planning, working out what kind of industries are necessary, not only to provide jobs in themselves but to provide growth around them.

It may be that the solution for Scotland is a new car company like Fords. But it is also true that the motor car companies which have already come have not properly generated fresh industry around them. We may be looking at this the wrong way. If we look at it only from the infrastructure point of view, we shall continue to look at it the wrong way. We have inherited the concept that we can spend money on roads, advance factories and new communities, but for some reason we cannot open industries and run them ourselves. We are prepared to provide the infrastructure and the financial subsidy to private industry, but we still fight shy of the beginnings of new publicly owned industry ourselves. We must recognise that industry is an integral part of social life, for which the Government are responsible. We have to make a very rapid start on publicly owned, research-based industry in Scotland.

I welcome the suggestion for closer contact with the universities. I extend the suggestion. I should like to see permission given to the University of Strathclyde not only to be involved in development research projects for industry but to be given the contracts to begin the production units and carry on the development itself. This, I think, should be done. It is rather on the lines of what the M.I.T. in Massachusetts has achieved in the Boston Valley. We need technology and a new concept of how to use it.

We also need to provide economic tools, because, despite the existence of the Scottish Statistical Office, we do not know nearly enough. For example, we do not know the input/output equation and how much any investment in one particular region will give in return, within that region, in terms of our gross domestic product, and so on.

I turn now to a question raised by the hon. Member for Dunbartonshire, East (Mr. Bence). Renfrewshire is one area in Scotland where we have the beginnings of a proper industrial contact, but it is only the basis. It takes the form of the two linked factories of Roots and Pressed Steel at Linwood, where the assembly line of one is geared, timed and computerised to the car body production of the other. However, what has happened in the last week is that a competing car firm, B.M.C., are now trying to take over Pressed Steel, and we are left with the dangerous situation that one car-producing firm is having its bodies produced by a factory which may be under the direct control of a competing firm; and, remember, it is the one passenger-vehicle car factory in Scotland. I want to ask the Board of Trade to deal with the question, because it is not only monopoly, although that is dangerous enough, but a monopoly of a particularly dangerous kind. A whole new community depends upon it. My constituents are living in a new town which depends on the success of those factories, and I for one will not tolerate any take-over which will affect the people in my constituency in this way.

If private industry cannot solve the problem with the guidance of the Board of Trade, then sterner public measures may be necessary. I would like someone from the Board of Trade to reply on the point before the night is out. It may be that the public involvement will be some form of public control. It must be urgently reviewed by the Board of Trade, and I look forward to receiving their answer and getting some satisfaction on it before the debate finishes.

7.4 p.m.

Mr. David Steel (Roxburgh, Selkirk and Peebles)

I have followed with interest what might be described as the lecture given by the hon. Member for Renfrew, West (Mr. Buchan). On the last occasion on which I heard him speak, he was, by force of time, limited to four minutes. However, he has made up for it today. I have followed some of his arguments with interest, particularly those relating to his constituency. However, I would like to turn to a slightly different tack and deal with the Scottish Development Department Report for 1964, which I notice some hon. Members clutching.

Last year, my right hon. Friend the Member for Orkney and Shetland (Mr. Grimond) described the 1963 Report as a rag bag of odd statistics affecting Scotland thrown together in a hotch-potch of statistics". This year's Report is no different. It may be that as three-quarters of it covers the time of the previous Government, no change has yet been brought into being. But I would like to know whether in future the Reports of the Scottish Development Department might be about Scottish development. Last year's contained the interesting information that the attention of local authorities had been drawn in a circular by the Department to the Public Lavatories (Turnstiles) Act, 1963. This year we are not let down and are assured that another circular draws attention to the need to provide washing facilities in public conveniences. All that is very interesting and laudable, but it has no relevance to Scottish development as such. It may be that some reorganisation of the Department itself is in mind, in which case we would like to hear about it.

This year's Report does not deal, for example, with questions of industry or transport at all, other than roads. I hope the Secretary of State will have something to say tonight about the development of light aircraft and helicopters and say if he can add anything further to what he has told us in the Scottish Grand Committee about his negotiations with the Ministry of Transport on the various railway closures still pending on Scotland, because these seem to be of prime importance to Scotland.

There is one matter on which I would like to dwell for a moment, and that is the question of the provision of hospital facilities. I have raised the matter once or twice with particular reference to the need in my own constituency for a new hospital. However, it is not just a constituency need, but a general need in Scotland. The last Government shelved the responsibility for the provision of hospital development on to the regional hospital boards, but that is not good enough. If we are to have hospital development, the Government's own decisions must govern the decisions of the Boards, because their decisions are very much tied by what the Government themselves decide in the very important economic field. There is the feeling that by passing over responsibility to the regional boards, the Government escape from their own responsibilities. I regard hospital facilities as one of the vital factors in any comprehensive regional development that may be taking place in Scotland.

The President of the Board of Trade dealt almost exclusively with progress in Central Scotland, and he assured us that the Secretary of State would be talking about the other areas. I hope he may be able to mention this particular point.

On page 29 of the Scottish Development Department's Report for 1964, we have a reference to industrialised house building. That is a matter of prime importance. We have still a higher percentage of unfit houses in Scotland than in England. The rate of house building in the last period of the previous Government, between 1959 and 1964, was lower than in their previous term of office, from 1955 to 1959. With the building industry being fully stretched, industrialised house building is of particular importance to Scotland. What the Report does not say and what I would like to know, is whether any attempts are being made not only to provide industrialised house building for Scotland but to manufacture the units for house building in Scotland. Here is an industry which Scotland ought to latch on to quickly. Many of our old industries have left derelict premises which, if used, could provide the amount of space required for the manufacture of housing units. If we are to make a serious attack on the housing situation in Scotland, we might at the same time make use of an industry providing new employment and new techniques in Scotland.

On page 20 of the Report, reference is made to the development plan for Jedburgh as being one example of how the Scottish Development Department has been working to produce local development plans and to preserve amenities in Scotland. It is an excellent plan, but it will remain only a plan on paper unless some cash can be provided. Under Section 6 of the 1962 Housing Act, the Secretary of State has powers to give additional funds to local authorities where they require to make additional expenditure on local authority housing in order to provide a high standard of amenity in places of historical or architectural interest. In the Jedburgh Development Plan, clearly the town council hope to make use of the Secretary of State's powers under the Act, and they have applied accordingly. However, I am a little alarmed to hear that the Scottish Development Department have turned down a similar application from the burgh of Selkirk. I have written to the Secretary of State, but I hope that tonight he will give me an encouraging reply. While we want housing development, it is very important that in the ancient and historic burghs up and down Scotland we make use of existing legislation and encourage local authorities to develop and preserve amenities for the future by granting them the extra funds to produce higher standards of design and finish where necessary.

We did not hear from the President of the Board of Trade—perhaps it was not surprising—anything about devolution to Scotland. I would have hoped that the new Government would perhaps be rather more sympathetic to Liberal policy, at least in principle, on the importance of devolution to Scotland, and that as much power as possible should be concentrated in Scotland. It is interesting to note that the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, one of the last focal points of the expression of public opinion in Scotland, has come out in favour of devolving more power to Scotland. As indeed did the Church and Nation report. Yet we see no sign of this devolution taking place. We see instead what I regard as the most regrettable decision about the location of the headquarters of the Forestry Commission, which, of all things, would be suitable for location in Scotland, but which are to be situated in the south in England.

No doubt, if we had had more power residing in Scotland than there was, or is, the work of the North of Scotland Hydro-Electricity Board would not have been held up in the way it has been. The lack of decision is extremely disturbing. My hon. Friend the Member for Inverness (Mr. Russell Johnston) has in the last six months pressed the Secretary of State over this, and it is the view of my hon. Friends on this bench and myself that the success of the old established scheme in Galloway, has shown that capital investment in hydro-electricity is a most worth-while investment which will give us a beneficial return at the end of the day.

We heard something from the President of the Board of Trade about the three bases of the Government's policy in Scotland. He said, first, that the Government believed in national economic planning and that this would have to take into account Scotland's needs. But here again, lack of any power devolved upon Scotland has led in the past to an economic policy being pursued for Great Britain as a whole, and absolutely contrary to the policy required at that particular time in Scotland. There is still no sign that the policy of the present Government will be any different. He also mentioned the question of public offices being transferred to Scotland. I have mentioned for example the Forestry Commission's offices. They have not been transferred to Scotland, contrary to the declared public policy, which has not been pursued.

I should like to ask the Secretary of State to elaborate a little tonight on what he has already told us of the work of the Planning Council for Scotland. He mentioned in the last debate which we had that he was considering—or they were considering, I am not quite sure which—setting up ad hoc local committees. It was not quite clear from his statement whether this means that the planning council itself is to divide into smaller units or whether it is going to have in the areas locally drawn committees to advise the Council or sections of the Council. If it is the last method, which, I take it, it is, then I would ask him whether there is any possibility, in the composition of the local committees, of his considering that they ought to include the local Members of Parliament for the areas. It would be valuable to bring the Members of Parliament, regardless of party, into the work of committees considering the economic planning of the regions for which they hold some responsibilities.

I do not raise it as a most urgent point, but I was a little disturbed that the Vice-Chairman of the Planning Council, Mr. Middleton, recently visited my constituency and made various statements and I did not know about it until after he had gone. I make no complaint about this, but I think it a situation which might be amended. When Ministers visit areas they inform the respective Members of Parliament of their visits, and I think there will be some danger to the successful machinery of the Planning Council if Members of Parliament are left out of all discussions.

I should like to hear from the Secretary of State tonight that he and his colleagues will continue their policy which they have been pursuing of visiting the different parts of Scotland. I have noted them, and I am waiting to see when the right hon. Gentleman will turn up in my area. Certainly, he and his colleagues have been visiting many parts, and I think it is useful that they should see for themselves the different problems in the different parts of Scotland, and I hope they will continue to do so.

Finally I want to turn to what I think should be an important matter, and that is what the Opposition have to say about Scottish development. I say it is important because none of us can tell for certain when there is to be a General Election, and I think we are entitled to know what the official Opposition would do in relation to Scottish development if they were to find themselves back in power. They are asking us tonight to vote a reduction in the salary of the Secretary of State. I take it, therefore, that if the right hon. Member for Argyll (Mr. Noble) were back in office he would pursue some different policy.

I listened to his speech. He gave us many examples of what other people had said last year, but the only positive suggestions he put forward were repetitions of and quotations from what my right hon. Friend the Leader of the Liberal Party said in the debate last year, and when he had come to the end of his selection of references to other hon. Members speeches, to my surprise, he came to an end of his own speech. He did not give us a single positive policy of his own. He had nothing to say. Nothing at all was said about what the Conservative Party would do for Scotland if it found itself back in power. I would ask whoever from the Opposition is to sum up the debate to make clear what it is, if anything, the Conservative Party would do.

My hon. and right hon. Friends and I have derived some amusement of late from the activities of the prospective Unionist candidates in our constituencies. I am bound to say that the Unionist Party in Scotland seems to have as much difficulty in organising its affairs as it had in running Scotland. For instance, one of my hon. Friends finds that he suddenly has no Unionist opponent at all, while another one finds he has two.

The Deputy-Chairman (Sir Samuel Storey)

Order. The hon. Member is getting far from the Estimates.

Mr. Steel

I am grateful to you, Sir Samuel, for calling me back from the path of temptation.

However, what is relevant is, what is the Conservative Party's policy now for Scotland? I read a very interesting report about this in The Scotsman, about a new policy for Scotland produced by four young Unionist candidates—the new voice of the party in Scotland, presumably. Among their suggestions was that the definition of development districts had been drawn far too narrowly, was far too confined, and that it should be extended to include areas of depopulation. Is this the policy of the Conservative Party now in Scotland? Is that party now really saying what the Liberals said in 1959—when we moved an Amendment to the Local Employment Act here, which was supported by the Labour Party at the time? Are they saying that what they said in 1959 was a mistake? Is that what they are saying? If so—

Mr. Anthony Stodart (Edinburgh, West) rose

Mr. Steel

There will be an opportunity for you to reply at the end of the debate.

The Deputy-Chairman

There will be no opportunity for me to reply at the end of the debate.

Mr. Steel

I beg your pardon, Sir Samuel. There will be an opportunity for the Conservative Front Bench to reply.

Or is the policy not that? Is it the policy which the right hon. Member for Wolverhampton, South-West (Mr. Powell) in his book published recently said—that, of course, all this talk about regional planning was really a lot of nonsense and we should allow people to drift to where there were jobs? It is a point of view, but is that Conservative policy? It is no use dismissing—

Mr. Buchanrose

Mr. Steel

No. I cannot give way.

Hon. Members

Give way.

Mr. Steel

Let me finish this. It is no use dismissing this as the views of the right hon. Gentleman only, because in the Spectator last week the right hon. Member for Enfield, West (Mr. Iain Macleod) was saying that when the next election comes the policies of the Conservative Party must to a large extent be based upon the book of the right hon. Member for Wolverhampton, South-West. Is this true in Scotland? I think we ought to have an answer to this sort of question. Now I will give way.

