HC Deb 30 November 1966 vol 737 cc442-3
25. Mr. Wolrige-Gordon

asked the Minister of Aviation what further developments he has considered for the aircraft industry in Scotland; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Snow

When suitable work becomes available I will continue to bear in mind the existing facilities, skills and needs of Scotland.

Mr. Wolrige-Gordon

I thank the Minister for that reply, but is he aware that there is now considerable and serious unemployment in Scotland and that as—I hope—expansion in this industry will continue in spite of him and his right hon. Friends, may we expect a great increase in the amount of work of this kind which will be done in Scotland?

Mr. Snow

I do not know whether the hon. Gentleman is referring to unemployment generally or within the aerospace industry. In fact, employment in the aviation industry in Scotland is somewhat above the 1964 level. Furthermore, we are pleased to know that the smaller firms in Scotland are being successful in securing sub-contracting work from overseas.

Mr. Goodhew

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that whether in Scotland or England the aircraft industry feels that there are absolutely no projects in the pipeline at all? How does he expect the industry to manage so long as he and his hon. and right hon. Friends on the Treasury Bench sit there and do nothing about it?

Mr. Snow

No doubt that will go down very well in the hon. Member's constituency. The fact is that we are trying to approach the forecast needs on the basis of world requirements as opposed to purely national requirements. This is very important if we are to have some chance of recouping what have hitherto been substantial historic losses.

Mr. Rankin

Is my hon. Friend—

Mr. Speaker

Order. I have not called the hon. Gentleman yet. Mr. Rankin.

Mr. Rankin

Is my hon. Friend aware that the maintenance industry at Renfrew in Scotland disappeared during the period when the party opposite was in power, that the industry in Prestwick disappeared and that this was their contribution to the advancement of the industry in Scotland?

Mr. Snow

I do not think that this side of the House needs reminding about the deplorable history in this matter of the party opposite.

Mr. R. Carr

Would the hon. Gentleman at least accept from this side of the House that, even though we may not be very satisfied with what is going on at the moment, we believe that it would be better done if the Ministry of Aviation continued than if it disappeared, that we regret that and thank the Minister for his service to this House?

Mr. Mulley

I am obliged to the right hon. Gentleman.

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