HC Deb 31 January 1996 vol 270 cc998-9
13. Mr. Stewart

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what analysis he has made of the impact on the economy of the west of Scotland of the development of Glasgow international airport. [10799]

Mr. Kynoch

I believe that the airport makes an important contribution to the west of Scotland economy, and that is why, as my hon. Friend knows, we support the Glasgow airport initiative, which seeks to maximise the economic benefits of the airport's expansion.

Mr. Stewart

I am grateful to my hon. Friend for that positive and helpful reply. Does he agree that two key infrastructure developments are crucial to the airport's future—first, the M74 northern extension and, secondly, an eastbound on-ramp for the M8? Can he give an unequivocal commitment to the House today that both those developments will go ahead as soon as possible?

Mr. Kynoch

I compliment my hon. Friend on his involvement in the setting up of the Glasgow airport initiative in 1992. In answer to his two questions about the roads, I assure him that we shall consider those matters positively and will try to take them forward at the earliest possible time.

Mrs. Adams

Will the Minister join me in congratulating Glasgow airport on bringing 5,000 jobs to my constituency, but will he also recognise that that is no substitute for the loss of 85 per cent. of the manufacturing jobs in my constituency—about 20,000 jobs—over the same period? Will he now consider investing in manufacturing industry, with the aim of helping the airport to further its business?

Mr. Kynoch

I am glad that the hon. Lady recognises the contribution that the airport initiative has made. I have seen a similar initiative in the United States—the Washington airport task force, which has contributed towards a good joint venture arrangement between software houses in the United Kingdom, including Scotland, and in Virginia. I believe that the Glasgow airport initiative has been ably set up to develop similar arrangements.

As for manufacturing, the hon. Lady may be aware of the jobs that have been created by Locate in Scotland in the past year. About 12,300 jobs have been created, involving 97 projects and £1.1 billion in capital investment. The transformation of the Scottish economy from some of the traditional industries of the past towards the industries of the future—we now produce about 11 per cent. of Europe's semiconductors, 35 per cent. of its personal computers, 50 per cent. of its automated banking machines and 60 per cent. of its workstations—is all positive information about successes for the Government and for our policies.