HC Deb 05 May 1971 vol 816 cc1345-7
1. Mr. Douglas

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will make a statement regarding the relationship of the Scottish Council (Development and Industry) to the Scottish Economic Council with regard to the attraction of industry to Scotland.

The Secretary of State for Scotland (Mr. Gordon Campbell)

Apart from the fact that some members of the Scottish Economic Council are also members of the Executive Committee of the Scottish Council (Development and Industry) there is no formal relationship between the two bodies whose functions are quite different.

Mr. Douglas

Whatever the formal relationship for the attraction of industry to Scotland, does the right hon. Gentleman accept that the recent local election results show that the Government's policy for the attraction of industry to Scotland is viewed with extreme disfavour by the Scottish populace?

Mr. Campbell

I wondered how soon a reference would be made to these events. The Scottish Council and the Scottish Economic Council are, in their various tasks, both doing an excellent job.

Mr. Grimond

Can the right hon. Gentleman say whether he has any information about what are the most important factors in attracting industry to Scotland or repelling it? Is it cheap credit, transport, the fact that firms can find environmental situations in Scotland that they cannot get elsewhere, or what? It is important to know the main factors.

Mr. Campbell

It is difficult to give a categorical answer to that question. I will write to the right hon. Gentleman. We had a debate about these matters recently. There are some very important attractions and inducements that we can offer in Scotland, not only to industry which is mobile in the United Kingdom but also to industry abroad. In the case of United Kingdom industry, we have to beat inflation and to get growth and investment confidence again in order to attract it.

3. Mr. William Hamilton

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what official overseas visits he has planned over the next 12 months for the purpose of attracting new industry to Scotland.

Mr. Gordon Campbell

Following the visit to Germany last year of my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary of State for Development, arrangements have been made between the Scottish Office and the Scottish Council for a campaign to attract industry from Europe to Scotland. This campaign will require extensive and frequent visits to Europe by those concerned in it; and my hon. Friend will be there again later this year to see how the campaign is going. Further Ministerial visits will be made when the need arises.

Mr. Hamilton

Will the right hon. Gentleman tell us whether there is any concrete evidence of the results of this activity? In view of yesterday's events, would he not be making a better contribution to employment prospects in Scotland if he made himself a permanent emigrant? Is it not a disgrace that at a time when we are asking Scottish Questions for a whole hour there are no more than three Scottish Tory Members of Parliament on the benches opposite?

Mr. Campbell

The evidence is apparent in inquiries which are being made, but naturally commercial inquiries are confidential until particular projects are announced by the companies concerned.

Regarding yesterday's events, I should imagine that it is the Scottish Nationalists who may wish to become emigrants as they are the sufferers from what happened overnight.

Mr. Maclennan

What steps has the Secretary of State taken to draw to the attention of foreign developers the advantages of the Highlands in the light of the ban which he put on the Highlands Development Board carrying out its own promotional exercises overseas?

Mr. Campbell

I have put no ban on the Highlands Development Board. I have tried to rationalise and arrange the co-ordination of the promotion of Scotland as a whole, so that different parts of Scotland and different bodies are not competing against each other and also causing confusion when they visit other countries or other bodies abroad. The Scottish Council and the Government are working in partnership to achieve this kind of promotion for the whole of Scotland.

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