HL Deb 25 October 1948 vol 158 cc329-31WA

asked His Majesty's Government whether the sweeping promises of Scottish reforms recently made by the Secretary of State for Scotland do in fact represent the intentions of the Government, and, if so, when the first step will be taken to implement these promises, in view of the well-nigh complete neglect of her interests which Scotland has had to endure during the last three years.


I presume that the noble Earl has in mind the statement by my right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Scotland, as reported in the Press on September 16, about the plans being prepared by his Departments for the Highlands. It is certainly the intention of the Government to press on with schemes of Highland development, and Chapter 6 of the White Paper onIndustry and Employment in Scotland shows the results already achieved. Moreover, as my right honourable friend the President of the Board of Trade announced on September 17, it is proposed to extend Development Area powers to an area bordering on the Cromarty and Beauty Firths with a view to the stimulation of industrial development. The Scottish Economic Conference, at their meeting on November 19, will be reviewing the progress made with the preparation of a comprehensive programme for the Highlands.

The Government strongly repudiate the noble Earl's suggestion that the interests of Scotland have been neglected during the last three years. In the economic sphere, unemployment is lower than in any pre-war year, and the Government have indicated their intention to encourage firms which intend to set up new industries in Scotland. A considerable number of such industries have been attracted to Scotland, as well as important developments carried out in her traditional basic industries. Full details of these developments are given in the two White Papers on Industry and Employment in Scotland presented to Parliament by my right honourable friend last year and this (Cmd. 7125 and 7459). In addition, special arrangements, which are outlined in Command Paper 7308, have been made for giving more time to the consideration of Scottish Parliamentary business.

House resumed.