HC Deb 19 June 1974 vol 875 cc468-9
14. Mr. Bruce-Gardyne

asked the Secretary of State for. Scotland if he will require the Scottish Development Department to conduct a survey of the loss of employment in Scotland resulting from the cancellation of arms export contracts and the resulting loss of prospective arms export orders, and to publish the results.

Mr. William Ross

No, Sir. I am not aware that there is likely to be any loss of employment in Scotland arising from the cancellation of arms export orders or contracts.

Mr. Bruce-Gardyne

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that that is a grossly inadequate answer? Cannot he grasp that whenever one of his right hon. Friends calls for the cancellation of orders from one country, owing to the selective morality of the Government, export orders for defence equipment to many other parts are automatically hazarded? Is it true, as the Ministry of Defence has said, that 100,000 jobs in Scotland are dependent on the defence industry? What is the right hon. Gentleman doing to exercise what little influence he may have in the Cabinet to protect jobs?

Mr. Ross

The hon. Gentleman asked me a Question about loss of employment and I have told him that there will be no loss of employment. That is true. He had better accept it—and keep his shirt on.

Mr. Speaker

Order. In spite of the fact that the hon. Member for Glasgow, Govan (Mr. Selby) is waving his Order Paper at me I shall call him for a supplementary question.

Mr. Selby

Is the Minister aware that there is some danger that the possible take-over of Barclay Curie's yard by Yarrow's could lead to unemployment at Govan Shipbuilders, which currently has a full order book? Does he appreciate that the developments of which I speak could lead to a diminution in Govan Shipbuilders' orders?

Mr. Ross

I note what my hon. Friend says.

Mr. Galbraith

Surely it is not a question of the jobs that have been lost but the prospective loss of jobs. In view of the great amount of public money in the shipbuilding industry, will the right hon. Gentleman apply his mind to that point?

Mr. Ross

I do not intend to make a survey of a hypothetical loss of hypothetical jobs as a result of cancelling hypothetical orders.

Mr. Bruce-Gardyne

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. In view of the totally unsatisfactory nature of that reply, I beg to give notice that I shall seek to raise this matter on the Adjournment at the earliest opportunity.