HC Deb 30 July 1975 vol 896 cc1800-1
8. Mr. MacCormick

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will pay an official visit to the oil platform construction site at Portavadie.

Mr. Milan

My right hon. Friend has no plans at present to visit this site.

Mr. MacCormick

When the Secretary of State makes plans to visit the site at Portavadie, bearing in mind the huge sum of Government money invested in it and the importance of future expansion of tourism in the area—and since the company involved is having to reconsider the transport arrangements—will the right hon. Gentleman consider setting up proper vehicle ferries at Tarbert, on Loch Fyne, and Portavadie, with a view to further developing the area?

Mr. Milan

We have looked into this matter, but we feel that the need has not been proven and we are not willing to give a grant for it. We have suggested that the harbour authority should discuss the matter with the Strathclyde Regional Council. I understand that when the site is operative the contractors will use their own ferry, so that their operations will not be affected by the absence of a normal roll-on roll-off ferry.

Mr. Lambie

When my hon. Friend takes the boat across the Clyde to go to Argyll he will see very large bulk oil carriers discharging their cargoes into smaller tankers, which will transport the oil to refineries outside Scotland. This means that not one job is provided in Scotland in connection with that oil. Is my hon. Friend aware that while he is on the boat to Argyll, if he looks towards the Ayrshire coast he will see the Hunters-ton peninsula. We are very grateful to the Secretary of State for giving permission for an oil platform site there, but the people are disturbed and dissatisfied at his persistent refusal to give a final decision on the applications for an oil refinery on the peninsula, in spite of the ever-increasing level of unemployment.

Mr. Milan

I have not yet said that I am going on the boat, but if I do I shall look out for all these interesting things. I have nothing to add to what has been said by my right hon. Friend about the oil refinery at Hunterston, except that there are very serious nuclear safety factors involved there which must be taken into account; but my right hon. Friend has already made his view clear about that.