§ 26. Mr. John Smith
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will make an official visit to Caldercruix, Lanarkshire.
§ Mr. Gordon Campbell
I shall be glad to visit this area of Lanarkshire when parliamentary and other calls upon my time enable me to include it in my programme.
§ Mr. Smith
The Secretary of State will be aware that shortly after the announcement of the closure of Craig's paper mill at Caldercruix on 7th April, I wrote to him asking him to receive a deputation from local churches, trade union leaders, the county councillor and myself. Three weeks later, on 30th April, the Under-Secretary wrote to me saying that he saw no useful purpose in that meeting. Bearing in mind the absolute disaster which has hit the community of Caldercruix, is not the Secretary of State treating my constituents and, for that matter, myself, in an absolutely disgraceful way by refusing even to meet us to discuss the matter? Is he aware that the people will feel that they have been treated with contempt? What form of apology does he think that I should make to them on his behalf? Finally, if he will not meet people to discuss their economic problems, had not he better get rid of these responsibilities to some other Department?
§ Mr. Campbell
The hon. Gentleman indicated in his speech that he is mistaken in this. As I informed him when we spoke about this at the time of the firm's announcement of closure, I am acutely aware of the effect of such a closure upon a relatively small community where the main source of employment is the factory to be closed. My experience of this comes from three years ago, when the closure of the railway works at Inverurie, near my constituency, occurred on a larger scale. But I would not wish to mislead anyone, including those in Caldercruix, into thinking that my responsibility as Secretary of State for Scotland covered international pricing policies for the paper industry or other matters connected with that industry. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, who is respon- 1366 sible for such matters, is very much aware of the problems, and my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Employment is giving all possible help to those made redundant.
§ Mr. Ross
Surely the Secretary of State has sufficient Ministers—one in Scotland, a Minister of State, as well as a Minister who calls himself the Minister for Development on every possible occasion—that they can show their interest by meetting local people. He mentioned Inverurie. He should be aware that I met delegations from Inverurie here and the Minister of State met them in Inverurie. We did what we could. We were not as successful as we should have liked, but at least we showed our Ministerial presence and concern.
§ Mr. Campbell
That was a case of a nationalised industry causing a change and the Government were much more affected. This is a matter in which new industry has to be attracted, and my right hon. Friend is mainly concerned with that. If I could do anything to help by seeing a deputation, I or my hon. Friends would be glad to do so. But I must make it clear that other Ministers have the responsibility. It would be wrong for anyone to think that it was within my responsibility to deal with these industrial questions. But I have every concern about the problem, and I have no intention of being discourteous, or anything else, as the hon. Member for Lanarkshire, North (Mr. John Smith) has pretended.
§ Mr. Campbell
For the same reason that one Department dealing with roads, housing and electricity in the Scottish Office has, since 1962, been called the Development Department. It was made perfectly clear—and if the right hon. Gentleman had bothered to read the announcement at the time, he would have seen this—that when my hon. Friend was given this title, it did not transfer any of the responsibilities which statutorily lie with other Ministers.
§ Mr. Smith
On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. How can I be assisted to discover from the reply of the Secretary of 1367 State whether he will meet the deputation? That is my difficulty. If he will not, in view of the absolutely disgraceful nature of that reply, I beg to give notice that I shall seek an early opportunity of raising the matter on the Adjournment.