Mr. Buchan

The hon. Member is putting into an embarrassing position whoever will wind up for the Opposition in view of the presence behind him of the Chairman of the 1922 Committee, the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Berwick and East Lothian (Sir W. Anstruther-Gray).

Mr. Steel

I had not noticed the right hon. Gentleman was there. Since he is, I would say that I enjoyed his speech and agreed entirely with it.

Now I have rather lost track of what I was saying, thanks to that intervention.

I put a number of questions to the Secretary of State and to the spokesman for the Official Opposition. There is no doubt that people in Scotland are still interested in the plans which the Labour Party is hatching. Most people in Scotland have accepted that the Government found themselves in a difficult situation when they came to office, but the hard luck story will not last forever. The people of Scotland are interested in their plans and in what the Secretary of State has to say. They are also interested to hear whether the Conservative Party has learned anything in opposition and whether the policy which it is working out really is a new policy for Scotland and whether the Conservatives realise that no improvement in party organisation in Scotland and no change of leadership will affect Scotland without a change of policy.

We have watched with approval the passage of the legislation for the setting up of a Highland Development Board. The Government have still a great deal to do for many parts of Scotland. They have been in office for only a short time, but we should like to spur them on. We have tried to spur them on by our criticisms and hopes. In a further effort to spur them on, we on the Liberal benches will support them in the Lobby tonight.

7.22 p.m.

Mr. William Hamilton (Fife, West)

I was glad to hear the last remark of the hon. Member for Roxburgh, Selkirk and Peebles (Mr. David Steel). He was a little unfair to the former Secretary of State for Scotland, the right hon. Member for Argyll (Mr. Noble). The right hon. Gentleman, as of this moment, is labouring under very great strain. He is without a leader, he is without a policy, and he had to say something. We therefore had 20 minutes of bellyaching from the right hon. Gentleman, with not one iota of alternative policy put before us. He talked about the Government not having done anything in nine months. One thing which they have done, but which the right hon. Gentleman did not mention, has been to put well on the way to the Statute Book the Highland and Islands Development (Scotland) Bill, which is probably the most Socialistic Measure and, therefore, the most realistic Measure which has been passed in this century for the benefit of Scotland.

The right hon. Member for Argyll referred a great deal to the remarks made in the debate last year. I also want to refer to certain remarks made in that debate by the favourite, as I think him, for the Tory leadership stakes, the right hon. Member for Bexley (Mr. Heath). He then talked about 40,000 jobs being in the pipeline. This was the pre-election battle cry, but apparently the people of Scotland did not appreciate very much what the Conservatives had done for Scotland during the previous 13 years, or they did not know it, or it had not been done, or it was a case of too little, too late. Anyhow, the people of Scotland gave right hon. Members opposite a decisive answer in that election.

The right hon. Member for Bexley said that 38,000 of those jobs were in the development districts. I am glad that my right hon. Friend the President of the Board of Trade this afternoon shrank from using that expression, "the pipeline". In the course of the year that expression became a dirty joke in Scottish debates. References to it were almost invariably greeted with jeering cynicism, and in the course of the election this cynicism and doubt seemed to be confirmed at Glenrothes, when the Cadco project collapsed.

I should like to say a few words about that project because it is of more than local importance. Since the project collapsed two inquiries have been going on, one conducted by the Under-Secretary of State for Scotland, and the other by the Board of Trade on the question whether the Companies Act had been infringed. I believe that the Under-Secretary's inquiries are now complete and that the report of the legal inquiry is now in the hands of the President of the Board of Trade.

Although I have no means of knowing it, I should not be surprised at all if criminal proceedings against certain individuals result from the Board of Trade inquiry. In any case, I should like to know at the end of the debate what the state of play is at the moment and whether, in fact, the report of the inquiry is in the hands of my right hon. Friend the President of the Board of Trade and what action he proposes to take on it.

I think that my hon. Friend's inquiries are completed and I want to direct a few questions at him. What progress is being made towards the disposal of the piggeries and the factories? Can my hon. Friend give any estimate of the loss of public money involved in the project? What steps have been or are to be taken to prevent a recurrence of this kind of situation? Has my hon. Friend established any departmental responsibility? I was about to say "irresponsibility", because I think that that is the apt word.

I have strong reasons for thinking that undue risks were taken by the Scottish Development Department for the purpose of serving the purely political and electoral purposes of the last Government. They wanted to tell the country that an enormous project, with 2,000 jobs, was to be set up in Glenrothes and they took undue risk with public money. I am merely asking my hon. Friend questions. I have always had suspicions from the beginning that there were attempts to sweep certain things under the carpet. I hope that my hon. Friend will give a categorical assurance that no such covering up will be done, both with the departmental inquiry conducted by my hon. Friend and the Board of Trade inquiry into certain aspects of the company's activities.

Mr. Noble

I entirely agree with the hon. Member's hope that his hon. Friend the Under-Secretary of State will not try to sweep anything under the carpet, but the hon. Member said that he had strong reasons for believing that the Scottish Development Department had used this as a method of promoting party political ends. This is a statement which should not go unchallenged in this Committee, because in my view the Scottish Development Department has been completely and absolutely impartial. It is not political and I am certain that the hon. Member's statement is untrue.

Mr. Hamilton

I certainly withdraw any reflection on civil servants. It is quite improper for me to make any aspersions on them, but I make the aspersion on the right hon. Gentleman and his Government that they were responsible for taking risks with public money for party political purposes at a time when their political fortunes were at a very low ebb.

Mr. Ian MacArthur (Perth and East Perthshire)


Mr. Hamilton

We shall see.

I leave that project and direct my remarks to the coal industry in Scotland in general and in Fife in particular. Our fears in central West Fife, and elsewhere in Scotland, were not allayed by the statement made by the Minister of Power on 1st July. He then said that £400 million of the Coal Board's capital debt was to be written off. This in itself was welcome and long overdue, because the industry had geared itself to an annual target figure of 240 million tons of coal whereas last year the production was rather less than 200 million tons. The statement by the Minister of Power was designed to enable the industry to speed up the closure of uneconomic pits without running the risk of increased prices, which would seriously injure the competitive position of the coal industry in the production of the nation's energy.

The overall aim of the Government is quite clear, although it has never been specifically stated. There are deep suspicions that it is to secure an annual average production of less than 200 million tons over the entire industry. How much less than 200 million tons we do not know, but the indications are that it will be less, and that that target figure will be produced from fewer, more efficient, mechanised and profitable pits, presumably leading to increased wages, better morale, and a sense of confidence within the industry which is not very apparent at the moment.

So far as it goes, this is an ambitious and in many ways laudable objective. Clearly, as a competitive trading nation we simply cannot afford to use any other than the cheapest sources of energy. But before it can be said with any certainty that one fuel is cheaper than another many factors must be taken into account. We do not just look at the cost per ton to the consumer and compare two lots of prices; we take into account a whole lot of other considerations. For example, if we assume that the coal industry must be run down on the basis of price to consumers we must calculate, somehow, the resulting social costs to mining communities—the cost of retraining men who are declared redundant, or of moving them to other parts of Great Britain, or the question of redundancy payments.

All these things must be taken into account. If we are to place increased reliance on imported oil we have to take into account not only the short-term but the long-term price; we have to take into account the effect on the balance of payments, the cost of military protection of overseas sources of supply, the strategic implications, in the case of war or military adventure, or political upheaval, in the sources of supply.

Recently we read of the rapid development of power production from the advanced gas-cooled reactor. This poses an enormously serious problem for the future of the coal industry. The last Annual Report of the South of Scotland Electricity Board gave figures which showed that from 1955 to 1964 the electricity industry was the only consumer of coal in Scotland which had increased its purchases—from just over 3 million tons in 1955 to over 5½ million tons in 1964. It currently takes more than 27 per cent. of total Scottish coal production.

The new Langannet Station, in Fife, will consume 6 million tons of coal a year when it is in full production in 1971, providing employment for 10,000 Scottish miners. This is the importance of the electricity industry to the coal industry. Mr. Norman Elliott, the Chairman of the South of Scotland Electricity Board, was reported—I believe in The Scotsman of 18th June, 1965—as saying that on economic grounds his board were thinking in terms of nuclear-powered generation from 1970 onwards. Only political intervention at the highest level, or a completely unforeseen revolution in coalmining, can alter the dire and inevitable effects this will have on coal. The heading of that article was, "Scots Coal Industry May Be Doomed". Mr. Elliott went on to say that the Scottish electricity industry would still be consuming 10 million tons of Scottish coal in 1971, which will be two-thirds of total Scottish production, but that thereafter there would be a fall in the demand of the electricity industry for Scottish coal.

In the meantime, presumably, gas will have been discovered in the North Sea—at least, I hope so. Much as I seek to defend the coal industry, I hope that we will discover cheaper sources of fuel, and if we find them in the North Sea so much the better.

But the obvious implications for coal are extremely serious. It will certainly mean a smaller industry, employing fewer men. The prospect for the mining communities in central West Fife will become particularly grave unless very urgent remedial action is taken now. Scotland has a disproportionately high share of the total number of uneconomic pits in Great Britain. Many of these pits are in central West Fife—in the constituencies of my hon. Friend the Member for Dunfermline Burghs (Mr. Adam Hunter), my hon. Friend the Member for Kirkcaldy Burghs (Mr. Gourlay) and myself.

During the last few years the mining industry has received two hammer blows. First, two or three years ago we had the collapse of the Rothes project, on which great hopes had been placed. This was not through any fault of management; it was purely unforeseen geological difficulties which put paid to that project. More recently, again for geological reasons, there has been the imminent closure of the Bowhill Colliery, employing about 1,200 men.

In that context I return to the statement of the Minister of Power on 1st July. He clearly anticipated some of the difficulties which must arise through an accelerated rate of pit closures. He announced that discussions were to take place between the Government and the coal industry to provide special funds to speed the disappearance of uneconomic collieries. The right hon. Gentleman said that these funds were to be used to accelerate the provision of alternative industrial developments in the areas mainly affected and also to assist the industry in meeting the social and human costs arising from this programme."—[OFFICIAL RFPORT, 1st July, 1965; Vol. 715, c. 838–9.] The right hon. Gentleman promised a White Paper later—I do not know how much later—plus legislation, perhaps in the next Session, on the National Coal Board's borrowing powers.

I want to put a few questions to which I hope we shall have answers, if not in this debate in a subsequent debate, or by letter from my right hon. Friend after consultations with the Minister of Power. First, will the funds to which my right hon. Friend referred be provided by the Exchequer or by the Coal Board? I hope that they will be provided by the Exchequer. I hope that they will not be a charge on the industry because the social consequences of speeding up closures are a national responsibility which it would be unfair to place on the shoulders of the industry.

Secondly what figure have the Government in mind when they talk about this special fund, and how will it be disbursed? What criteria will be used in sharing out as between one area and another? Thirdly, how can such funds accelerate the provision of "alternative industrial development", an expression which the Minister used? The Board of Trade alone has the statutory powers to encourage and steer industry to such areas. Have the Government in mind to arm the Board of Trade with additional powers, or are financial inducements to be offered to industrialists in addition to those for which the Board of Trade already has power?

Fourthly, who is to assess the scale of the social and human costs involved? I hope that the assessment will be generous. Whenever a pit closes, the cry goes up that men will be absorbed in other pits in the area. Very often they are not. Even if they are, they are absorbed at very much lower wages. In any case, a man of 50 or over finds it extremely difficut to get another job. He is not mobile in terms either of getting a new job or of geographical mobility. These men, particularly the older men, ought to be treated on an extremely generous scale.

I want also to touch on the subject of the clearance of derelict sites. There are many such sites in the industrial areas, sores of the capitalist era, when the owners turned the earth inside out and left the scars for the people to live with for the rest of their lives. We have a lot of them in Fife. Fife County Council has, I think, been one of the most progressive authorities in the United Kingdom in clearing derelict sites. At the moment, it gets an 85 per cent. grant for it. It was 100 per cent. under the Labour Government's legislation of 1948, and in the last few months there has been almost a promise that the grant will be restored to 100 per cent. It may not be opportune to do that at the moment, but I would ask my right hon. Friend to consider the desirability of doing this on a differential basis, giving the 100 per cent. rate to areas like central West Fife, where the problem is most acute. I hope that he will consider that.

The hon. Member for North Angus and Mearns (Mr. Buchanan-Smith) referred to improvements in air transport. We had a visit here by Mr. Robinson, of the Scottish Council, who referred to the importance of getting direct flights from Scotland to the Continent. He pointed out that there is only one direct flight from Glasgow to Paris, and no other direct flight at all. The President of the Board of Trade referred this afternoon to the vital importance of exports. According to Mr. Robertson, exports from Scotland to Europe are running at about £130 million a year, and he pointed out, very aptly, that if we could get a 1 per cent. increase in exports it would be equal to another 1,000 jobs.

