HC Deb 09 November 1970 vol 806 cc5-6
2. Mr. Strang

asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will now give Edinburgh full development area status.

45. Mr. Murray

asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he has now reconsidered the effects of the exclusion of Leith and Edinburgh from full development area status; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Anthony Grant

We are continuing our examination of the position of Edinburgh, Leith and Portobello in the course of our review of regional policy. An announcement will be made in due course.

Mr. Strang

Is the Under-Secretary of State aware that adult male unemployment registered at the Edinburgh, Leith and Portobello employment exchanges is now rising faster than in the rest of Scotland, and that if present trends con tinue it will exceed the overall Scottish average within two years? Will he give an assurance that he will announce his decision on Edinburgh's inclusion in the development area before the Christmas Recess and, when he announces that decision, will he make available to the House all the information and considerations which led him to make that decision?

Mr. Grant

I am not in a position to give the hon. Gentleman such an assurance, but I can assure him that I am aware of the difficult position of that area and the snags that are being encountered there. All I can say is that we are reviewing this as a matter of urgency and will make an announcement in due course.

Mr. Murray

Does the hon. Gentleman appreciate the seriousness of the exclusion of Leith from the surrounding Scottish development area? Is he aware that Leith, with Granton, is the only port in Scotland, that is not within the development area, and that Robb Caledon of Leith are the only shipbuilders in Scotland not to be within a development area?

Mr. Grant

I appreciate the difficulty in Leith. Indeed, had I had doubts they would have been relieved, because I have had a most eloquent plea from the hon. and learned Gentleman and his chamber of commerce only recently, and I will take careful note of what they have said.