HC Deb 18 January 1968 vol 756 cc1943-4
23. Mr. G. Campbell

asked the Secretary of State for Economic Affairs if he will make an official fact-finding tour of the north of Scotland.

Mr. Shore

I have no present plans to make such a tour.

Mr. G. Campbell

Will the right hon. Gentleman make a tour soon, because it is clear that he and his Department have no conception of the impact of the Selective Employment Tax upon this largely non-manufacturing area or of the effects of increases in transport costs over the last three years, now to be increased even more by proposals in the Transport Bill?

Mr. Shore

I must inform the hon. Gentleman that my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Scotland keeps me very well informed about developments and problems within the Scottish economy.

Mr. Hector Hughes

If the Minister organises such a fact-finding tour, will he pay particular attention to the lack of communications between North-East Scotland and the markets of Northern Europe, Scandinavia, Norway and Russia?

Mr. Shore

I am fully aware that communications are of special importance in the area, but I would not like to commit myself to when or if I shall be able to make such a fact-finding tour. I do not think that information about this par- ticular problem is dependent on my presence there.

Mr. Noble

Will the right hon. Gentleman realise that it is of the greatest importance to people in Scotland that other Members of the Cabinet should visit and find out for themselves what is happening there? We are not very satisfied that the Secretary of State for Scotland is representing us in the Cabinet.

Mr. Shore

I reject the right hon. Gentleman's last remark. As he probably recalls, it was only two months ago that my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister visited Scotland, and before that my predecessor made a number of visits there.