If we could get direct flights from Scotland to Europe, the chances of getting that kind of increase would improve, and, consequently, the prospect of new jobs would improve. I hope that my right hon. Friend will give an assurance that he will take this up with the air corporations to see whether this sort of improvement can be brought about.

7.45 p.m.

Mr. W. H. K. Baker (Banff)

I want to deal particularly with depopulation. I should be less than human if I did not draw attention to the state of affairs which exists within my constituency. I do this in the full knowledge that it applies equally to other areas on the periphery of the new development which is taking place in Central Scotland. With all due modesty, I think that we must admit that the achievements of the last Administration in Central Scotland were extremely noteworthy. In my submission, it is now time to look at the other areas. I understand that the Secretary of State will be paying particular attention to these outside areas when he winds up the debate.

The biggest problem at the moment in such areas relates to the school leavers who are now coming on to the labour market and the necessity for them to find employment. It is extremely difficult and almost heart-breaking. To give a measure of the problem that we have to face in such areas, I should like to quote a few figures. Between 1951 and 1961 the population of Banffshire fell by 6,000, representing about 13 to 14 per cent. of the population. Unfortunately, that depopulation has not ceased. It is estimated that between the last census and June this year 2,000 more people left. It is an accelerating process.

The result of all this is a rapidly ageing population. That is not a good state of affairs for the county or the country as a whole. We shall eventually reach the situation where we have an old population with no plumbers to mend the leaks in the pipes when they burst during the winter. We are already approaching such a situation, for the boat-building yards in the north-east of Scotland are having difficulty in recruiting skilled carpenters so that they can carry on with the orders, such as they are, which they have on their books. It is dispiriting for the parents that the school leavers have to face difficulties such as I have mentioned.

The hon. Member for Dunbartonshire, West (Mr. Steele) sounded a little cynical when he referred to the planning boards and planning councils which the Government have set up. He referred to them as yet another wheel in the coach. I think that it would be facile unduly to criticise these boards and councils, because, frankly, we do not know what they are doing or what they will turn up. I think that it would be fair for me from this side of the Committee to wish them well. But we want action, and we want it soon.

The hon. Member for Dunbartonshire, East (Mr. Bence) spoke about industrial relations. It is perfectly true to say that industrial relations in the north-east of Scotland are as good as, if not better than, anywhere else in the United Kingdom. There has not to my knowledge been a strike of any dimension there within living memory.

I want to make one or two suggestions of a general nature. One has already been touched upon by the hon. Member for Roxburgh, Selkirk and Peebles (Mr. David Steel). I refer to possible amendments to the Local Employment Acts. Those Acts have done a great deal of good—there is no question about it—but I should like to see them, as the hon. Member would, amended to take cognisance of depopulation. We have a situation in the North-East which would make it perfectly feasible for some existing firms to expand—labour is available—if they had the necessary financial inducements. That may sound like a truism, but it is, nevertheless, a fact. If we get a development district superimposed on a depopulating area, the firms will be able to expand.

Those which I should like the Under-Secretary to bear in mind are in the knitwear industry. It is essential that we get help there, or those industries will decline. It is equally important in these areas that something should be done to help the smaller burghs which have difficulty in providing facilities for additional water supplies, for example, drainage and sewerage. I should like to know from the Secretary of State, when he replies, whether he has anything in mind in this direction. Unless the facilities for expansion exist, we simply will not get it.

In that connection, also, I should like to know what is the Government's policy concerning industrial development certificates. I believe I am right in saying that in its election manifesto the party opposite said that it would do some tightening up. Does it intend to impose more stringent conditions for the issue of these certificates?

Secondly, if we are to get industry to go into the areas of depopulation, we must mount a holding operation. If not, we will not be able to obtain development; we will not be able to put industry in those areas for the simple reason that there will be nobody left there to man the industry. I suggest that the Government should take another look at the Crowther Report and that part of it which refers to county colleges. With the establishment of those county colleges, a certain amount of technical training could be carried on within the areas such as those to which I am referring. There would be a certain amount of skill available on which incoming industry could build by training the new intakes.

My hon. Friend the Member for Dumfries (Mr. Monro) spoke about day release in that connection. At present, it is virtually impossible for people in these small remote areas to get to day release courses. If we had something of the nature of a modified technical college in the form of county colleges, we would get more day release and we would have more training of the younger men and women after the normal working hours.

As my hon. Friend the Member for North Angus and Mearns (Mr. Buchanan-Smith) said, it would be of great value if attention could be paid to the setting up of industries in these areas where local products could be utilised. Naturally, representing a fishing constituency, I am very much interested in the processing of fish. I understand that there is a great market in Australia for red fish, a certain amount of which is caught in the North Sea. If we could utilise some of these products and process and can them in these areas, this would help the export market. If we could get firms interested in carrying that out, could not the Government devise further inducements to get such firms to move into the area?

Fourthly, I suggest to the Government that retraining establishments should be set up in depopulating areas. I say that advisedly because with the increased emphasis which there must be on overseas aid to developing countries, and with the reports that we are constantly getting from the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations of the general shortage of protein throughout the world, by tying aid to goods—in other words, providing aid in kind rather than in cash—we could utilise some of of the existing facilities in such areas.

I have in mind particularly the boat-building yards. Already we are sending men abroad with great experience in fishing to assist oversea fleets in building up their fishing and giving them the knowhow. Could we not, therefore, get the Minister of Overseas Development to think again on the method by which help is given to these developing countries and utilise some of the existing facilities which are already available?

Finally, I see no good reason why the fast breeder reactor should not come to the north-east of Scotland. Excellent sites are available, in particular Rettie airfield. It has excellent facilities by road, rail and, if need be, by air. It lies close to the sea and cooling water is available. At the same time, as a by-product of the reactor I am told that hot water would be available.

In the recent debate on the fishing Estimates in the Scottish Grand Committee, fish farming was referred to. Could not the hot water from the fast breeder reactors be utilised to help in the fertilisation and breeding of young fish in fish farming, which might easily be carried out in some of the smaller now, unfortunately, disused harbours in the North-East?

I have said enough to indicate that we on this side have great concern for depopulating areas. We ask the Government to look at them as closely as other areas and to give us all the help and assistance they possibly can.

7.57 p.m.

Mr. William Baxter (West Stirlingshire)

I have a certain degree of sentiment with the Amendment to reduce the Minister's salary. It might go even further than that and propose that Ministers should be paid by results. This would apply not only to present Ministers of the Crown, but to any future Ministers, and this method of payment might be in the best interest of the country as a whole.

I was more than a trifle disappointed at the speeches from the two Front Benches. I detected a note of complacency in both of them. I felt that there was not the degree of urgency that this great problem requires. We had from my right hon. Friend the President of the Board of Trade much the same sort of speech that we have been used to hearing from former Presidents of the Board of Trade, while from the right hon. Member for Argyll (Mr. Noble) we had a recital of what other people had said in other debates. There was little substance in either of the two speeches. We the back bench members are mindful of the great problem which confronts Scotland and which will not be easy to solve.

Among the various problems as my hon. Friend the Member for Fife, West (Mr. William Hamilton) has said, we are confronted by the plight of coal-mining, one of the basic industries on which the greatness of Scotland was founded. Throughout the length and breadth of our land, coal mines are closing down. In my constituency, in the whole of the area of Kilsyth, Bannockburn and Cowie and Plean areas all the pits have gone out of being and nothing has been put in their place. The localities have been built up by the local authorities with first-class houses, schools and services of every description, and yet there is no industry within those areas.

This is also true of the iron foundry industries. Typical examples are the town of Bonnybridge and the small town of Denny, where the industry is disappearing and where nothing is being introduced to take its place.

It is said that shipbuilding is going through a period of expansion, but there is no certainty that this will be a continuing process. We would like some assurance from the Government that there is planning ahead and that there are schemes of co-ordination for the production of ships, co-ordination not only of management, but of labour. This is a very important industry, but I do not regard its economic state with any degree of satisfaction and nor am I sure that it will continue to expand.

While it is true that, under pressure from outside bodies, the previous Government agreed to the location of the steel strip mill in Motherwell, unless the strip mills and the whole steel industry can be kept at full capacity, they will never be the economic unit as intended. They cannot be permitted to run at just a fraction of capacity.

The nation's basic industrial wellbeing on which its past has been built is now in jeopardy. What do we have to put in its place? Many hon. Members have spoken of the motor industry and of the tractor industry, of the Rolls-Royce factory at Hillington, and so on and others have mentioned computer and science-based industries. It is true that something has been done in this respect and that many new industries have come to Scotland, but it must be remembered that their roots are in England, or America, or even France or Germany, and that is a precarious situation for Scottish industry.

Hon. Members have spoken of the building industry and the possibility of new techniques, of larger units being pre-cast in old foundries and so on. This is done in Falkirk where the Bison Co. is using old foundries and making them into modern factories for the production of prefabricated housing units, but the simple truth is that not all that is required can be produced because of the scarcity of cement.

We must have a plan for the general wellbeing of the nation on a much better and more sensible basis. Certain things are required. I pay my tribute to the importance of the new atomic power plant and the fast breeder reactor which has to be built there is no doubt that it must be sited in Scotland. I should mean the resignation of the Secretary of State for Scotland if he could not get this development. It is important too for Scotland and, irrespective of their political complexion, the Government must be made to understand that we will not tolerate Scotland having second place in this modern development.

Other hon. Members have spoken of the Local Employment Acts. They have been on the Statute Book for a long time. Certain designated areas have been given certain fiscal advantages to attract industry. We are now to have the Highland Development Board, so that another area will have special advantages; but in Scotland there will be a large area of no-man's land which will receive no assistance. It is a dangerous state of affairs when a nation like Scotland is broken into three different parts, each receiving different treatment from the Government. The time is opportune for the introduction of a scheme for the whole of Scotland. Scotland should have a different basis of taxation from that of England and Wales.

Mr. Russell Johnston (Inverness)

Is not the hon. Gentleman advocating virtually some form of devolution of government?

Mr. Baxter

I am very happy to advocate devolution as it is one of the basic requirements of Scotland at present. However, I cannot see either of the two major parties agreeing to it.

While they might not go as far as I would go with devolution, at least they should try to introduce some different taxation system for Scotland, at both national and local level, with the greatest emphasis on the development of our industrial wellbeing. As I have said, the industries now coming to Scotland do not have their roots in Scotland and we want a different taxation system which will give rise to new industry of native growth.

Mr. Gordon Campbell (Moray and Nairn)

Did the the hon. Gentleman support the Opposition in a Division in Committee on the Finance Bill when we moved an Amendment which would have resulted in different investment allowances in Scotland compared with the rest of the country?

Mr. Baxter

It must be appreciated that a political game is played here, sometimes, unfortunately, to the disadvantage of Scotland. When in opposition one moves Amendments to embarrass the Government, but when in power one resists exactly the same Amendments. Do not let us try to score points or party advantage which are not in the best interests of Scotland. I deprecate the whole atmosphere of Scottish debate, and of parliamentary debates generally, when they are based on a game of "Let's pretend". I often think of the old saying, "The more we change, the more we remain the same". This happens with Government and Opposition, as many speeches have shown.

I have had a little experience of dealing with the Board of Trade and trying to get development certificates, or assistance for an industry which wants to develop new techniques, or basic methods of production. I must protest against the fact that one has to go to London to do so. There is no office in Scotland where one can get the attention which industry deserves.

I have found that the well-established industries get treatment very much worse than that given to new industries coming to Scotland. A few years ago, Lane and Girvin, in Bonnybridge, had the greatest trouble trying to persuade the Board of Trade to give it a grant to re-equip and modernise. It would have done far better to take a new factory, when all the assistance required would have been given. I have known of great obstacles being put in the way of ordinary businesses trying to expand in a sensible manner, a manner which various Governments have tried to encourage. I counsel my right hon. Friend to look at the whole set-up of the Board of Trade to see whether there is a way to get some devolution so that in Scotland there is an office with full power to help old industries and new industries coming to Scotland.

We have spoken before about the need for a new approach among the universities, industry and the Government towards scientific and technological advancement so that the universities can be brought closer to industry, even though there might have to be a heavy subsidy from the Government.

I am greatly discouraged by what was said by my hon. Friend the Member for Renfrew, West (Mr. Buchan), who has now left the Chamber, about many scientists and technologists who go through universities and do not find jobs in Scotland, but go south of the Border and abroad. There could be a new Department set up to co-ordinate the activities of scientific development and new technical processes by the Government, universities and industry. I do not seek to develop this much more, but I say that unless something like that is done I do not think we are going to get the full growth of our industry which we can reasonably expect.

