HC Deb 09 July 1975 vol 895 cc517-8
12. Mr. Gordon Wilson

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will pay an official visit to the industrial estates in Dundee.

20. Mr. Doig

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what plans he has for increasing employment prospects in Dundee.

Mr. Millan

I visited Dundee on 23rd June, when I had wide-ranging discussions on the unemployment situation with deputations from the district council and other local organisations. On 30th June, in answer to the hon. Member for Dundee, West (Mr. Doig), my right hon. Friend was pleased to announce the allocation of a 20,000 sq. ft. advance factory for Dundee.—[Vol. 894, c. 326.]

Mr. Wilson

I am grateful for that information most of which is already known to me and to others. Will the right hon. Gentleman take it from me that in the period since his visit to Dundee there have been continuing redundancies and the threatened redundancies at NCR have now taken place? Will he now state when the proposed Civil Service jobs within the estimated figure of 80 to 100 will be announced in detail and when they will take effect in the form of employment? Is he also aware that the helpful suggestion by the Government to deal with redundancies represents a drop in the ocean compared with the loss of industrial jobs affecting the constituency?

Mr. Millan

I do not disagree with the proposition that the comparatively small number of Civil Service jobs falls far short of any solution to Dundee's problem. I have never pretended that it provided a solution. I hope that details will be announced within the next week or two and that jobs will be taken to Dundee as rapidly as possible thereafter. The situation in Dundee is worrying and a good deal of it is reflected in the general state of the economy. That is why I had to make clear in Dundee, as I do now, that the answer to the problem is to improve the general health of the economy. That is what the Government are attempting to do.

Mr. Doig

Does my right hon. Friend agree that what is necessary above all else is to grant special area status to Dundee to allow it to compete on equal terms with other areas throughout the country in order to attract sufficient jobs to replace the large number of jobs which are being lost in the city of Dundee?

Mr. Millan

I have already said that I shall pursue that proposal. I am bound to say that given the comparatively small margin between special development area incentives and ordinary development area incentives, which dates from the Industry Act 1972, I do not think my hon. Friend's suggestion would make a substantial difference to the situation. I shall pursue the point.