HC Deb 09 March 1966 vol 725 cc2082-3
11. Mr. G. Campbell

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland whether the Scottish Economic Planning Board has yet carried out its study of future development and transport requirements in the north-east of Scotland.

28. Sir W. Anstruther-Gray

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland whether the Scottish Economic Planning Board has yet completed its survey of the development and transport requirements of the Borders.

Mr. Ross

The White Paper on the Scottish Economy included comprehensive surveys of the economic resources and prospects of these regions and proposals for their development. The implementation of these proposals and their adaptation to changing circumstances will be a matter for the regional consultative groups which I am setting up.

Mr. Campbell

As at least one important decision on transport in the North-East is apparently awaiting the result of such an inquiry, can the hon. Gentleman give any indication when this further consultative group will have completed its studies?

Mr. Ross

I think the hon. Gentleman realises that the Vice-Chairman of the Scottish Economic Planning Council was in the area yesterday, and I am sure the hon. Gentleman will have read with interest, and will applaud, the result of that visit, as it is likely that we will have the consultative group set up very shortly, as soon as we are returned to power.

Lady Tweedsmuir

Can the right hon. Gentleman say why he is apparently satisfied with the part of the plan which refers to the north-east of Scotland, particularly the Aberdeen area? Does he realise that there is no specific proposal, in spite of everything which a Labour Government promised to do?

Mr. Ross

I assure the hon. Lady that now, for the first time, we are bringing Aberdeen into the picture, as she said it should be about three years ago, but her Government never did anything about it. We are now proceeding from the point of strategy to tactics, and with the help and support of the people in the area, and the new investment policy, I see a far brighter future for Aberdeen than the hon. Lady does.

Mr. David Steel

Does the right hon. Gentleman's first answer mean that the question of the possible closure of the Waverley-Carlisle line will be referred to the new consultative group for the Borders?

Mr. Ross

I think that if the hon. Gentleman waits in patience he will find that there is a Question on the Order Paper about this.

Mr. Noble

As the right hon. Gentleman's only hope for the North-East was to congratulate them on their fertility, does he regard this as strategy or tactics?

Mr. Ross

The right hon. Gentleman has based his question on a wrong premise. We have already given attention to Aberdeen by the development of new factories and new industrial areas there, and we have not finished by a long chalk.