HC Deb 25 May 1988 vol 134 cc308-9
2. Mr. Oppenheim

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland when he last met the chairman of the Scottish Development Agency; and what matters were discussed.

The Minister of State, Scottish Office (Mr. Ian Lang)

My right hon. and learned Friend and I met the chairman and board of the agency on 16 May to discuss strategic issues which might be reflected in the agency's planning and budgeting process, and other matters.

Mr. Oppenheim

Did my hon. Friend have a chance to discuss the increasing success of the Scottish electronics industry, which has increased its output threefold since 1979? Does my hon. Friend agree that the Scottish people can now deploy their well-known and traditional qualities of doughtiness, courage and entrepreneurial flair in pursuit of economic growth? Is it not a shame that those qualities are so little apparent: on the Opposition Benches?

Mr. Lang

I absolutely agree with my hon. Friend. The growth of the electronics industry in Scotland has been a major contribution to the development of a broader based and more secure economic environment in which prosperity can spread more widely.

Mr. Michael J. Martin

The Minister will be aware that Teachers whisky announced over 200 redundancies last week, in addition to the many other redundancies that have taken place in Springburn. Will he involve SDA officers in bringing work, rather than closures, to Springburn?

Mr. Lang

The hon. Gentleman will know that the agency is engaged on a large number of initiatives in local areas in Scotland, and I am sure that it will note his remarks.

Mr. Andrew Welsh

Will the Minister consider providing extra funding to Locate in Scotland in order to boost Scottish preparation for the single European market in 1992? What is his Department doing to encourage seminars and projects throughout Scotland to maximise Scottish employment and success in that market?

Mr. Lang

We are already heavily involved in seeking to prepare companies in Scotland, as elsewhere in the United Kingdom, for the single European market. Part of the great success of Locate in Scotland in attracting inward investment to Scotland over the past few years is because it is perceived as being a good base for European manufacturing operations, particularly in electronics, but also in other industries.