HC Deb 30 April 1986 vol 96 c917
1. Mr. Dalyell

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what financial assistance he is making available to the area of employment covered by British Leyland, Bathgate.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Scotland (Mr. Alan Stewart)

The Bathgate travel-to-work area is a development area, and assistance to industry there is at the highest available levels. Good progress is being made in giving effect to the special programme of measures recommended in 1984 by the Bathgate working party.

Mr. Dalyell

How is good progress defined? What new money and new initiatives are available?

Mr. Stewart

The Scottish Development Agency has recently committed £7 million to the Bathgate area. That involves environmental improvements, business development and better communications through the new passenger rail link between Bathgate and Edinburgh, which was opened by my right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State on 24 March. That is a sign of our commitment to the area.

Mr. Ewing

We saw the Secretary of State with his green flag waving the train away from Bathgate, just as during the past six years we have seen the Conservative Government wave away industry and employment from the Bathgate area. Does the Under-Secretary understand that the best thing that could happen to Bathgate, the entire Lothian region, Central region, Fife, Strathclyde and all the regions would be for the people of Scotland to vote in large numbers for Labour candidates next Thursday and get rid of every last vestige of Conservative administration, which has done so much damage to Bathgate and the Scottish economy?

Mr. Stewart

My hon. Friends and I were wearily aware that we would hear that speech at some time during this week. A feature of the past six years is that the Labour party has waved away reality, the ability to face the facts and the ability to recognise the industrial successes that are increasingly obvious throughout Scotland.

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