HC Deb 15 December 1976 vol 922 cc1511-2
14. Mr. Gourlay

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what measures he intends to take to offset the economic consequences for the Buckhaven and Methil community of the 1,000 impending redundancies at RDL (North Sea) Methil, and the closure of No. 3 Dock in Methil.

Mr. Gregor MacKenzie

Buckhaven and Methil already have special development area status, and my officials will continue to encourage developers and industrialists who show interest in the area.

The Scottish Development Agency has commissioned a study of possible future uses for Methil No. 3 Dock and, in addition, my officials are assisting in a study being undertaken by the local authorities of industrial potential in the area of the Forth Estuary.

Mr. Gourlay

Is my hon. Friend aware that more than £20 million of capital has been invested in this site and that it would he a travesty of justice to see the platform site turned into a derelict area? Will he press the British Steel Corporation to do everything possible to retain the skilled labour force in employment in Buckhaven and Methil? We appreciate what the SDA is trying to do here, but will the Minister take steps to press it further with the British Steel Corporation?

Mr. MacKenzie

We have made it very clear to hon. Members who have raised questions about platform orders that hardly any such orders have been placed in Europe in recent times. I hope that my hon. Friend will accept from me that the Minister of State, Department of Energy and I have been pursuing this as vigorously as possible. We have hopes for 1977 and 1978 in terms of future orders. I know that my hon. Friend will appreciate the statement that was made yesterday by the SDA in relation to advance factories and the purchase of land in the area. This should prove very helpful to employment prospects.

Sir John Gilmour

Could the Methil docks be used in connection with the proposed development at Moss Morran?

Mr. MacKenzie

I shall consider that point.

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