§ 5. Mr. John Marshall
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy what was the level of direct employment in the offshore oil and gas industry in 1990; and what is his estimate of the number of jobs indirectly supported by the industry.
§ Mr. Moynihan
Direct employment offshore in 1990 was at an all-time record level of 36,500, some 19 per cent. 632 higher than in 1989. The number of those employed indirectly in the oil and gas industry is considerably larger than those working offshore.
§ Mr. Marshall
As a former Aberdeen councillor, I welcome that answer as good news for Aberdeen, for the north-east of Scotland and for the country. Does my hon. Friend agree that it shows the efficiency of private enterprise in creating jobs?
§ Dr. Godman
The expansion is indeed good news for Scotland—if not for my constituency, where unemployment at 13.8 per cent. is no laughing matter. I remind the Minister that Scott Lithgow on the lower Clyde is the finest shipbuilding and oil rig construction yard in the United Kingdom. Has he any hope to offer to my oil rig workers and dockers, or anything to say about Scott Lithgow?
§ Mr. Moynihan
There is no doubt that the position for many offshore fabricators is very strong. Their order books are strong. They have opportunities now because levels of investment and activity in the North sea have never been more buoyant. I hope that they will use those opportunities to the full by producing, on time, good-quality products to meet foreign competition.