HC Deb 11 March 1981 vol 1000 cc879-80
15. Mr. Lambie

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will set up an investigation into why Irvine new town is failing to attract new industries in spite of the financial inducements available.

Mr. Alexander Fletcher

No, Sir. The Irvine development corporation is making every effort to attract new industries, and the new town is doing as well as can be expected in the current world-wide recession.

Mr. Lambie

That reply will be a great disappointment to the people of Irvine, where unemployment is now approaching 22 per cent. Is the Under-Secretary aware that many of my constituents are beginning to believe that officials at the Scottish Economic Planning Department and at the Scottish Development Agency are boycotting Irvine? Is he prepared to carry out an investigation to see who is to blame for the Irvine development corporation not attracting industry, if it is not the Scottish Economic Planning Department and the Scottish Development Agency?

Mr. Fletcher

I appreciate the hon. Gentleman's concern, but his criticisms of the SEPD and the SDA are unjustified. About 1,000 new jobs in 20 companies have been created in the new town over the past two years, and every effort is being made to find more. I understand that the number of industrial inquiries received in the period October to December 1980 is almost double—68—the 37 received in the corresponding period last year.