HC Deb 03 March 1975 vol 887 c1038
42. Mr. David Steel

asked the Lord President of the Council what representations he has had from official bodies in Scotland concerning the Government's proposals for devolution.

Mr. Edward Short

The White Paper published in September last year indicated that written representations were received from over 60 organisations in Scotland and that my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Scotland and his colleagues subsequently held a series of discussions with some of these bodies.

Mr. Steel

Is the Lord President aware, particularly in the light of his recent visit, of a growing body of opinion in Scotland which argues that the Government should either proceed with the maximum degree of devolution or else not touch the subject, and that the one thing we do not want is the façade of devolution at great public expense?

Mr. Short

The hon. Gentleman will have read the Government's White Paper of last September. I would hardly say that that was the façade of devolution. We are proposing that there should be executive and legislative devolution to Scotland—legislative devolution in the fields in which Scotland now has its own legislation.

Mr. Sillars

Will my right hon. Friend confirm that one of the most important written statements was a Labour Party policy statement just before the election which said that as well as legislative devolution there would be substantial executive devolution of powers over trade and industry?

Mr. Short

That was a very important document. This weekend we have had an equally important document—one of the best documents we have had on this subject—from the Scottish Trades Union Congress.