HC Deb 08 November 1976 vol 919 cc23-4
14. Mr. Jessel

asked the Secretary of State for Industry when he next intends to meet the Director-General of the CBI.

Mr. Varley

We met at the National Economic Development Council meeting last week, and I expect we shall do so again shortly.

Mr. Jessel

Has the Secretary of State read the latest CBI publication "The Road to Recovery" which says that to get industrial recovery it is essential to cut Government spending by £3,000 million? Does the right hon. Gentleman agree with this?

Mr. Varley

No, I do not agree. I have read the document, and there are certain sections in it with which I do agree. I agree with it on the question of improving industrial performance, productivity and profitability. I think that those sections would find support throughout the whole House. However, there are other sections which are pretty disastrous.

Mr. Crawford

Will the Secretary of State tell the Scottish CBI that one sure way to increase investment in Scotland would be to have a sovereign Scotland with a strong Scots pound? Scotland, unlike England, basically can balance its economy.

Mr. Varley

I do not know on what basis the hon. Gentleman comes to conclusions like that. I know that British industry is linked throughout the whole of the United Kingdom, and that the Scottish coal industry could not exist on a competitive basis alongside the English coal industry. I am not at all sure that in some parts of Scotland there are those who agree that it is Scottish oil. There are some suggestions that it is Shetland oil. Then there is the nuclear power programme, which in Scotland is linked with the British programme.

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