HC Deb 17 May 1976 vol 911 cc945-6
12. Mr. Crawford

asked the Secretary of State for Industry when he next intends to meet the Scottish Council (Development and Industry).

Mr. Williams

I am always prepared to meet the council when there is a need to do so.

Mr. Crawford

Is the Minister aware of the excellent work carried out by the Scottish Council in highlighting the inherent dangers in the increasing centralisation in London of decision-making affecting Scottish industry? Does he not agree that the implacable hostility expressed by many Labour Members, and even more by members of the Conservative Party, towards the establishment of a Scottish Assembly will make the Scottish Council's task in this context more difficult, if not impossible, to sustain?

Mr. Williams

I know that the hon. Gentleman has a vested interest in trying to create a national persecution complex. I must remind him in regard to regional assistance that Scotland receives twice as much help per head of population as does England.

Mr. Grimond

When the Secretary of State meets the Scottish Council will he discuss means by which production and productivity can be increased? In that connection will he discuss how those who actually produce can be assisted against those who expand by reason of their being on annual increments, with index-linked pensions, and who appear to be at a great advantage under the prices and incomes policy?

Mr. Williams

I would remind the right hon. Gentleman that there is a development agency which will undertake work in regard to Scottish industry. As for improving the efficiency of the industry generally, we are carrying out normal studies in the NEDC in 39 sectors.

Mr. Buchan

Will the Minister bear in mind that the Scottish Council has rejected the SNP's policy of separation, especially, I suspect, since the hon. Member for Perth and East Perthshire (Mr. Crawford) used to work for the council? Would he ask the council whether it approves of the slogan "Put Scotland First" when spoken by SNP Members from the driving seat of a Japanese Datsun or a Swedish Volvo?

Mr. Williams

We know that the objective of both nationalist parties is separation. It is an objective that we reject.