HC Deb 14 April 1976 vol 909 cc1362-3
9. Mr. Fairgrieve

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what action he intends to take to alleviate the present problems facing the paper-making industry in West Aberdeenshire.

Mr. Millan

The paper-making industry in Scotland, together with other manufacturing industries, is eligible for the full range of assistance under the Government's regional policies.

Mr. Fairgrieve

Does the Minister appreciate that the paper mills in my constituency and in other parts of the United Kingdom would be greatly helped if the Government ceased granting Scandinavian countries import facilities to which they would be entitled only if they were members of the Common Market, which patently they are not?

Mr. Millan

Some of these questions are for my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Trade. However, on the question of duty-free quotas, for example, there was a very small increase in the current year and that was basically in grades of paper which we are not producing. The hon. Gentleman knows that I am well aware of the problems in his constituency and that if there is anything I can do to help I am anxious to do it.

Mr. Buchanan

Is my right hon. Friend aware that the basic raw material in paper-making has been put at considerable risk by the catastrophic fall this year in plantings? Will he use his considerable influence to decrease the disincentive to planting in the present fiscal system?

Mr. Millan

I do not accept what my hon. Friend has said, but a vigorous forestry policy in this country, with the Forestry Commission taking the lead, is very much part of Government policy.

Mr. Watt

Does the Secretary of State recognise that there will soon be a need for a pulp mill in North-East Scotland? Will his Department do a feasibility study on it?

Mr. Millan

It is suggested that it might pulp the SNP speeches, but we are not interested in low-quality output.