HC Deb 10 November 1971 vol 825 cc980-1
3. Mr. Grimond

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what steps he is taking to protect Scottish interests in the development of North Sea oil and gas, in particular by ensuring that some part of the financial gain is reaped by the Scottish economy, and that fishing interests are safeguarded against obstruction and pollution.

Mr. Gordon Campbell

I am in close touch with the Ministers directly responsible to ensure that Scottish interests are fully protected. The Scottish economy will benefit from this development. All practical steps are being taken to safeguard fishing interests.

Mr. Grimond

Has the Secretary of State made a definite claim that Scotland should benefit directly by acquiring some part of the profits which will be made from the natural resources in the waters of Scotland? Is there any information about the pollution which may be caused in the event of oil being released into the sea or, referring to movement at the bottom of the sea, the pipes taking it ashore being split?

Mr. Campbell

I am doing everything to stimulate activity in Scotland arising from this development. My hon. Friend gave a fairly full report of the present situation in reply to an Adjournment debate last Monday, which is on the record. Regarding any suggestion of Scotland taking the revenues, I will only ask the right hon. Gentleman whether he has reflected on the consequences of relating public expenditure in Scotland directly, and perhaps only, to revenue arising within her boundaries or her shores, bearing in mind, for example, that North Sea gas has been piped for some time from off the shores of England.

Mr. W. H. K. Baker

Would my right hon. Friend be a little more specific when he states that fishing interests will be safeguarded in this matter?

Mr. Campbell

I assure my hon. Friend that the Government will do everything possible to bring together the oil interests and the fishing interests, so that they may keep each other informed of their activities.

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