HC Deb 13 January 1971 vol 809 cc45-6
17. Mr. Douglas

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will make a statement on the functions of the Economic Advisory Section in the Scottish Office.

10. Mr. Oswald

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will publish the names of his economic advisers.

Mr. Gordon Campbell

I draw, for economic advice, upon a wide range of sources: economists employed in the various departments of the Scottish Office, including those in the recently formed Economic and Statistics Unit: my Economic Consultants, a panel of Professors of Economics from the Universities of Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh and Strathclyde who, together with my Consultant on industrial matters, meet monthly in St. Andrew's House; and, of course, the members of the Scottish Economic Council.

Mr. Douglas

I thank the Secretary of State for his reply, but does he not concur that what is wrong with the Scottish economy is not the inadequacy or the quality of the economic advice offered to him but his insufficiency in carrying out the good advice? Will he do something about the malaise into which the Scottish economy is getting, and not present to the Scottish people a series of petty and spurious excuses?

Mr. Campbell

I and my right hon. and hon. Friends are doing something about the malaise in which we found the Scottish economy on arrival in office. That is the reason for the changes, amongst others, announced at the end of October. We are continuing a review of the previous system so as to avoid the stagnation and high unemployment which we found on arrival in office.

Mr. MacArthur

When my right hon. Friend makes his economic studies, will he consider by what process of planning his predecessor was able to promise the people of Scotland 60,000 extra jobs by 1970 and succeed in losing 82,000?

Mr. Campbell

I certainly am not above trying to learn from other people's mistakes, but I intend to concentrate on the future.

Mr. Ross

Can the Secretary of State tell us when we shall see this improvement?

Mr. Campbell

I hope during 1971.

Mr. Grimond

Will the Secretary of State agree that there are frequently occasions upon which the degree of squeeze which may be appropriate to England is wholly inappropriate to Scotland? Are his advisers considering proposing various economic and financial measures to suit the differences between the English and Scottish economies?

Mr. Campbell

These matters and others are all considered by the advisers, and I receive their advice. There is no shortage of advice, but, as the right hon. Gentleman who preceded me probably found, it sometimes conflicts.

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