HC Deb 22 April 1970 vol 800 cc395-6
4. Mr. Gordon Campbell

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will make a statement on the latest position in regard to rationalising the planning system in the area of the Firth of Clyde.

38. Mr. Gregor Mackenzie

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will make a statement on his plans for future planning arrangements in the Clyde Valley.

Mr. Ross

The Clyde Valley Planning Advisory Committee has for some time been considering proposals but before it by my hon. Friend the Minister of State for setting up an organisation to prepare a regional advisory plan for West Central Scotland. My hon. Friend is meeting the committe on 24th April, and I hope that final arrangements can be agreed at the meeting.

Mr. Campbell

Will the right hon. Gentleman confirm that it is now a year since the Government began to reactivate this advisory committee? Has the committee yet agreed with the Government upon its tasks or has agreement still to be decided on Friday? Is the right hon. Gentleman satisfied with the progress to date?

Mr. Ross

There is less trouble about the tasks, and we could readily reach agreement in respect of that aspect. It is the question of how to proceed from the point of view of representation on the committee. I am not pessimistic about the outcome, and I hope that on Friday my hon. Friend will reach a measure of agreement.

Mr. Mackenzie

Will my right hon. Friend accept that there are those of us who think that the advisory committee was allowed, by the other side of the House, to lie dormant for far too long? Can he assure the House that he is aware that we in Rutherglen and Lanarkshire would like him to act on this, because we are genuinely concerned about the effect of the movement of industry and so forth from Lanarkshire to the coast and the effect that it will have on the economy in general?

Mr. Ross

I am conscious of the cooperation that we have had from Rutherglen. Most people are anxious to have this committee reactivated. I am hopeful that my hon. Friend's meeting on Friday will have this effect.

Mr. Noble

Will the right hon. Gentleman bear in mind the proposals by Lord Wheatley when he produces his White Paper on this very important subject?

Mr. Ross

This is a different question. There are many aspects of co-operation which have to be taken into account and which can be frustrated by a failure to get agreement among different local authorities over the regional policy.