HC Deb 17 March 1971 vol 813 cc1397-9
12. Mr. Lambie

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what plans he has for a meeting with the Chairman of the British Steel Corporation to put forward the case for a green field site steel mill at Hunterston.

Mr. Gordon Campbell

Responsibility for formulating development plans rests with the British Steel Corporation. I keep in touch with my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry on these and other matters, and I expect to meet the Chairman of the British Steel Corporation next week.

Mr. Lambie

That is at least an answer which gives us some information. Important decisions are being taken by the British Steel Corporation, and unless the Secretary of State makes his voice heard on behalf of the people of Scotland we shall have no steel industry in Scotland. I ask the right hon. Gentleman not to spend his time speaking to Young Conservatives over the weekend but to do something in the places which matter.

Mr. Campbell

That is my endeavour. If I tried to do all the things which hon. Members opposite ask me to do, there would not be enough time in 24 hours. Three weeks ago one hon. Member opposite expected me to do a complete rural tour of Scotland. My voice will certainly be heard where it is needed.

Mr. Lawson

While being wholly behind the efforts to develop Hunterston, may I ask the right hon. Gentleman to ensure that a temporary recession in the steel industry is not utilised to kill off substantial parts of the industry in Scotland?

Mr. Campbell

I do not necessarily accept the situation as described by the hon. Gentleman, but I think he knows that it has been made clear by the British Steel Corporation that it regards the Scottish steel industry as an important area for future development.

Mr. Ross

Did the right hon. Gentleman take the opportunity to make it clear that he supports the ore terminal at Hunterston and the proposed steel development there which Scotland needs so much?

Mr. Campbell

It is clear from the fact that I have zoned the land for the ore terminal and thereby quickly removed one possible obstacle that I have pointed to the attractions of Hunterston as a site for steel works and an ore terminal.

Mr. Douglas

Will the right hon. Gentleman ensure that any discussions between the Clyde Port Authority and the British Steel Corporation are not inhibited in any way by the withholding of the necessary finance by the Chancellor of the Exchequer?

Mr. Campbell

That is another question. I am keeping closely in touch with the whole question of the development of the steel industry in Scotland.