HC Deb 28 July 1982 vol 28 cc1047-8
8. Mr. Tom Clarke

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what information is available to him as to the number of people who have left Scotland for other parts of the United Kingdom in each of the last three years.

Mr. Alexander Fletcher

The estimated net migration from Scotland to the rest of the United Kingdom in the year to 31 December 1981 was 1,500. This corresponds with 5,000 for the year to 30 June 1981, 9,900 for the year to 30 June 1980 and 7,100 for the year to 30 June 1979.

Mr. Clarke

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that this represents an appalling picture? Is he further aware that Governments have a responsibility for the movement of jobs as well as people? Is his right hon. Friend using the influence available to him as a member of the Cabinet to speed the process of Civil Service dispersal so that we may have jobs in Glasgow serving the rest of Scotland?

Mr. Fletcher

I appreciate that it is difficult to pick up figures in an oral answer of this kind. I am sure that when the hon. Gentleman has time to see the written answer he will realise that, far from what he has said, the figures show an improving picture. With regard to the transfer of Civil Service jobs to Glasgow, he will have seen the announcement by my right hon. Friend the other week that the plans are going ahead, and some are even being brought forward.

Mr. Gordon Wilson

Surely the Minister is aware that the real trend in emigration is to outside the United Kingdom. Internal migration has stopped only because he has ruined the English economy as well. As emigration has been the bane of Scotland for the past 25 years, what is the Minister doing to stimulate the Scottish economy so that there are opportunities of jobs for Scots people at home so that they will stay in Scotland?

Mr. Fletcher

We are already taking action to stimulate the Scottish economy, and my right hon. and learned Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer announced additional moves for jobs yesterday, including two enterprise zones in Scotland. I should make it clear to the hon. Gentleman, if only for the sake of my colleagues, that I have no responsibility for the English economy.

Mr. Corrie

Will my hon. Friend accept that, thanks to higher education standards in Scotland, one of our best exports is qualified people, and that England has benefited from people going south and taking over banking, industrial and factory jobs and trade unions?

Mr. Fletcher

I do not know whether my hon. Friend intended to, but, while I agree with his remarks, he is perhaps suggesting that the rest of Scotland is responsible for the English economy.