Another matter which gives me very great concern is the fact that many people pay lip service to the export trade. It is absolutely imperative to our nation's well being that we should expand. What do we find? Along with some other businessmen in Scotland I sought to establish in Paris a House of Scotland for the purpose of trying to expand Scottish industry on the Continent with the new conception of exhibition space and new methods of trying to sell in agency businesses.

We met my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Scotland, who was sympathetic to the idea. We met the Board of Trade representatives, who were sympathetic to the idea. But sympathy is not sufficient, we must have driving forces and this driving force must come from the seat of Government. I believe that a new approach to selling must be introduced in this country. For too long we have depended on our trade attaches in the various embassies to give us a stepping off place for our export trade. I have said this before and it bears repetition, I have never gone into a British embassy and found one trade attaché who was well versed, or knowledgeable in the affairs of Scottish industry. This is indeed a tragedy if we are to seek to expand our industry we must be more positive.

I agree that in transport there is a need for a co-ordinated service. I think that it is a disgrace and a shame that this wonderful asset which we possess, of a first-class network of railways throughout our land should be brought to a stop. Some of them should be electrified, some of them converted to diesel but the whole of our transport policy should be co-ordinated. If need be we should have an experiment in Scotland where goods could be sent on the basis of the postal service with an average charge for all goods coming from any part of Scotland. We are a small nation, but a nation that needs to look at new ideas and new approaches to the problems which confront us.

There are many things that could be done. The incomes policy, as it applies to Scotland ought to be considered. While measures may be good for England and Wales they are not necessarily good for Scotland. I hope that my right hon. Friend will look at the whole question of Scotland, without being bogged down by what has happened in England in the past, or what is likely to happen in England in the future, but in a new light, believing that new and different approaches would be more suitable to our peculiar requirements.

8.15 p.m.

Sir Fitzroy Maclean (Bute and North Ayrshire)

I would like to take issue with the hon. Member for West Stirlingshire (Mr. W. Baxter) on what may seem a point of detail. I am sure that he would not like to be unjust to the whole of our commercial diplomatic service. I would say that my experience has been, in the United States at any rate, in Washington, particularly in New York and also in Chicago and a number of other big towns, that we are represented either by the Board of Trade or by the Foreign Office whose officials are extremely well-informed and have the interests of Scotland at heart. Some of them are Scottish themselves and are doing everything they can to induce American industry to come to Scotland. I think that the success which has been achieved in recent years is very largely due to their efforts. I am sure the hon. Member would not like to be unjust to them.

One thing that he said with which I would like to agree was that Ministers should be paid by results. That seems to be a very good idea. I am quite certain that if that rule were to be applied my right hon. Friend the Member for Argyll (Mr. Noble) would get a much bigger salary than his successors, because he certainly produced a great many results, and extremely good ones. I would like to congratulate him, and I would like to congratulate Scottish industry as a whole on the present relatively satisfactory state of the Scottish economy. I hope that for that reason, the hon. Gentleman the Member for West Stirlingshire will not level against me the same charge he levelled against his right hon. Friend the President of the Board of Trade, that of complacency.

The present economic situation in Scotland is relatively satisfactory. Industrial production this year has gone up 7 per cent. The number of unemployed is lower than it has been for eight years and the President of the Board of Trade gave us what he, or someone else, called an impressive catalogue of industrial expansion of one kind or another. I do not think that any serious Labour speaker would claim for a moment that more than a very small share of the credit for this should go to the present Administration. Everyone knows that to bring about results of this kind takes a very long time. It is the outcome of years of patient effort and careful preparation when it is necessary to build up an atmosphere of confidence, which I would remind hon. Gentlemen, is all too easily destroyed.

Credit for what has been done in this way must go to my right hon. Friend the Member for Argyll, his predecessors, and to their colleagues in the previous Administration, and to the enterprise and initiative shown by Scottish industry itself. The fact is that when the Conservative Government left office last October they had achieved a genuine break-through, of which we are now feeling the full results and of which the momentum, fortunately, is still continuing, although it is difficult to say how much longer it will continue.

This is partly the result of the Conservative Government's great projects of recent years, in the motor industry, at Ravenscraig, Fort William and the rest; partly the result of the operation, all over Scotland of the Local Employment Act, which hon. Members opposite attacked so vigorously at the time, and partly the result of the fiscal concessions of the Budget of 1963. It is also partly the result of the improved infrastructure, which has been brought about by the successful road-building programme and also partly due to the atmosphere of confidence which existed under the last Administration, making Scotland attractive to would-be investors.

The £60 million or so allocated to Scotland by the last Government under the Local Employment Act signified more than 54,000 new jobs. Between the 1963 Budget and the election the Board of Trade received more than 1,800 applications from firms which wanted to set up in Scotland or expand existing enterprises there. Hon. Members opposite were always extremely scornful about jobs in the pipeline, but they are only too ready to take credit for them and cash in on them now that they have emerged at the other end of the pipeline. For them the much despised pipeline has been a kind of cornucopia. It must not be forgotten that all these measures, the Local Employment Act, the 1963 Budget and the rest, were greeted with nothing but jeers and opposition from hon. and right hon. Members opposite. The present Secretary of State dismissed them as "Alexander's Ragtime Band", a phrase which, no doubt, reflects his well known proficiency as a ballroom dancer if not as a wit.

What is the right hon. Gentleman doing about all this himself? After 13 years of virulent criticism of everything done by the last Government, what is he doing for Scotland now that he has power? Apart from a few paper projects, a few studies of depopulation and so on, no doubt very useful in their way, he has done very little. As one magazine put it, his recent utterances have been more like those of a political commentator than a politician. He has done no more than sit on the sidelines and watch his predecessor's policies, which he attacked so vigorously, work out to his own advantage and then try to take credit for them.

How much longer will this relatively happy state of affairs continue—relatively happy for the Government and relatively happy for Scotland for the moment? Unfortunately, the right hon. Gentleman's colleagues in the Government have not been as passive, as quiescent, as he has. They have been busy building Socialism. Theirs have been sins of commission rather that of omission as regards Scotland. No one can claim that the Corporation Tax will redound to Scotland's benefit or that it will make Scotland more attractive to foreign businessmen. The credit squeeze is not exactly calculated to encourage industrial investment there or, for that matter, to make it more easy—this is showing already—for local authorities to build roads or houses. Neither are things like the increased petrol tax and increased taxes generally or higher transport charges much of a help. Now, we are told, by no less an authority than the Prime Minister, that there are to be cuts in public expenditure. If these cuts are to come in Scotland, they will not help Scotland either.

Finally, there is the atmosphere, and, by all the tokens, the atmosphere is not likely to be one of confidence for very much longer. What the Secretary of State must realise is that he cannot just sit there and assume that industrial growth in Scotland will continue in spite of rather than because of Government policy. So far, there has been no sign on his part of any policy whatever, and, unfortunately, there have been signs of wrong policy on the part of his colleagues.

The last Government made quite clear that, in spite of the break-through which they achieved, they recognised that there was a great deal more to be done if the momentum in Scotland was to be maintained. What does the Secretary of State propose to do to keep up the momentum which he has inherited? There are several courses of action on which we are all agreed, for instance, the need for more advance factories. I was glad to hear what the President of the Board of Trade said about that. There is also the question of research and development. We are all agreed—this was a criticism which I made of the last Government—that Scotland should have a bigger share, more than she at present has, of Government research and scientific establishments. Government Departments and establishments of all kinds could well be brought to Scotland. The last Government brought the Post Office Savings Bank to Glasgow, amid a great deal of protest from various quarters; but at least they did it. What Government Departments have this Government brought to Scotland?

What is to happen to the development plan for Central Scotland which my right hon. Friend produced? Will this Government carry on the policy of growth points? Do they accept the development plan or not? They attacked it vigorously enough when it was first enunciated. As an Ayrshire Member, I shall be very interested to know what is to happen about the growth point of Irvine. This concerns the hon. Member for Central Ayrshire (Mr. Manuel) and to some extent, the hon. Member for South Ayrshire (Mr. Emrys Hughes), and it also concerns the Secretary of State himself directly. Are the last Government's proposals in this respect to be implemented or not? I hope that the Secretary of State will deal with all these points.

8.28 p.m.

Mr. John Rankin (Glasgow, Govan)

I should like to deal specifically with the problem of shipbuilding, for the simple reason that it is not only one of the chief industries in my division but it is also one of the most important in Clydeside. Sitting, as I have, through most of the day, listening to this very interesting debate, I have been stirred to say a word or two on some of the issues which have been raised.

I was stimulated by what was said by my hon. Friend the Member for Renfrew, West (Mr. Buchan), because it seemed to me that he put his finger right on the heart of the problem which faces us in industry today. We talk about a Scottish problem, but it is not a Scottish but a United Kingdom problem with which we are faced.

I was listening very closely to the hon. Member for Bute and North Ayrshire (Sir F. Maclean) when he referred to the transfer of the Post Office Savings Bank to Glasgow, and it is worth noting what happened in that Governmental decision. It emphasises that the chief trouble which afflicts us in Scotland is the maldistribution of the wealth and investment of the United Kingdom. There is an over-concentration of income, investment and wealth in London and a lack of these things in the north of Scotland, The butter is not spread evenly.

That arises from the fact that London is the ceremonial, the commercial and the administrative capital of the United Kingdom. These three facets of its life represent an immense congregation of capital and income. Moreover, they are a continuing attraction to those outside London. In the long run that is one of the contributory reasons for the continuous depopulation of the Highlands of Scotland and of Scotland as a whole. London is the attraction.

Because they recognised that fact, the Labour Government in 1945 decided that some of the wealth concentrated in London should be moved to other parts of the United Kingdom. The Ministry of Defence was transferred from London to another part of England. Certain parts of the Inland Revenue Department went to Cardiff. National Insurance offices went to Newcastle and the Health Department went to Blackpool.

Various other administrative transfers of that type were decided on by the Labour Government and over the years that part of London's wealth and employment was transferred to different parts, not, unfortunately, of the United Kingdom but of England. In the course of these transfers 30,000 persons previously employed in London were dispersed to other parts of England. In the same period 787 persons employed in London were transferred to Scotland. That represents the balance; which is very adverse to Scotland.

In their dying moments, as a death-bed repentance, the previous Government, to their credit, agreed to renew this policy of dispersal and decided that the Post Office Savings Bank would be transferred from London to Glasgow. One would think that nothing like it had ever happened in the history of London. We may talk about the plague, the Black Death, and the Great Fire—but it was as if nothing as important had ever happened before. One would have thought that these 700 people were going to a place where people lived at a lower level, with inferior houses, poorer education, poorer social conditions and a lower social and economic life altogether.

All sorts of inducements were offered, like special visits to the City of Glasgow, promises that the changes which they feared would not materialise and that other human being lived in Glasgow and had been living there for a long while. Evidently, according to the transferees, those living in Glasgow subsisted at a social, industrial and domestic level of life not fit for any good Londoner.

Today, more than a year after the decision to continue with this policy of dispersal, all that has been achieved is that we have fixed the site at Cowglen, on the outskirts of Glasgow, for this transfer, when it materialises. I have been told in the House that it will be about 10 years before it is consumated. I am sure that that length of time was not required to carry out all the transfers that have taken place from London to the various parts of England to which I have referred.

Perhaps I should state again that we in Scotland do not run about all the time in our bare feet. We wear socks and shoes, eat reasonably well and live in fairly decent houses. These facts should be better known in certain parts of England. That I must mention them emphasises what I began by saying, that London has too much and that that muchness is creating for London problems which it finds almost impossible to solve. It emphasises that the invested wealth in the South must be dissipated throughout the United Kingdom and not concentrated in, relatively, so few hands. A well-known Socialist who became a Minister in a Labour Government once wrote in a pamphlet, which was widely read in the Socialist movement, that too much wealth in too few hands was the cause of too much poverty among too many people. That is still true today. We must, therefore, face up to the need to redistribute not only the income but also the wealth of the country.

My hon. Friend the Member for West Stirlingshire (Mr. W. Baxter) referred to some of the things which must be done in Scotland, but which can only be done by raising capital in London. About three years ago, with the help of the Board of Trade, in an effort to prevent an important industry in my constituency employing 600 people from closing down, I helped the firm to raise the necessary capital it required, but we had to do that in the money market in London. This is true of many other industries in Scotland. Our legal affairs in Scotland are dependent, at certain levels such as the House of Lords—the final court of appeal—on our going through London, and we cannot do that without the use of the legal fraternity who abide in London. I hope that my right hon. and hon. Friends on the Treasury Bench will not forget that dispersal is still our policy; and that it will be pursued by the Socialist Government now in power.

The hon. Member for North Angus and Mearns (Mr. Buchanan-Smith) said that in his division 1,000 people have lost their jobs with Ferranti's as a result of the decision to stop work on the TSR2—

Mr. Edward M. Taylor

In Edinburgh.

