HC Deb 05 April 1967 vol 744 cc239-40
41. Mr. Bruce-Gardyne

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what consideration the Scottish Economic Planning Board has given to the Confederation of British Industry's February survey of industrial trends in Scotland, a copy of which has been sent to him, and, in particular, to its conclusions that the industrial investment outlook is now less encouraging in Scotland than it is in England.

Mr. Ross

The Board keeps itself closely informed of all indicators of industrial trends and prospects in Scotland, including the C.B.I.'s Survey.

Mr. Bruce-Gardyne

Would not the right hon. Gentleman agree that it is profoundly depressing that plant investment expectations in Scotland apparently fell between October and February when they rose in England? Is not that an indication of the total inadequacy of the Government's system of investment grants and of the hollowness of the Government's claim to have sheltered Scotland from the squeeze?

Mr. Ross

The hon. Gentleman is hopelessly wrong. He will appreciate that this survey was before the recent announcement about investment grant. He must not overdo his pre-Budget posture of gloom. The survey itself suggests that there was less pessimism in February than had been displayed in October. The fact that figures of industrial development in Scotland are now running at very high rates is itself something which will confound the pessimists.

Mr. Grimond

if the Chancellor of the Exchequer is now to give certain rebates of Selective Employment Tax to areas of high unemployment, will the Secretary of Slate for Scotland represent to him that, welcome as that would be, there are many parts of Scotland with high unemployment where there is very little productive industry but many service industries, and that one of the best things the Chancellor can do is to relieve those industries of S.E.T.?

Mr. Ross

I am sure that my right hon. Friend will read with interest and carefully note what the right hon. Gentleman has said.