HC Deb 24 May 1972 vol 837 cc1411-2
8. Mr. Sillars

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will make an early official visit to Ayrshire.

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

I have no immediate plans to do so. I recently made a number of visits in Ayrshire and addressed the Ayr Chamber of Commerce.

Mr. Sillars

Since the Secretary of State has no immediate plans to visit Ayrshire, does he recall that when he gave the "chop" to the Chevron oil development at Hunterston he emphasised the importance of the steel development there? Does he still regard a massive green field steel development at Hunterston as essential to the long-term life of the Scottish economy?

Mr. Campbell

My decision on Chevron followed a public inquiry and the recommendations of the reporter, the inquiry having been started by my predecessor. The hon. Gentleman should look carefully at my decision letter and at all the reasons given for that decision. I gave planning permission in principle which paved the way for a steel installa- tion and there is no reason why an installation should not in due course be planned there.

Mr. Brewis

When my right hon. Friend visits Ayrshire, will he take the opportunity to sympathise with the people in the area on the number of pit closures which have taken place, with subsequent loss of jobs, as a result of the actions of a Labour Administration?

Mr. Campbell

I note what my hon. Friend said.

Dr. Dickson Mabon

In view of the statement by officials of the Scottish Development Department when giving evidence on land use to the Scottish Select Committee about the number of sites over 100 acres which are labelled as available for exploitation, and in view of the fact that there is in Clause 12(6) of the Industry Bill power to purchase these sites, is there any possibility of the Secretary of State agreeing that the Scottish Industrial Estates Corporation might buy the land at Hunterston in advance of development?

Mr. Campbell

I am prepared to consider any practical possibilities. At the moment the Hunterston Development Company is carrying out an urgent study and we expect results in the summer and autumn. I am prepared to listen to any recommendations and then to do what the Government can to assist.

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