Mr. Rankin

That is news to me. We have had a great deal of debate on this matter, and all sorts of forebodings have been prognosticated, but in a visit last month to the Midlands—which, according to the prophets, was to be the most heavily hit—I found that not one individual engaged on that project had been penalised. Every one had been re-engaged in a job of an equivalent value and importance. I was, therefore, astonished to discover that Edinburgh had suffered as badly as the hon. Member indicated.

I agree with much that was said about shipbuilding by my right hon. Friend the President of the Board of Trade. In Govan today, unlike the time of the Tory Government, there is no unemployment in that industry, although the numbers employed in it have been reduced by 50 per cent. In 1951, 10,000 persons in Govan were employed in shipbuilding and today there are only 5,000; but, far from there being unemployment, there is a definite and serious shortage of labour. Earnings are around £20 a week and the order books are full, but because of lack of labour last year only four of the five berths in the Fairfield Shipbuilding Company were working. Nevertheless, the ships then building were delivered on time, and exports thereby kept up—and the export side is the important part of shipbuilding. This year, however, only three berths can be worked, and only two of those will be adequately manned. Unless the labour force can be increased, contract dates for ships on order will not be met, and exports will tend to decline.

What does this mean at national level? At present, United Kingdom shipping tonnage on order is approximately 2 million gross tons. Of this weight 22 per cent. is for export with a value of between £60 million and £70 million. In this industry Scotland plays a foremost part, but it is worth noting that over the last eight years the loss of labour from Clydeside shipyards has reached a figure of 10,000. If I wanted to make political capital out of that, I should point out that obviously it is due to the fact that we had a Tory Government in power during all those years.

Clydeside urgently requires 1,000 men. The yard in my constituency needs 500. Everyone would hate to see the Q4 delayed because of this shortage. What is the cause of the shortage? The losses from shipbuilding have been mostly due to the newer and lighter industries which, rightly, have been encouraged towards those areas where unemployment was most likely because of too great concentration on heavy industry. In many cases the wages paid to semi-skilled operatives in the newer industries are more than could be earned in shipbuilding. House building, which used to provide a reservoir of labour for the shipbuilder, can no longer be relied on for any building-up required by the yards. This is understandably due to the push given to house building by the Government. No one would want to see any change in this policy. It is a good policy and Scotland as a whole is benefiting from it.

The question arises: what can and should be done? The Government are seeking to secure mobility of labour between trades. Men trained in one industry are being retrained for another. Could there not similarly be greater mobility of labour within the yards? My right hon. Friend today pointed out that this was taking place at John Brown's and Stephen's yards, in my constituency. Those are the only two I know of where it is happening. I hope the news will go to all the other yards as an encouragement to others, especially those in what are called the "iron trades", the platers, welders, burners, caulkers and shipwrights. All of them could undertake certain types of work now confined to each other's respective trades.

My right hon. Friend referred only to the agreement between the shipwrights and the platers. We want to bring in all the others. Shipwrights and platers can exchange duties, but this important industry will suffer severely along with exports unless it finds from within its own ranks by patience and understanding the extra labour power necessary to overcome the continuing drain from which it is now suffering. I believe that negotiations have been going on for some time between the employers and the trade unions to try to get agreement on an interchange of labour between trades.

I hope that this will be successful. I also hope that the Government will take a paternal interest in these negotiations, because if shipbuilding and its exports are to be maintained at their existing level, if not expanded, these diminishing numbers will require to be offset by internal reorientation.

8.50 p.m.

Mr. Edward M. Taylor (Glasgow, Cathcart)

I feel very guilty indeed speaking at this time when I know that there are three hon. Members opposite who have been here all day and have not yet spoken. I assure them that, subject to not being interrupted, I shall endeavour to finish in five minutes and thus allow one of them to speak. I had hoped to make a long speech covering a large number of points, but I will concentrate on the two which I think are the most important.

First, a great deal of nonsense has been spoken today about shipbuilding, both by the President of the Board of Trade and by other Members who have spoken on this subject. It is true that one of the most serious problems is the use of labour. It is ludicrous to talk in terms of the interchangeability of trades, particularly among the steel workers. In Stephens for ten years we have had a combined erection team who can work together for administrative purposes on erection. In John Brown's we have, to a lesser extent, interchangeability with platers end shipwrights. We are not by any means using labour in the shipyards as it should be used. Much must be done.

I will give one example of just about the best workers we have ever had in the Cyde shipyards—the riveters. Membership of the Boilermakers Society—welders, platers, caulkers, and the rest—came to an agreement with the riveters. But when these riveters became redundant or were faced with the stark problem of redundancy they found that in only a few cases could they become welders and then subject to their becoming redundant first when redundancy took place. I am not trying to throw cold water on the progress which has been made, but it is not nearly enough.

If the President of the Board of Trade thinks that the size of the order book justifies his policies, it should be made clear that the new orders we have had in this most recent period have been only half what they were in the comparable period last year. Under the shipbuilding credit scheme we had a total of 900,000 tons of orders, and more than one-third of these came to Scotland. From this Government we have had the devaluing of investment allowances, which will hit the shipbuilders very hard. We have had their refusal to give the same concessions to shipyards as they have given to the shipping industry in the Finance Bill. That will hit the shipyards very hard. No industry is being hit harder by the Corporation Tax than the shipyards. This will hurt a great deal. The refusal of the Government to continue the shipbuilding credit scheme makes an immense difference to the shipyards, since 80 per cent. of all the orders coming to the shipyards come from our own shipowners. There is the ludicrous position that the Government are encouraging our firms to take export orders, while our own shipowners are ordering from Germany, Japan, and so on. We want to encourage exports, but this is a strange way of going about it.

The second point concerns the various Board of Trade schemes to help industry in Scotland. Several hon. Members have said that the time has come for a complete change. I would agree, but the way in which I suggest the change should be made is to get away from that concept that aid comes only when there is an increase in employment. This should not be the sole consideration. Many firms in Scotland want to spend money to safeguard the employment of their own people, to encourage the firm to develop further, and to provide opportunity for the professional classes—university graduates—in their factories. If they can merely show that a new machine will save labour—that it will not provide more employment, but will save labour—no grant is available. Many of the best firms in Scotland which want to spend money to bring about further development find they can get no assistance whatsoever from the scheme because they cannot prove that it will bring immediately or directly more jobs. It certainly does not seem to be the answer at all.

Mr. Jay

I am sure the hon. Gentleman realises that free depreciation would be available.

Mr. Taylor

Certainly free depreciation is of assistance in the development areas but, in order to get assistance for new machinery, a firm has to prove new jobs. I would point out that when we pleaded for this concession to be given to the shipyards it was turned down, although the same concession was given to the shipping industry.

Finally, I would make the point that we are concerned about what appears to be a run-down in the Scottish economy. I was staggered to hear the right hon. Member for Clackmannan and East Stirlingshire (Mr. Woodburn) say that if the Government were faced with the need for prioritiee, we should cut down on housing. I have been informed that in Glasgow, in the first six months of this year, housing completions were down by one-quarter compared with the last six months of last year. That is a terrible situation, and the building industry is usually the first to show any change in the economic pattern. The Government have a record of complete inactivity. We want results, otherwise there will be a real danger of undoing the good that was brought to Scotland by the previous Government.

9.0 p.m.

Mr. James Hamilton (Bothwell)

I want to thank the hon. Member for Glasgow, Cathcart (Mr. Edward M. Taylor) for being so considerate and giving me the opportunity to make a short contribution to the debate.

Much has been said about industrial relations. I want to take up the point in the short time at my disposal because, although the Minister of Labour has made a statement to the effect that there is an increase in the loss of man hours in the whole motor car industry, it does not answer the point made by one of my hon. Friends on this side that in that industry there are fewer industrial disputes in Scotland than there are in the Midlands. That is an absolute fact. At the same time, statements of that sort will serve no useful purpose. I want to make it clear, coming from the industry, as I do, that we all have a responsibility to give facts when we make such statements.

We have also heard statements to the effect that the present unemployment figure, which is in the region of 59,000 in Scotland, results from the previous Government's policy prior to the election. We have very short memories because, since the Conservative Government came to power in 1951, to all intents and purposes the economy of Scotland has been a yo-yo: we have had booms and slumps and, unfortunately, far too many slumps. Need I remind hon. Members that in 1962, under the previous Administration we had 136,000 unemployed in Scotland, and in Lanarkshire we had over 19,000 odd unemployed. Comparing the two, one finds, that, of the whole Scottish total, one-seventh was in Lanarkshire. That was under the previous Administration.

We are also told that they were responsible for giving all industrialists, with very few exceptions, the I.D.Cs which were necessary to bring industry to Scotland. I have it from a very authoritative source, from a person who worked in the Board of Trade and who happens to have been one of our supporters, that nine months before the last General Election they were told to go through the files again, and those I.D.Cs. which had been turned down previously were then granted, obviously with a view to providing some window-dressing and giving the then Administration the opportunity to try and convince the electorate that they were out to solve the problems of Scotland.

I believe that both sides agree that the present figure of 59,000 unemployed is not satisfactory. I believe, also, that we must have more advanced factories. When we were the Government, from 1945 to 1951, we pursued that policy until we left office. When we left office there was a cessation of the building of the factories. All the time pressure came from this side to embark on a policy of building advance factories. That policy it is now bearing fruit. In my own constituency we have a new industrial estate. The opportunity is now afforded to industrialists to come to Lanarkshire, and my right hon. Friend the President of the Board of Trade has stated that one new factory is coming and that will employ 130 people. We welcome it. I am convinced that this sort of policy is the only possible way to solve the economic problems which confront the country.

I do not want to take advantage of the position by speaking any longer, and I shall now sit down, thanking the hon. Gentleman once again for having allowed me time to get into the debate.

9.1 p.m.

Mr. Gordon Campbell (Moray and Nairn)

This has been a good debate, and a large number of speeches have been made owing to the self-denial of certain hon. Members. I would particularly congratulate my hon. Friend the Member for Glasgow, Cathcart (Mr. Edward M. Taylor) for having made an excellent speech within five minutes.

No doubt, our debate would have been better informed if there had not been the difficulty over the absence of documents and the latest figures which normally are available at this time of the year and before this debate, and the absence of announcements by Ministers. In the course of the debate the Government has received advice and suggestions on the problems of many different areas of Scotland, and different industries and different activities in Scotland have been touched on.

The President of the Board of Trade started his speech by giving some of the latest figures of unemployment, and these are welcome and encouraging. He was able to mention particular areas where it had been bad in the past and where now, clearly, there is much improvement, but all that he said about this confirms the success of the measures taken by previous Conservative Governments. He seemed to be claiming credit for these unemployment figures, but, of course, he could not, when pressed, adduce any single action by the Government in the last nine months which had contributed to them. We all know that it takes much longer than that to bring jobs to Scotland, and the figures, as I said, confirm the success of the measures of previous Conservative Administrations.

The President of the Board of Trade also gave us a great many facts and figures to show the areas in sq. ft. now being authorised and which held prospects for the future. We welcome these figures, but, as I listened to him, I could not help being reminded of the words of his right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Scotland in our debate last year when he said of the then President of the Board of Trade: The right hon. Gentleman will talk about prospects, applications, jobs in the pipeline, millions of sq. ft.—the lot."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 21st July, 1964; Vol. 699, c. 299.] That is, indeed, what we heard from the President of the Board of Trade today.

Mr. Jay

The hon. Gentleman will not look at existing facts and will not look at future plans either, so what does he want?

Mr. Campbell

I am afraid that I do not understand the meaning of the right hon. Gentleman's intervention.

The only point in which the right hon. Gentleman did not follow the formula indicated by his right hon. Friend was that he refrained from using the word "pipeline", but he simply gave us exactly the same thing using a rigmarole of other words instead. If the right hon. Gentleman had called a spade a spade, he would have called it a pipeline again, except that in his speech my hon. Friend the Member for Bute and North Ayrshire (Sir F. Maclean) suggested the word "cornucopia" because it has provided the jobs which have enabled the right hon. Gentleman to give us these welcome figures today.

The important fact which must be borne in mind by the Committee is that stated on page 11 of the White Paper on Development and Growth in Scotland of last September that during the period from 1st April, 1960, to 30th January, 1964, the financial assistance offered under the Local Employment Acts amounted to 52 per cent. of the total for Great Britain. Now the right hon. Gentleman tells us that it is still running at a reasonably high level, but only at 48 per cent., if I understood his opening speech.

My right hon. Friend the Member for Argyll (Mr. Noble) asked the right hon. Gentleman whether he could give an assurance concerning the expected statement about cuts in public expenditure. All that the right hon. Gentleman said in reply was that in taking decisions the Government would take specially into account the position of the underemployment areas, or words to that effect. This did not amount to the assurance on Scotland which my right hon. Friend requested. I hope that the Secretary of State for Scotland, who has now had some hours to consider the reply to this point, will be able to give the firm assurance for which my right hon. Friend asked.

