HC Deb 15 December 1976 vol 922 cc1500-1
4. Mr. Crawford

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland when he next intends to meet the Association of Scottish Chambers of Commerce.

The Minister of State, Scottish Office (Mr. Gregor MacKenzie)

My right hon. Friend has at present no plans to do so. From time to time, Scottish Office Ministers meet individual chambers and will continue to do so where appropriate.

Mr. Crawford

Will the hon. Gentleman tell the Association of Scottish Chambers of Commerce that the decision of some of its directors to support the "Scotland is British" campaign is totally unrepresentative of many of its members, of which I am one? Will he tell those directors either to withdraw their support from the campaign or to drop the name "Scottish" from the association's title?

Mr. MacKenzie

I have no intention of indicating in the way the hon. Gentleman suggests. I am prepared to listen to any representations made, but I cannot adopt the tactics suggested by the hon. Gentleman.

Mr. Sproat

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that, in spite of what the hon. Member for Perth and East Perthshire (Mr. Crawford) said, the Association of Scottish Chambers of Commerce voted unanimously against the Government's plans for a Scottish Assembly? Is he further aware that it has been joined in its attitude by individual chambers of commerce, bankers, accountants, farmers, doctors, nurses and secondary school teachers, as well as the CBI and a growing number of trade unions and trade unionists in Scotland?

Mr. MacKenzie

I have listened to many representations from industrialists and trade unions about the whole question of devolution. I am certain that whether they be industrialists or trade unionists they will totally reject the idea of separatism, because they believe that it would be nonsense for Scotland.

Mr. Craigen

Has my hon. Friend received representation from the chambers of commerce about the impact on employment opportunities arising from the stupendous increase in rates in the near future and the effect that this could have on retaining existing enterprises, let alone attracting new ones to Scotland?

Mr. MacKenzie

I have had no such representation from chambers of commerce, but I suggest to my hon. Friend that in view of his concern he should table a Question on the matter.