HC Deb 28 July 1982 vol 28 cc1045-6
6. Sir Russell Fairgrieve

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he is able to estimate the quantity of Scottish produced goods and services that are exported to the European Community; and how many jobs are dependent on these industries.

Mr. Younger

Exports of Scottish produced goods are not recorded separately, and it is therefore not possible to give an estimate of the number of jobs connected with exports to the Community. We know, however, that United Kingdom trade with the Community is now 43 per cent. of our exports, and it can be assumed from that that a large number of jobs are involved in such activities.

Sir Russell Fairgrieve

Of all its stupidities, is not the Labour Party's most asinine policy to withdraw from the Common Market, which could put at risk 200,000 jobs in Scotland and which, added to our present problems of high unemployment, could make the Labour Party responsible for 500,000 unemployed?

Mr. Younger

I, too, find it almost impossible to believe that the Labour Party really intends to take us out of the Common Market, with the catastrophic effect on jobs that that would have.

Mr. Douglas

Is not one factor affecting jobs anti job creation additional transport charges? Will the right hon. Gentleman take urgent steps to abolish tolls on the Forth road bridge, even though he has just increased them?

Mr. Younger

We should see the issue in proportion. The Forth bridge was built on the understanding that tolls would be paid. It is an extremely good bargain, since it is much more expensive to drive the long way round. The tolls have not been increased since 1969 and the present levels are moderate.

Mr. Myles

Does my right hon. Friend agree that many jobs in Scotland depend on other aspects of the EEC, such as the less favoured areas directive and the integrated development programme for the Western Isles? Will he take note of the report on the subject of the Select Committee on Agriculture, published yesterday?

Mr. Younger

I am grateful to my hon. Friend for reminding me of that report, which I shall study with great care. He is right in saying that a good example of the benefits that we receive from membership of the Community is the IDP for the Western Isles, which is warmly welcomed by everybody there.

Mr. McKelvey

Has the Secretary of State kept a record of the jobs that we have exported to the EEC, among which would be the 1,800 jobs that have disappeared from the Massey-Ferguson plant in Kilmarnock to be: exported to Marquette, in France? How many jobs have we exported in this fashion?

Mr. Younger

I do not have that figure, but many more jobs than that have been created by firms coming to Scotland to serve the European market. Virtually all of those firms make it crystal clear that if Scotland were not in the Common Market they would have had no intention of setting up in business in Scotland.