My right hon. Friend made a point about housing targets and I would wish to clear up one aspect of that. When my right hon. Friend said that the party opposite had set a target of 40,000 houses in Scotland this year the Secretary of State or one of his colleagues shook his head, but the reason why my right hon. Friend said this was that he had seen a report in the Press of a speech made by the Secretary of State in Glasgow in February. The report said: He would be 'a disappointed man' if they did not achieve a target of 40,000 by next year. He would be more disappointed if they had not achieved 50,000 houses a year by the end of Labour's term. I would comment that the two periods may well coincide. We also know that since then the Under-Secretary of State, in reply to a Question some time ago, indicated that the sights had been set a little lower and that the target now was 37,000 a year. However, this was why my right hon. Friend mentioned the previous target.

In considering the problems of industry and employment in Scotland, it is important to keep in mind that two of the chief causes of Scotland's economic problems and the unemployment resulting from them are, first, the contraction of some heavy industries which, in the past, were the mainstay and source of prosperity in Scotland, and, second, the facts of geography and, in particular, of distances from sources of supply and from markets.

During recent years there has been a continuing process of reduction in the number of jobs. The task, therefore, has been, and must remain, the creation of alternative new jobs which will more than counter-balance the decrease. Several hon. Members on both sides of the Committee have mentioned the coal industry. Our attention has been directed to the statement made by the Minister of Power a few days ago about the capital reconstruction of the industry, because in it he indicated that further pit closures were to be expected. The hon. Member for Fife, West (Mr. William Hamilton) and other hon. Members expressed some anxiety about this. I agree that where the seams are running out or where the coal can be extracted only with such difficulty as to be uneconomic pits should be closed. The important question is that of timing, and the warning period which can be given. Will there be available suitable alternative work? Has the right hon. Gentleman consulted the Minister of Power or Lord Robens, and can he tell us this evening what proposals these consultations may lead to in respect of Scottish pit closures?

As for alternative work, under the growth point principle, with which I shall deal later, it is not necessarily a question of bringing new work to the precise area of the colliery which is to close—but it should be within travel-to-work distance. This is a challenge to economic change which Scotland must face. It involves the question of retraining, and especially the problem of the older miners who find it difficult to transfer to other work.

All parties claim to be parties of modernisation, which greet the challenge of change, but we must remember that the special problem of older miners requires understanding and imaginative help. As the hon. Member for Fife, West was good enough to point out, the situation has been considerably eased by the decisions taken during the time of the previous Conservative Government to build two large coal-fired power stations at Cockenzie and Longannet. These decisions were based on the efficient technical use of easily available low-grade coal. These power stations will keep several thousand miners in necessary productive employment for a considerable period.

Previous Governments have set themselves the task of bringing to Scotland firms in modern industry. This should be the aim of the present Government. In this connection three matters need to be borne in mind. First, there must be variety, so that Scotland is no longer dependent upon only a few industries. Secondly, the incoming firms should, if possible, be those which use modern technologies. Thirdly, the firms should be those which are likely to grow.

These firms need not necessarily all be firms which are likely to employ much labour. Those which do employ a lot of labour are immediately attractive, but the stage has been reached where it is more important that they should meet the three points which I have just mentioned, in that way helping to strengthen, modernise and diversify the industrial structure of Scotland.

The second main cause which I mentioned was described by me as the facts of geography. Distances in Scotland make the transport arteries so important that their efficiency must be a major part of our industrial economy, both to the South and also, internally in Scotland.

One point that is becoming more and more important is the fact that some modern industries do not require supplies of heavy goods—for example, firms in electronics and automation. One of their recent successes has been in the miniaturisation of their products. An example is that a computer which a few years ago would have filled a large room can now be put into a box not much more than a cubic foot in volume. This is the kind of industry to which distance matters very little, if at all. It is the kind of industry which is already finding Scotland highly suitable for its work.

I have been told recently by someone in the industry—I do not know whether he was joking or not—that the stage will soon be reached where, instead of, as in the past, using lorries to transport its goods and supplies, this industry will need only a mini. This certainly gives an indication of the result of miniaturation and its effect in Scotland. The President of the Board of Trade is, I think, the Minister most concerned with this, and I hope that he and the Secretary of State will do all they can to bring to the attention of such modern industries the suitability of Scotland for their purposes.

I said that I would say something about the growth point principle. It was adopted in the White Paper on Central Scotland issued nearly two years ago. There the principle was accepted that within a given region faster industrial growth would be achieved and more jobs created if incoming firms were steered to a place where conditions were most favourable for their operations rather than simply to the places where unemployment was highest.

Mr. Woodburn

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that we were working on the principle of growth points soon after the war? Hon. Gentlemen opposite must have forgotten about it during the first ten years of their Government.

Mr. Campbell

The right hon. Gentleman and his colleagues may have been working on growth points then, but it must have been to a very minor degree. When the Toothill Committee made its investigation, one of its major recommendations was that the principle of growth areas should be accepted. [Interruption.] If hon. Gentlemen opposite will kindly listen, I will explain the point to them. There was considerable argument after that whether the principle should be adopted or not. On the other side, it was naturally argued by areas of high unemployment that they had a prior claim and that the assistance should not be steered to areas which were already proving successful. Thus, there was a controversy, but the Government eventually adopted the principle.

I well remember the present President of the Board of Trade, when in opposition, querying it and saying that numbers of development areas, in Durham for example, had not been included in growth areas but should be. Therefore, he was one of those who at that time queried whether the principle should be adopted. His right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State, was pretending that there was no difference at all and that they were all the same, that he could not see the difference between development districts and growth areas. However, some of the right hon. Gentleman's hon. Friends asked that parts of their constituencies, if not the whole of them, should be included in growth areas. Therefore, they realised that there was a difference and that a considerable new principle had been adopted.

Mr. Jay

I can assure the hon. Gentleman that we are now giving a fair amount of help to the areas which were neglected by the previous Government.

Mr. Campbell

I do not accept that for a moment. The principle, as I have said, was building upon success.

In our debate on regional plans for Scotland in the Scottish Committee on 13th July, an hon. Member stated that a certain growth area had been designated as a growth area but that growth was taking place already and, therefore, it made no difference. That showed a complete misunderstanding of the principle of growth areas. Where firms are already succeeding and growth is taking place, that is the kind of qualification which immediately makes an area eligible; one is building upon success. It is understandable that another area which feels that it is much worse off complains that it should get priority. The principle is that it is better for a man to have a job which may be ten miles away than not to have a job at all. Under this principle, one is likely to get a greater industrial expansion than under the principle simply of steering firms to the precise areas where unemployment is highest. This has been applied so far in the industrial central area of Scotland.

The principle of growth points which the right hon. Member for Clackmannan and East Stirlingshire (Mr. Woodburn) had in mind much earlier, and which, no doubt, was in the minds of other hon. Members also, should be one of the principles to be adopted when the four regional studies are considered by the Government, where appropriate. Although in the sense of an industrial growth zone the large rural areas may not be in exactly the same situation, none the less the principle that it may in certain cases be best to concentrate upon points where development is likely to be most successful is one which we would hope to find being followed in other parts of Scotland as well. This could be a measure which would assist in countering depopulation as well as dealing with unemployment. The Government should consider altering the existing legislation to widen the scope of Government assistance to include such points, because many of them may well not fall within local unemployment districts as at present defined.

My hon. Friend the Member for Banff (Mr. Baker) spoke of depopulation in his area, and it is an area which would be affected. The hon. Member for Roxburgh, Selkirk and Peebles (Mr. David Steel) inquired about our ideas on this subject, and that is certainly my answer to him. He also asked whether we believed in regional planning. Of course, the answer is in the affirmative. We initiated and completed the plan for Central Scotland, and we started the studies for the other four regions covering the whole of Scotland.

I should like now to ask some questions of the Secretary of State. In the debate on 21st July last year, the right hon. Gentleman criticised the South-East Study. It was explained to him that the increase in population which was foreseen would be mostly the result of natural increase and that actions resulting from the Study were not expected to start until the 1970s. Now that the right hon. Gentleman is in office, I should like to know from him what is the Government's attitude. All that we have heard so far appears to be an extension of the South-East Study with an announcement by the Minister of Housing and Local Government that further new towns at certain distances from London are to be created. What is now the position of the Government and of the Secretary of State?

Then there is the important question of transport in Scotland and especially roads and bridges. In page 10 of "Signposts for Scotland", the suggestion that there would be tolls on the Forth Bridge and for the Tay and Erskine bridges was described as indefensible. The Forth Bridge will have been open for a year in little more than a month. Can the right hon. Gentleman tell us tonight what is his policy on the subject of tolls after that first year, which was to be the first year of tolls? Does he consider that these tolls are likely to be a handicap to plans for industrial expansion? If so, page 11 of "Signpost for Scotland" says that they should be abolished.

While I am on the subject of "Signposts for Scotland"—which the Secretary of State may now wish had never been written—I must turn to the subject of investment allowances, mentioned on page 8, because we have received no proper answer on this issue. Page 8 says: … inducements of various kinds, including special investment allowances and other tax reliefs, will be offered to industrialists who are prepared to take more jobs to job-hungry areas. That was in the official Labour publication on Scotland before the election, but the only action so far has been that in the Finance Bill of reducing the value of investment allowances. When I asked the Secretary of State about this in the Scottish Grand Committee, his answer was very roundabout. He said that the object had been to separate personal and company taxation and he went on to say: With that change we shall have greater freedom in regional considerations which will redound to the benefit of those areas where we wish to give inducements. This was the first important step".—[OFFICIAL REPORT, Scottish Grand Committee, 13th July, 1965; c. 268.] Can he tell us how the reduction of these allowances will redound to the advantage of those areas and what is the further step which we are now to expect? If the first was reduction, the further step is likely to be abolition.

Conversely, if he agrees that this is nonsense, will he now repudiate the statement in "Signposts for Scotland", which received a great deal of publicity when it was first issued and which some people in Scotland no doubt read and which perhaps some believed? I must also mention the Corporation Tax which already has had the effect of frightening foreign businesses, particularly American businesses who have been so successful in Scotland in the past, from settling in Scotland.

What have the Government done so far in their nine months in office, except for an announcement about advance factories? Incidentally, these are all concentrated in central Scotland whereas we were able to put some in other parts of Scotland as well. The answer is that the Government have done nothing.

The Statist of 23rd July said: In the absence of what might remotely be described as a Labour policy for Scottish development, one can only judge progress in terms of how well the Government has continued the programmes of its predecessor". There are some things which the Government have done during those nine months. They have added to transport costs in Scotland and they have produced a credit squeeze and continued it for a very long time. I would like to quote from something written by the Under-Secretary of State for Scotland in a newspaper on 28th February, last year, about the credit squeeze of that time, which was a 5 per cent. Bank Rate. He wrote: The effect of dearer money will be hard on Scotland. The results will be: It will slow down industrial expansion much more than in England. It will embarrass local authorities financially, and endanger house and school building programmes. It will leave our basic unemployment problem unchanged … We have had six months of 7 per cent.

Dr. Dickson Mabon

The effect on the Public Works Loan Board was far greater under the previous Government.

Mr. Campbell

That is a very small flea bite compared with a credit squeeze which ran at 7 per cent. for so long and was then reduced by only a minor amount.

The only excuse which the right hon. Gentleman can give for having done nothing is, presumably, that he is waiting for the national plan, that he is waiting for the First Secretary to produce a plan. The major industrial problems of Scotland and the likely methods of dealing with them will not be altered by that plan. The preparation of a plan is no reason for doing nothing in the meantime. When the Secretary of State for Scotland was in opposition, he painted a dismal picture of Scotland. He was a prophet of gloom. Now that he is in office and has done nothing, we see that he had something to be gloomy about. What is needed in Scotland is to continue the improvement of the Scottish economy and to adjust to the conditions of today and tomorrow. This means varied and up-to-date industry, and full use of our resources, including a beautiful and majestic countryside.

I am hopeful that increasingly the advantages of Scotland can be made apparent to both firms and individuals—for example of getting away from congestion in the South and living and work- ing in agreeable conditions with an enlarged scope for recreation and leisure. The responsibility rests with the Government to adopt measures and policies which will assist to this end. So far, this Government have done little, if anything, for Scotland.

9.32 p.m.

The Secretary of State for Scotland (Mr. William Ross)

We have looked forward to a slashing attack on the Government, with the swords of Scotland drawn and a charge being made upon us for having brought Scotland to decay so quickly. But the trouble is that the picture in Scotland looks far too bright. Since the election the Opposition have been complaining that there would be a loss of confidence in Scotland, in business already established there and that the prospects of new business entering the country would be diminished. In fact, the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Argyll (Mr. Noble) was saying it was so bad that there would be an election last spring.

The trouble with right hon. and hon. Gentlemen is that they will not face the fact that there has been a change in the face of Scotland, and it has not all been due to the same policies that the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Argyll spoke about. The right hon. Gentleman was wonderful today. One would have thought that I had been here for 20 years. One day is long enough for him. We are used to the jeers of the jaundiced, the deposed, the people who were found out by Scotland.

