HC Deb 26 March 1975 vol 889 cc461-3
8. Mr. Sillars

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland when he next plans to meet the Scottish TUC to discuss economic and employment prospects.

Mr. William Ross

I had a full discussion of these matters with the STUC at the end of February, in company with the Prime Minister and my colleagues principally concerned. We propose to repeat this occasion annually, and, of course, I shall continue to meet the STUC myself as and when the occasion requires.

Mr. Sillars

Is my right hon. Friend aware that the meeting was warmly welcomed in Scotland? Will he confirm that when dealing with the middle- and longterm position the Scottish TUC put great emphasis on the Scottish Development Agency being controlled by the Scottish Assembly in Edinburgh? Notwithstanding the narrow defeat of the excellent composite Resolution No. 1 at Aberdeen last Friday will my right hon. Friend agree to give the most serious consideration to the point of view of the Scottish trade union movement, especially as it received such weighty support from, for example, my hon. Friend the Member for Renfrewshire, West (Mr. Buchan)?

Mr. Ross

I assure my hon. Friend that I shall take full account of the views of the STUC. I shall give due weight to the decisions of the political wing of the Scottish trade union movement.

Mr. Rifkind

Will the right hon. Gentleman inform the House what he believes would be the effects on employment in Scotland if Scotland and Britain as a whole were to leave the European Community?

Mr. Ross

I should be happy to do that if the hon. Gentleman managed to table a Question and if I managed to answer it.

Mr. Lambie

Does my right hon. Friend remember that after his last meeting with the STUC at the Scottish summit the Prime Minister gave an assurance that Hunterston would be started by 1982? Later, in an effort not to be outdone, Monty Finniston, the Chairman of the British Steel Corporation, stated, in an interview with the industrial editor of theGlasgow Herald, that he would start the preparatory work now. When will my right hon. Friend get into step with the Prime Minister, Monty Finniston and everyone else in Scotland and start building up our infrastructure, and when will he open the new motorway connecting North Ayrshire with the M8 and the M74?

Mr. Ross

I shall be delighted to open it when it is finished.

Mr. Fairgrieve

If the Scottish TUC does not take the Government's advice to support Britain's staying in the Common Market. will the Secretary of State ask it who is to pay the huge grants that Scotland is currently receiving from theCommunity—[HON. MEMBERS: "Reading."]—and who will provide employment for those made redundant—[HON. MEMBERS: "Still reading."]—in the main Scottish industries for which the biggest market is in Europe?

Mr. Ross

The Question relates to my plans for meeting the STUC. If the hon. Member had the time to write that supplementary question down why did he not write it out and put it on the Order Paper?