HC Deb 21 January 1970 vol 794 cc505-6
28. Mr. Stodart

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if assurances were given to the Tayside Economic Planning Consultative Group that it would be consulted before any final decision to close the sugar beet factory at Cupar was taken; and what consultations took place.

Mr. Buchan

The Chairman of the Tayside Economic Planning Consultative Group was informed last July of the British Sugar Corporation's intention to close the factory at the end of the 1971–72 season. The group has since discussed this matter with my Department.

Mr. Stodart

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that, according to paragraph 9 of the memorandum which was presented to his right hon. Friend by the National Farmers' Union, assurances were given that consultations would take place, not that information would be given? Did consultations take place—if not, why not —about a matter which is vital to not only Scottish agriculture but that particular region?

Mr. Buchan

As I understand it, the chairman was informed a few days before the closure was made public. But it is not taking place for three years. Meantime, the group has made its views on this known to us.