§ Q10. Mr. Emrys Hughes
asked the Prime Minister if, following his further consultation with the Scottish Trades Union Congress, he will now publish as 35W a White Paper the proposals for dealing with unemployment in Scotland recently outlined in his letter to the Congress.
§ The Prime Minister
The following is a copy of my letter:
March 15, 1963.
DEAR MR. MIDDLETON,
Thank you for your letter of February 28. I had intended anyway to write to you about now to let you know what progress we have been able to make on the points we discussed when your delegation came to see me on January 22. Like you I felt it was a valuable meeting.
One of the schemes you urged on me, the Tay Bridge, was announced the next day, I won't pretend that this was a direct result of what you urged upon me but at least it was a good start.
I think it would be convenient if I first summarised what has already been done and then gave you an account of the progress we are making on some of the other proposals.
Your delegation argued that more could and should be done to speed up social development by increasing the level of expenditure on houses, roads, schools and hospitals. Since we met the following projects have been announced:—
- Smaller capital projects in selected areas —£2 million.
- Additional road work—£2½million.
- Three vehicle ferries of Macbraynes—£1¼ million.
- Expenditure by the two Electricity Boards on transmission and distribution—£6½ million.
- An expansion of teachers' training colleges—£1 million.
- A reservoir for Glasgow—£1 million.
This, with £4½ million for the Tay Bridge. adds up to some £20 million of new capital expenditure in Scotland.
Then you raised with me the gas turbine generator at Townhill, Dunfermline, for the South of Scotland Electricity Board. This is to go forward at a cost of £1¾ million. I am told that this will provide new peak load capacity quickly for the winter of 1964–65 to fill in a gap before bigger schemes like the pumped storage scheme at Loch Awe come into operation; but the station will be expensive to run and the Board must be careful about overloading the cost of electricity by extending this method of generation.
One of your delegation asked for more to be done on site improvements at industrial estates. The Board of Trade is to spend some £300,000 on this notably at Donibristle, Blantyre and Vale of Level, Fife. More programmes of rehabilitation in our listed industrial areas are being considered.36W
Then the proposed new coal-fired power station. There are many complicated technical problems here which we are pressing forward. I hope that a decision can be reached in May.
The problems of the shipbuilding industry must, as I know your understand, be considered as a whole. The Scottish yards have basically the same problems as those in England. The points you put to me are being considered and of course some orders under Government control have already been brought forward.
These are all in the main projects which will help in the short term. The long term problem is that of reinvigorating the Scottish economy. I said at our meeting that we could not solve this by simple or short-term measures. But we are determined to grasp this problem and carry out those measures within the Government's control which are necessary to solve it.
May I add a personal note. I was very sorry to hear of your impending retirement and I wish you a long leisure in which to enjoy it.
The General Secretary,
Scottish Trades Union Congress.