HC Deb 13 December 1976 vol 922 cc953-4
11. Mr. Crawford

asked the Secretary of State for Industry what are at present the responsibilitities of his Department in Scotland.

Mr. Alan Williams

The list of ministerial responsibilities, a copy of which is in the Library, shows the full responsibilities of the Department. All these are exercisable in Scotland except that the Scottish Office is responsible for regional selective financial assistance under Section 7 of the Industry Act 1972 and, through the Scottish Development Agency, for the provision of industrial sites and factories.

Mr. Crawford

Since Ministers in the Department of Industry, in common with their Conservative predecessors, have been guilty of abject failure in regenerating Scottish industry, will the Minister assure the House that he and his colleagues will support SNP amendments to the Scotland and Wales Bill to give real control over industry in Scotland to the Scottish Assembly? Is he aware that the Bill as it stands leaves power over Scottish industries in the hands of Westminster and that this is totally inimical to Scotland?

Mr. Williams

The hon. Gentleman knows full well that in a period of recession no party can create employment. All I can say about the preposterous proposals advanced by the SNP is that they epitomise the politics of greed.

Mr. Buchan

Does not my hon. Friend agree that it is nonsense so to divide the responsibilities in Scottish industry that we cannot then deal with our major customers in England and Wales? Is he aware that the Babcock and Wilcox factory in my constituency faces massive redundancies this year and that 80 per cent. of our customers are to be found south of the border? Will he press his right hon. Friend to bring forward the Drax B proposal, without which I cannot hope to save 1,500 jobs in my area?

Mr. Williams

My hon. Friend is correct in saying that cases such as that which he outlined illustrate the need for a coherent national industrial policy applying to the whole of the United Kingdom. It is folly for SNP Members to pretend that there is any salvation in the political forms of separatism that they constantly preach.

Mr. Dalyell

Will my hon. Friend carefully examine the proposals on the new foundry industry in Scotland put forward by the motor industry trade unions?

Mr. Williams

I give my hon. Friend the assurance that we seriously examine any sensible proposals. The Department initiated the ferrous foundry scheme, which has produced remarkable results and, indeed, is one of the great success stories in industrial policy. I assure my hon. Friend that I shall give detailed consideration to his proposal.

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