There were some improvements in 1964, some changes in attitudes and policies, but 1964 was far too late for trust by the people of Scotland in the right hon. and hon. Gentlemen, and 1965 is too early for forgetfulness of what they did for 13 years. The right hon. Gentleman became Secretary of State for Scotland in July, 1962. It was not until December or November of 1963 that he produced anything at all, and that was a plan for Central Scotland.

We had a debate on it in this House. Does the right hon. Gentleman forget his own words? Does he forget how he wound up his speech on 3rd December, 1963, he who dares attack me after I have been here for barely nine months and inherited the mess left behind? He said: … this is the first attempt to get things in Scotland put right."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 3rd December, 1963; Vol. 685, c. 1105.] He had been in power since 1951.

I want to congratulate the right hon. Gentleman on his speech today. The hon. Gentlemen sitting behind him had not heard him make an industrial speech in the House before. Let me tell them that that was one of the best speeches he ever made. We remember some of the things that the right hon. Gentleman has said in the past. Here is an example, from The Scotsman of Friday, 26th April, 1963. At the Highlanders' Institute, though he had not got a kilt on that day—there were too many Scotsmen about—he said: In the next few months we shall put Scotland firmly on the right road to prosperity with modern cities, schools, roads and transport and with great new housing schemes. We shall keep more of our able young Scotsmen at home with the promise of such a future, and begin to cure our unemployment blight. We shall then win and deserve to win the next election. In the year that followed, more young Scotsmen left Scotland than had left in any year this century, and the migration reached the staggering total of 41,000.

Mr. MacArthur

What about migration and unemployment today?

Mr. Ross

The hon. Gentleman should appreciate that this is at the core of the malaise in Scotland. I am not complacent about the position today, based on unemployment figures, because unemployment figures, satisfying as they may be, may themselves mask migration. They may be achieved by migration. We must build on the basis of what we know our needs are, and we must be sure that we know what our resources are in order to be ready for the new industry coming in.

We are embarked in Britain on a gigantic task of planning Britain for the first time. It is all very well for the right hon. Gentleman to talk about programmes. We inherited programmes. In an intervention during the speech of my right hon. Friend the Member for Clackmannan and East Stirling-shire (Mr. Woodburn) the right hon. Gentleman said that he had completed programmes. What programmes did he complete?—the road programme, the housing programme, the hospitals programme? We inherited programmes all right—there were five-year programmes, 10-year programmes, rolling programmes, and programmes for the half-time results. What we did not inherit was the organisation and resources to achieve these programmes because the programmes in Britain were based upon the achievement of a rate of growth which right hon. and hon. Members opposite had never achieved and never looked like achieving.

Right hon. and hon. Members opposite left us with a problem, which was proclaimed in 1952 by the Tory Chancellor of the day as a chronic problem which they would solve, the problem of the balance of payments. But they left us with it, a problem of staggering dimensions which they shut their eyes to all during that pre-election summer. Oh yes, we had projects, but all in principle. The right hon. Gentleman was the "Principle boy" of the Tory Party's pre-election pantomime.

How many projects did the right hon. Gentleman approve, start and finish while he was Secretary of State? None. He need not talk about the pulp mill. I have here the history of the pulp mill project, written by the firm itself. There are photographs in it of all sorts of people, including the father of the noble Lord the Member for Edinburgh, North (The Earl of Dalkeith), Lord Polwarth, and several other people, but there is not even a mention of the right hon. Gentleman's name. The pulp mill had more to do with those people who, in generations past, built up the forests in Scotland. Indeed, in 1958 they took an option on the ground. It was the unique circumstance of the availability of a nationalised forest programme which enabled this to be done.

There have been projects every week since we have become the Government—and the right kind of project.

Mr. Noble

What are they?

Mr. Ross

The right hon. Gentleman does not even read his newspapers. If he reads the Press tomorrow he will find that it will be announced that the firm of S. G. S. Fairchild will occupy 11½ acres at Falkirk to manufacture electronic components. Work is to start on the factory in October. The firm hopes to employ 1,200 people by 1967, and it will add to our growing electronics industry. That, we are told, is "frightening off people overseas".

What a piece of hypocrisy from the right hon. Gentleman, who must appreciate exactly what is being done in different parts of the country, not just the growth areas, as they designated them but in parts outside the growth areas, too. The, right hon. Gentleman and his hon. Friends remind me of the group of old women who stand in the village in Scotland discussing all those who are dangerously ill and who are very disappointed if somebody ever looks like getting better.

Hon. Members opposite complain about the White Paper, but it was the right hon. Gentleman who changed the whole form of the publication of the White Paper. He answered a Question by Lord Muirshiel, "Jack" Maclay as he was, on 15th May, 1964. The last White Paper in the old form covered 1962–63 and was issued in July, 1963. No White Paper was available for last year's trade and industry debate, and he told us why.

Later this year we shall be issuing our White Paper relating to our plans and proposals in respect of Scottish development, including the review of the Central Scotland Plan. The right hon. Member took me to task because of some cynical things which I said last year or the year before—it was December, 1963—about the Central Scotland Plan. I have a fairly long memory. I can remember hon. Members on both sides of the House demanding that their districts should be scheduled as development districts under the Local Employment Act. What did it mean to be scheduled? To most of those districts it meant nothing at all, because nothing came. Every single one of the so-called growth areas was already scheduled. There was not a single new advantage, financial or otherwise, for these so-called growth areas.

It was interesting today to hear new hon. Members talking about depopulation—interesting and fascinating. We spoke of this as a criterion for assistance under the Local Employment Act before and during the passage of that Act—and so did the right hon. Member for Orkney and Shetland (Mr. Grimond). He remembers as well as I do who voted against it. It was right hon. and hon. Gentlemen opposite, the Tory rump who are still here, and others who have made way for younger men.

It was not only the right hon. Member for Wolverhampton, South-West (Mr. Powell) who spoke for a policy of drift and said that we should let the people go where they could get jobs. It was the other contender, too, the right hon. Member for Barnet (Mr. Maudling), at that time President of the Board of Trade, who said, "We cannot be like King Canute and try to stop the tide. People will drift. They prefer to go elsewhere to get employment." That is why people left the Highlands, the Borders and the North-East. It is no good looking to the Conservative Party for any guidance about that—and we got none from its representatives today.

Sir F. Maclean

We are not getting it from you, anyway.

The Chairman

Order. If the hon. Member for Bute and North Ayrshire (Sir F. Maclean) seeks to intervene he must do so in a correct way—and he must not charge the Chair with anything at all.

Mr. Ross

The Chair had better be careful, because the hon. Gentleman is a hotel keeper in Scotland and he might charge anybody anything.

We must appreciate that we have been able to attract more and more new industry to Scotland—with inquiries actually being made for them—at a higher rate than before. This is not jobs in prospect. The negotiations have actually been completed. And when we consider the type of job we are now getting we see that we are concentrating, and successfully achieving, the sort of job Scotland needs, related to the growth industries themselves. It is not good enough for hon. Gentlemen opposite to say that the Government have got nothing to do with this progress. The very climate of expansion must be responsible for it, although we are hampered by the legacy of financial difficulty which hon. Gentleman opposite left us. My right hon. Friend has given an assurance about future measures which need to be taken and that the under-developed areas will be regarded for any decisions that are taken as most important because we do not want to stop the beneficial expansion which is already taking place.

In their speeches today hon. Gentlemen opposite have roamed the field. The right hon. Member for Argyll asked a lot of questions, including when a start would be made on the Erskine Bridge. The party opposite made arrangements for this bridge. What were they? In the last Parliament we were never given answers to the sort of questions asked by the right hon. Gentleman today, but I can now tell him that we are working on this, that a joint bridge committee has approved the design and layout to provide a span of 1,000 ft. and a clearance of 180 ft. with associated road works. More detailed design work is proceeding. My hon. Friend the Under-Secretary met the members of the joint committee in February and a further meeting will shortly take place. The cost will be about £6 million.

The right hon. Member for Argyll and other hon. Gentlemen opposite had a lot to say about the hold-up in hydro-electricity, for which I have apologised to Parliament. I would very much like to have been able to give a speedy answer on this one, but such an answer might have been wrong. I am concerned because I know the importance of these schemes. However, I refuse to be chided by the right hon. Gentleman about it. It was in 1960 that these schemes were stopped and during the whole time when he was Secretary of State he did nothing to expedite decisions. Do not let him tempt me to say more on this subject now. The Hydro-electricity Board is, in the meantime, exploring the possibility of a further pumped storage project using Loch Sloy as a lower reservoir and Loch Lomond as an upper reservoir. It is also examining possible means of reducing the conventional scheme costs, in particular the cost of dams.

The right hon. Member for Argyll got his facts slightly wrong on another issue. Indeed, he is getting rather bad when it comes to facts—as bad in the afternoon as he was the other day at two or three o'clock in the morning, when we were discussing the Judges' Remuneration Bill. He referred to comments in the election address of my hon. Friend the Under- Secretary, the Member for Greenock (Dr. Dickson Mabon), on advance factories. In fact, the first advance factory was announced on 8th April, 1963, of 10,000 sq. ft. and was allocated in October, 1964, to Progressive Metal Products Ltd. It was occupied in February, 1965, to employ 90 people. This factory was subsequently extended by 9,900 sq. ft. This was approved in September, 1964, and building began in 1965. A further factory was announced on 18th November, 1964. The right hon. Gentleman really should take note of what is happening in Scotland. If he does he will not fall into these blunders. The construction is due to begin in September, 1965, and the factory will be completed in June, 1966.

The right hon. Gentleman spoke of the progress of the new town at Irvine. This new town was first mentioned in the plan for Central Scotland—it was just a probability then. Later—just before the election—it became a possibility. It was approved in principle, subject to discussions and negotiations with local authorities. The discussions and negotiations with the local authorities are proceeding, based on an interim report on the possible boundaries that I received from the consultant, Mr. Hugh Wilson, either late in May or at the beginning of June.

I have been asked when a decision will be taken on the expansion of Dounreay. The right hon. Gentleman should really attend here to listen to other Ministers speaking. If he did, he would know that on 14th July last my right hon. Friend the Minister of Technology said: The Dounreay Experimental Establishment has worked very satisfactorily, and the next stage is the construction of a prototype. During the next few months the authority will be submitting to me their proposals for a prototype fast reactor. When they have done so, the Government will as soon as possible announce their decision whether the project should proceed and, if so, where the prototype is to be built. This will be brought to the House as soon as possible."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 14th July, 1965; Vol. 716, c. 527.] The Government are not responsible for putting forward these proposals—the Atomic Energy Authority is responsible. The right hon. Gentleman is quite wrong.

The hon. Member for Dumfries (Mr. Monro) and other hon. Members spoke about the prospects of the Forestry Commission being transferred to Scotland. The right hon. Gentleman himself knows that his Government decided where that Commission should go—and it is no good hon. Gentlemen saying "No", because I made distinct inquiries. Do they think that I was prepared to let this pass up if there was a possibility of getting it for Scotland? We found the decision had already been taken—

Mr. Noble rose

Mr. Ross

And the right hon. Gentleman opted out of those discussions. We found that the decision was taken to go to Basingstoke. The staff side agreement had already been reached, and many of the people concerned had bought their houses there—

Mr. Noblerose

Hon. Members

Give way.

Mr. Noble

The right hon. Gentleman is not speaking the truth.

Mr. Ross

I am—

The Chairman

Order. If the Secretary of State does not give way, the right hon. Gentleman must not go on trying to intervene.

Mr. Ross

The right hon. Member for Berwick and East Lothian (Sir W. Anstruther-Gray) spoke of the possibility of further help for Eyemouth Harbour—

Hon. Members

Give way.

The Chairman

Order. The mere shouting of "Give way" does not make the right hon. Gentleman give way. I ask the right hon. Gentleman and his hon. Friends to contain themselves.

Mr. Ross

The right hon. Gentleman is entitled to get his answers to the speech be made. It is no good hon. Gentlemen shouting.

The new entrance to Eyemouth Harbour was recently completed at a cost of £300,000, to which the Government contributed 75 per cent. Local fishermen have complained that the entrance is too narrow, and access too difficult and dangerous. This is a matter for the Eyemouth Harbour trustees, in the first place, and they will no doubt consult me when they have reached a view on the current difficulties. It is as well to leave it at that point because, obviously, there will be further consideration of their proposals for changes there.

The hon. Member for Roxburgh, Selkirk and Peebles (Mr. David Steel) spoke about depopulation, and I think that I have covered that subject, but I should like to deal with what he said about Mr. Middleton and the Borders, and the possibility of hon. Members being informed. It is not a question of the Planning Council meeting in the Borders. As a matter of fact, Mr. Middleton was in the Borders meeting representatives of one of the northern Planning Councils, where there might be the possibility of overlapping interests.

