HC Deb 25 May 1988 vol 134 cc320-1
13. Mr. Allen

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what categories of assistance or grant his Department has paid to Scottish and Newcastle Breweries in respect of its Scottish operations since 1979.

Mr. Lang

The company received assistance from my Department under the old regional development grant scheme, which ended in 1984. It has received no assistance under regional selective assistance since 1979 or under the revised regional development grant scheme.

Mr. Allen

Was the Scottish Office consulted about the takeover of Charles Mackinlay by Invergordon Distilleries? If the Minister cannot answer now, will he undertake to write to me? Is he aware that hundreds of tenant-publicans in my constituency have been given notice to quit by Scottish and Newcastle Breweries? When Scottish and Newcastle next brings the begging bowl to the Scottish Office, will he tell it that, while the importation of Scottish and Newcastle best bitter is a bad enough imposition on my constituency, the imposition of Scottish and Newcastle's industrial relations practices is not acceptable?

Mr. Lang

I would not expect my Department to have been consulted on the takeover, but if I find that we were consulted I shall certainly write to the hon. Gentleman. The details of the relationship between Scottish and Newcastle Breweries and the company that it has taken over are a matter for the company and not for the Scottish Office.

Mr. Steel

Does the Minister accept that the consumption of the products of Scottish and Newcastle Breweries appears to have played some part in the ugly scenes at Wembley last weekend? Will he take this opportunity to repudiate the offensive suggestion by the hon. Member for Hayes and Harlington (Mr. Dicks) that the effects were visible on one side only, or the idea that they have anything to do with the Government's support of the company?

Mr. Speaker

That is very wide of the question.

Mr. Lang

I think it unwise for anybody to comment on such incidents without having access to all the facts.

Mr. Andy Stewart

Does my hon. Friend agree that the hon. Member for Nottingham, North (Mr. Allen) is spreading despondency among the Home brewery tenants and the company although he knows full well that the National Licensed Victuallers Association has accepted the proposals put forward by the company and is putting the proposals to its tenants tomorrow?

Mr. Lang

Yes, indeed. I understand that 90 per cent. of the tenants have accepted the new rent levels from Scottish and Newcastle Breweries and that production and employment at the Home brewery has increased.

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