HC Deb 06 May 1968 vol 764 cc20-1
29. Mr. William Hamilton

asked the Minister of Technology if he will make a statement on the growth of the electronics industry in Scotland in the last three years, and on the growth anticipated in the next three years up to 1971.

Dr. Bray

Over the past three years there has been an increase of some 55 per cent. in employment in the electronics and telecommunications industry in Scotland, which now embraces a wide range of production, including computers, telecommunications, instruments and microcircuits. Important new developments are taking place and we shall continue to take every opportunity to encourage growth of the Scottish electronics industry.

Mr. Hamilton

Can my hon. Friend say what that is in numbers of new jobs created the last three years and what is the prospect of the creation of new jobs in the next three years? What amount of public money, either in loans or grants, is being disposed of in this matter? Does he recognise that this is one of the most exciting developments in Scotland for a century?

Dr. Bray

Yes, indeed. My hon. Friend is well aware of this development since Glenrothes, one of the largest centres of growth, is in his constituency. The numbers employed on electronics and telecommunications is expected to rise to about 30,000 in Scotland by 1970. They will be spread over a very wide range—computers, micro-electronics, telecommunications and other electronic industries, but I am not in a position to say in detail what Government support has been given.

Mr. David Price

Will the hon. Gentleman confirm that this very encouraging growth has come from the diversification into Scotland of companies whose main activities are either in England or the United States of America and that it has not come from indigenously-based Scottish firms?

Dr. Bray

There has been some new growth from indigenously-based Scottish firms, notably former staff of Ferranti, Edinburgh, but the industry has not been there long enough to produce the spin-off the hon. Member has described.