There are sub-committees of the Planning Council at present, but what he was talking about, and I think rightly interpreting what I said, was the local committees to participate in further stages of planning and the implementation of help in this way. This is a matter for the Planning Council itself. I do not seek to dictate to it about how these will be formed and I would not suggest that necessarily M.P.s should be members of them. M.P.s have opportunities in this House to make their points and to find what is going on.

On the question of siting of a hospital in the Borders, regional hospital boards are given all relevant guidance about future population trends. The Scottish Home and Health Departments take part in these discussions. The hon. Member also asked why Government factories do not manufacture housing components. In fact, they do. I think there are five such factories in Scotland. I opened one on Friday at Livingston and there is another at Falkirk. The one at Livingston is undertaking a contract for 1,000 houses in the new town of Livingston.

More than one hon. Member spoke about the problems of small villages and their urgency in relation to depopulation. These are matters which we can pursue when we come to the changes which will have to be made regarding the Local Employment Act. This is close to my heart, because I do not see that we should necessarily repeat new town policies in every part of the country. I. do not want to see all the new towns in Scotland in the central area. It may be that we shall have to tackle the question of dispersal. That is implicit in the acceptance by any Government of the lessons of the Buchanan Report.

The same hon. Member spoke rather mysteriously about the loss of 1,000 jobs at Ferranti's. This just is not true. The forecasts have proved wide of the mark and there have been no redundancies to date. The Government have considered the problems of all the firms affected by the defence changes and have taken some action. More than one hon. Member referred to concern about the B.M.C.-Pressed Steel merger. My right hon. Friend the President of the Board of Trade has been informed that the merger will have no effect in the way suggested. We shall protect the interests of Pressed Steel and the other customers, including Rootes at Linwood.

I am sorry about the point which was raised by my hon. Friend the Member for Fife, West (Mr. William Hamilton). We shall have an opportunity of raising that and it will be better to do so when

Division No. 262.] AYES [10.0 p.m.
Agnew, Commander Sir Peter Elliott, R. W. (N' c'tle-upon-Tyne, N.) Loveys, Walter H.
Allason, James (Hemel Hempstead) Emery, Peter McAdden, Sir Stephen
Anstruther-Gray, Rt. Hn. Sir W. Errington, Sir Eric Maclean, Sir Fitzroy
Astor, John Eyre, Reginald Maddan, Martin (Hove)
Atkins, Humphrey Farr, John McNair-Wilson, Patrick
Awdry, Daniel Fletcher-Cooke, Sir John (S'pton) Maginnis, John E.
Baker, W. H. K. Foster, Sir John Mathew, Robert
Barber, Rt. Hn. Anthony Fraser, Ian (Plymouth, Sutton) Maude, Angus
Barlow, Sir John Galbraith, Hn. T. G. D. Mawby, Ray
Batsford, Brian Giles, Rear-Admiral Morgan Maxwell-Hyslop, R. J.
Bell, Ronald Gilmour, Sir John (East Fife) Maydon, Lt.-Cmdr. S. L. C.
Bennett, Sir Frederic (Torquay) Glyn, Sir Richard Meyer, Sir Anthony
Bennett, Dr. Reginald (Gos. & Fhm) Goodhart, Philip Mills, Stratton (Belfast, N.)
Biffen, John Grant, Anthony Mitchell, David
Bingham, R. M. Grant-Ferris, R. Monro, Hector
Birch, Rt. Hn. Nigel Gresham Cooke, R. Munro-Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh
Black, Sir Cyril Grieve, Percy Neave, Airey
Boyd-Carpenter, Rt. Hn. J. Griffiths, Eldon (Bury St. Edmunds) Noble, Rt. Hn. Michael
Braine, Bernard Griffiths, Peter (Smethwick) Osborne, Sir Cyril (Louth)
Brinton, Sir Tatton Harris, Reader (Heston) Page, R. Graham (Crosby)
Bromley-Davenport, Lt.-Col. Sir Walter Harvey, John (Walthamstow, E.) Pearson, Sir Frank (Clitheroe)
Brown, Sir Edward (Bath) Hay, John Peel, John
Bruce-Gardyne, J. Heald, Rt. Hn. Sir Lionel Pickthorn, Rt. Hn. Sir Kenneth
Buchanan-Smith, Alick Hiley, Joseph Pitt, Dame Edith
Buck, Antony Hill, J. E. B. (S. Norfolk) Pounder, Rafton
Bullus, Sir Eric Hobson, Rt. Hn. Sir John Powell, Rt. Hn. J. Enoch
Buxton, Ronald Hordern, Peter Ramsden, Rt. Hn. James
Campbell, Gordon Hornby, Richard Rawlinson, Rt. Hn. Sir Peter
Carlisle, Mark Hornsby-Smith, Rt. Hn. Dame P. Ridsdale, Julian
Clark, William (Nottingham, S.) Hunt, John (Bromley) Sandys, Rt. Hn. D.
Clarke, Brig. Terence (Portsmth, W.) Hutchison, Michael Clark Sharples, Richard
Cole, Norman Iremonger, T. L. Sinclair, Sir George
Cooke, Robert Jenkin, Patrick (Woodford) Smith, Dudley (Br'ntf'd & Chiswick)
Courtney, Cdr. Anthony Johnson Smith, G. (East Grinstead) Spearman, Sir Alexander
Craddock, Sir Beresford (Spelthorne) Jopling, Michael Stanley, Hn. Richard
Crosthwaite-Eyre, Col. Sir Oliver Kaberry, Sir Donald Stodart, Anthony
Curran, Charles Kilfedder, James A. Stoddart-Scott, Col. Sir Malcolm
Dalkeith, Earl of King, Evelyn (Dorset, S.) Summers, Sir Spencer
Dance, James Kirk, Peter Taylor, Edward M. (G' gow, Cathcart)
Davies, Dr. Wyndham (Perry Barr) Lagden, Godfrey Taylor, Frank (Moss Side)
d'Avigdor-Goldstmid, Sir Henry Lambton, Viscount Tiley, Arthur (Bradford, W.)
Dean, Paul Langford-Holt, Sir John Turton, Rt. Hn. R. H.
Deedes, Rt. Hn. W. F. Legge-Bourke, Sir Harry Tweedsmuir, Lady
Douglas-Home, Rt. Hn. Sir Alec Longbottom, Charles van Straubenzee, W. R.
Elliot, Capt. Walter (Carshalton) Longden, Gilbert Vaughan-Morgan, Rt. Hn. Sir John

the President of the Board of Trade has made his report. It is a pity that the hon. Member for Moray and Nairn (Mr. G. Campbell) gets things wrong. If he wanted to know about shipbuilding it would have been a good thing if he had read page 10 of the Daily Express today. He could add to that the contracts placed by Defence Departments respectively.

Housing completions will fall just now because the former Government did not authorise the building of houses and did not approve tenders. During the last nine months of the previous Government, tenders approved amounted to 17,500, but in the first nine months of this Government 26,000 were approved. Scotland is doing well. It will continue to do better under this Government.

Question put, That a sum, not exceeding £1,807,000, be granted for the said Service:—

The Committee divided: Ayes 145, Noes 172.

Vickers, Dame Joan Wells, John (Maidstone)
Walker, Peter (Worcester) Whitelaw, William TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Wall, Patrick Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro) Mr. Martin McLaren and
Ward, Dame Irene Wolrige-Gordon, Patrick Mr. Ian MacArthur.
Webster, David Woodhouse, Hn. Christopher
Albu Austen Harrison, Walter (Wakefield) Oswald, Thomas
Alldritt, Walter Hattersley, Roy Owen, Will
Allen, Scholefield (Crewe) Herbison, Rt. Hn. Margaret Palmer, Arthur
Atkinson, Norman Holman, Percy Parker, John
Bacon, Miss Alice Hooson, H. E. Pentland, Norman
Bagier, Gordon A. T. Houghton, Rt. Hn. Douglas Popplewell, Ernest
Barnett, Joel Howarth, Harry (Wellingborough) Prentice, R. E.
Baxter, William Howarth, Robert L. (Bolton, E.) Price, J. T. (Westhoughton)
Beaney, Alan Howell, Denis (Small Heath) Pursey, Cmdr. Harry
Bence, Cyril Howie, W. Randall, Harry
Benn, Rt. Hn. Anthony Wedgwood Hoy, James Rankin, John
Bennett, J. (Glasgow, Bridgeton) Hughes, Emrys (S. Ayrshire) Redhead, Edward
Bessell, Peter Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.) Reynolds, G. W.
Blackburn, F. Hunter, Adam (Dunfermline) Richard, Ivor
Blenkinsop, Arthur Hunter, A. E. (Feltham) Roberts, Albert (Normanton)
Boston, Terence Irving, Sydney (Dartford) Robertson, John (Paisley)
Bowen, Roderic (Cardigan) Janner, Sir Barnett Rodgers, William (Stockton)
Braddock, Mrs. E. M. Jay, Rt. Hn, Douglas Rogers, George (Kensington, N.)
Bray, Dr. Jeremy Jeger, George (Goole) Rose, Paul B.
Brown, Rt. Hn. George (Belper) Johnson, James (K'ston-on-Hull, W.) Ross, Rt. Hn. William
Brown, Hugh D. (Glasgow, Provan) Johnston, Russell (Inverness) Sheldon, Robert
Brown, R. W. (Shoreditch & Fbury) Jones, Dan (Burnley) Short, Rt. Hn. E. (N'c' tle-on-Tyne, C.)
Buchan, Norman (Renfrewshire, W.) Jones, Rt. Hn. Sir Elwyn (W. Ham, S.) Silkin, John (Deptford)
Carmichael, Neil Kelley, Richard Skeffington, Arthur
Carter-Jones, Lewis Kenyon, Clifford Slater, Mrs. Harriet (Stoke, N.)
Castle, Rt. Hn. Barbara Kerr, Mrs. Anne (R'ter & Chatham) Slater, Joseph (Sedgefield)
Chapman, Donald Kerr, Dr. David (W'worth, Central) Small, William
Crawshaw, Richard Lawson, George Soskice, Rt. Hn. Sir Frank
Cronin, John Leadbitter, Ted Steel, David (Roxburgh)
Crossman, Rt. Hn. R. H. S. Lee, Miss Jennie (Cannock) Steele, Thomas (Dunbartonshire, W.)
Cullen, Mrs. Alice Lever, L. M. (Ardwick) Stones, William
Dalyell, Tam Lewis, Arthur (West Ham, N.) Summerskill, Hn. Dr. Shirley
Davies, G. Elfed (Rhondda, E.) Lewis, Ron (Carlisle) Swingler, Stephen
Dempsey, James Loughlin, Charles Symonds, J. B.
Doig, Peter Lubbock, Eric Taverne, Dick
Dunn, James A. Mabon, Dr. J. Dickson Thomas, George (Cardiff, W.)
English, Michael McCann, J. Thomson, George (Dundee, E.)
Ennals, David MacColl, James Thornton, Ernest
Ensor, David MacDermot, Niall Thorpe, Jeremy
Fitch, Alan (Wigan) McGuire, Michael Tinn, James
Fletcher, Sir Eric (Islington, E.) McInnes, James Tuck, Raphael
Fletcher, Ted (Darlington) Mackenzie, Gregor (Rutherglen) Urwin, T. W.
Foley, Maurice Mackie, George Y. (C'ness & S'land) Wainwright, Edwin
Foot, Sir Dingle (Ipswich) Mallalieu, J. P. W. (Huddersfield, E.) Walker, Harold (Doncaster)
Ford, Ben Mason, Roy Wallace, George
Fraser, Rt. Hn. Tom (Hamilton) Maxwell, Robert Whitlock, William
Galpern, Sir Myer Mayhew, Christopher Willey, Rt. Hn. Frederick
Garrett, W. E. Mellish, Robert Williams, W. T. (Warrington)
Garrow, A. Millan, Bruce Willis, George (Edinburgh, E.)
Gregory, Arnold Miller, Dr. M. S. Wilson, Rt. Hn. Harold (Huyton)
Grey, Charles Mulley, Rt. Hn. Frederick (Sheffield Pk) Winterbottom, R. E.
Griffiths, David (Rother Valley) Neal, Harold Woodburn, Rt. Hn. A.
Griffiths, Rt. Hn. James (Llanelly) Newens, Stan Woof, Robert
Griffiths, Will (M'chester, Exchange) Norwood, Christopher Zilliacus, K.
Grimond, Rt. Hn. J. Ogden, Eric
Hamilton, James (Bothwell) O'Malley, Brian TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Hamilton, William (West Fife) Oram, Albert E. (E. Ham, S.) Mr. Ifor Davies and
Hannan, William Orbach, Maurice Mr. Harry Gourlay.
Harper, Joseph Orme, Stanley

Original Question again proposed.

Mr. John Robertson (Paisley) rose

It being after Ten o'clock, The CHAIRMAN left the Chair to report Progress and ask leave to sit again.

Committee report Progress: to sit again Tomorrow.