§ Mr. Price-White
asked the Minister of Works what grants or loans have been made through his Department in the past five years to slate quarries in Scotland to enable such quarries to reopen where closed or to increase employment over production when not closed.
§ Mr. Tomlinson
So far as I am aware, no Government grants or loans have been made for these purposes during the past five years. In conjunction with my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Scotland, I have, however, been considering for some time the best means of rehabilitating the slate industry in Scotland and, following a comprehensive report made on the subject to the Scottish Council (Development and Industry), negotiations were entered into with the Scottish Slate Quarries Association for the formation of a new company which would merge the existing Scottish slate quarry owners and set up machinery for developing the industry on the most economic lines. For this purpose and with the con-340W sent of the Treasury, an offer of a substantial loan from the Building Materials Housing Fund was made. The conditions attached to the granting of this loan have been accepted by the association and negotiations for the formation of the merger company are now proceeding.