HC Deb 09 November 1966 vol 735 cc1303-4
32. Mr. MacArthur

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what is the estimated expenditure this financial year by the Highlands and Islands Development Board on projects in the Highland counties.

Mr. Willis

The estimates for grant-in-aid to the Board in this financial year include £320,000 for grants and loans to industry and other projects. The whole of this provision is likely to be used for grants and loans, and my right hon. Friend may have to seek a supplementary provision.

Mr. MacArthur

Is the Minister of State aware that the cost of the Selective Employment Tax in these same Highland counties will be between £2 million and £3 million in a full year? Is he aware further that this is nearly 10 times as much as the aid, welcome as it is, being provided by the Board? Will he look again seriously at the impact of this monstrous tax on the Highlands?

Mr. Willis

That is the hon. Gentleman's estimate. There are a number of factors here. The hon. Gentleman asked about the Highlands and Islands Development Board. He has the answer.

Mr. Russell Johnston

Is the Minister of State aware that it is not the hon. Gentleman's estimate but one provided by the Government themselves, who said that £2 million a year would be removed from the Highlands by the Selective Employment Tax?

Hon. Members


Mr. Willis

I answered this question many months ago in the Scottish Grand Committee. There are a large number of factors involved in calculations of this kind, which make it exceedingly difficult.