HC Deb 06 December 1967 vol 755 cc1414-5
4. Mr. James Davidson

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will list the regional economic consultative groups and advisory committees which he has set up throughout Scotland, and define their functions and responsibilities.

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

I have set up economic planning consultative groups for the Borders, the North-East, the South-West and Tayside. Their function is to advise me on the formulation and implementation of development policies proposals for their respective regions.

I have also set up the Highlands and Island Development Consultative Council to advise the Highlands and Islands Development Board on the exercise and performance of its functions.

Mr. Davidson

I thank the Secretary of State for his Answer, but will he not agree that, instead of piecemeal advice and centralised administration, the urgent need is for a North-East development authority and, perhaps, six other regional authorities in Scotland, on the pattern of the Highlands and Islands Development Board, but responsible to elected regional councils?

Mr. Ross

That is a fine and long supplementary question, but the hon. Gentleman should keep in mind that we have made a start, we have set up the Highlands and Islands Development Board, and at that time I said that it might well be a pattern for the future. It is far too early to go on from that now. I do not regard the advice given by the members of the Board as piecemeal. They look at problems in their areas in whole, and they have set up distinctive committees for consideration of special problems. I would rather the hon. Gentleman appreciated the good work they are doing instead of denying them their due.