HC Deb 20 March 1974 vol 870 cc1016-7
16. Mr. Fairgrieve

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what steps he is taking to improve road and air communications with Aberdeen.

Mr. William Ross

I am giving high priority to the improvement of the roads affording access to Aberdeen, and a substantial number of schemes are in progress or in preparation. Air services, which are a matter for my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Trade, have recently been improved by the operators concerned and further improvements are in prospect.

Mr. Fairgrieve

Does the right hon. Gentleman appreciate that Aberdeen is the oil capital not just of Scotland or of the United Kingdom, but of the whole of Europe? Before any other communications start to be made with the United Kingdom, may I suggest that the road to Aberdeen is made dual carriageway throughout and that the Nissen huts which form Aberdeen airport are replaced by permanent structures?

Mr. Ross

It is because I realise the importance of Aberdeen in the development of oil that we have taken the action that has been announced.

Mr. Harry Ewing

Since taking office, has my right hon. Friend had time to study the announcement by the previous Government about investment in rail networks in Scotland and, particularly, to ascertain whether there has been a switch in resources from the road to the rail network to finance that?

Mr. Ross

I have not had time to make a detailed study of the point raised by my hon. Friend, but as he has brought it to my notice I shall do so.

Mr. Sproat

With regard to the infrastructure of Aberdeen, will the right hon. Gentleman acknowledge, in all fairness, that while much still needs to be done, much was done by the previous Government about Aberdeen harbour, Peterhead harbour—to set the A9 in train —and Dyce airport?

Mr. Ross

I do not hesitate to do that. Any scheme that is in progress was started by the previous administration.