HC Deb 23 June 1971 vol 819 cc1409-10
15. Mr. Wolrige-Gordon

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland whether he will now review the position of the Gaskin Report in planning future developments in the north-east of Scotland.

Mr. Gordon Campbell

The Development Authority and the Joint Planning Advisory Committee are keeping the position of the region under continuous review in liaison with the appropriate Government Departments. The Report continues to be a valuable guide.

Mr. Wolrige-Gordon

I thank my right hon. Friend for that reply. Is he aware that this Report, on the figures he announced today, was the cheapest of the exercises undertaken by the previous Government? Is he also aware that the balance of projected development in the area is somewhat unfairly in the direction of the constituency of my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Aberdeenshire, West (Lieut.-Colonel Colin Mitchell whose political skill in these matters is becoming legendary, but that it ignores the essentially industrial towns of Fraser-burg and Peterhead, which are thereby placed at a comparative disadvantage? Will my right hon. Friend give an assurance that investment in the infrastructure of the region will not be unfairly weighted for that reason?

Mr. Campbell

I am sure that Professor Gaskin and his helpers were not concerned with the special pleading of any particular area. The Report was commissioned by, and submitted to, the previous Government before my hon. and gallant Friend won his seat. The Gaskin Report identified two growth zones, but made it clear that it was not excluding growth elsewhere. As the whole of the North-East has development area status, there is no special financial advantage for the two growth zones.

Mr. Robert Hughes

Is the Secretary of State not aware that the Gaskin Report laid great stress on the kind of incentives and help which the Government could give to bring industry into the area? Is he aware that this Development Authority, in conjunction with all interested bodies, is appalled at the change in Government policy on incentives? Will he look at this proposal again?

Mr. Campbell

I do not accept what the hon. Gentleman said. I have had meetings with these two bodies and there was no question of their objecting to the changes which have been agreed. It was widely represented that these changes would be more on the lines recommended by the Report.

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