HC Deb 31 January 1996 vol 270 cc990-1
8. Mr. Campbell-Savours

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what representations he has received about the boycott of Campbell's tinned soups in Scotland. [10794]

Mr. Kynoch


Mr. Campbell-Savours

The Minister will know that the campaign to boycott Campbell's soups and Fray Bentos products in Scotland has been extremely successful. He will also know of the appalling action taken by Campbell Soups to close down the extremely profitable Homepride factory in my constituency. Will he join me in asking those who are boycotting Campbell's soups in Scotland to buy Baxter's soups instead, which are made in the constituency of the hon. Member for Moray (Mrs. Ewing)? Should not the slogan in Scotland be, "Boycott Campbell's and buy Baxter's"?

Mr. Kynoch

I know that the hon. Gentleman is waging a significant campaign on this issue and I read with great interest the remarks he made in the Adjournment debate on 6 November. I have a great deal of sympathy with much of what he said, but there is little that I can add to what my hon. Friend the then Minister for Competition and Consumer Affairs, the hon. Member for Brecon and Radnor (Mr. Evans), said at that time.

Mrs. Ewing

Madam Speaker, you will recognise the importance attached to all our fish and food processing organisations in the north-east of Scotland and their significance to the local economy. Given that, and the remarks made by the hon. Member for Workington (Mr. Campbell-Savours), will the Minister explain what aspect of the Scottish Office budget will be allocated to promoting those high-quality goods, especially as they employ many people who give of their best to ensure high standards so that Scotland's name is recognised in the international community?

Mr. Kynoch

The hon. Lady is right about the importance of the food industry to Scotland. If she looks at what we are doing with Scottish Enterprise and Scottish Trade International, she will realise that significant efforts are put in to export assistance for the food industry. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State launched a cookery promotion at the boat show in London recently—I was not aware that he was an expert.

We take every opportunity to promote Scottish products. We also have Scotland The Brand and I know that companies in the. hon. Lady's constituency—they have already been mentioned—have been involved. I believe that the local enterprise company in her constituency, Moray Badenoch and Strathspey Enterprise, is also involved. I participated in a promotion in Regent street just before Christmas. I believe that the Scottish Office is making every effort to ensure that the best of Scotland is promoted and exported in the interests of everyone.