HC Deb 16 July 1973 vol 860 cc29-170
Mr. Speaker

Before I call on the right hon. Member for Kilmarnock (Mr. Ross) to move the motion, may I inform the House that I have selected the amendment in the name of the Prime Minister and his right hon. Friends—to leave out from "House" to the end of the Question and to add instead thereof: supports Her Majesty's Government in achieving and sustaining the present high rate of growth in the economy, notes the beneficial effects this is having in realising Scotland's potential, and welcomes the fall in Scottish unemployment of 56,000 over the past 15 months".

3.31 p.m.

Mr. William Ross (Kilmarnock)

I beg to move, That this House strongly condemns Her Majesty's Government for their neglect of the economy of Scotland resulting in the highest post-war level of unemployment and regrets their continuing failure to take positive steps to realise Scotland's potential. There are signs which we on this side of the House welcome of an improvement in the Scottish economy. It is not just the effects of oil development, because sections of Scottish industry are benefiting from the consumer-led boom and general expansion in the United Kingdom. However, we should be very foolish to lean back and consider that all was well. Inflation, far from being under control, looks like galloping ahead, and if effective action is not taken we in Scotland will be faced with considerable economic difficulty, if not disaster.

There may be momentary cause for relief on the Government side, but we on this side recognise only too clearly that, despite the improvement of the last few months, the unemployment figures, even for this period and for June, are intolerably high. The figure for June is the second highest figure for 30 years, and the last time that it reached this scale was in 1963 when we had the help of the present Prime Minister, trying to ensure Scotland's prosperity through trade and industry, and some help from the pre- sent Secretary of State for Scotland. If this is improvement, the Government's three-year record is bleak and black and they cannot be proud of it. It is that record with which we are concerned today, and nothing which has happened in the last three years gives cause for confidence that it will improve.

For 29 consecutive months after November 1970 unemployment soared above the 100,000 mark—

Mr. Ian MacArthur (Perth and East Perthshire)

It is coming down.

Mr. Ross

The Government said in March 1970 that it was coming down. I remember asking the Secretary of State when there would be an improvement and he said, "By the end of the year". I propose to give the figures, and hon. Members opposite must live with the record.

The monthly average unemployment for the first six months of 1970 was 87,000, and it was falling. It fell every month from January to June. In the second half of 1970, when right hon. and hon. Members opposite took office, knowing all the answers and having said that they would reduce unemployment at a stroke, the monthly average was 97,000. In the first half of 1971 it was 120,000 and in the second half 137,000. In the first six months of 1972 the monthly average was 156,000. Admittedly at that time we had the miners' strike and there was consequential unemployment through people being laid off. But even taking that into account the figure was staggeringly high. In the second half of 1972 the average monthly unemployment figure was 134,000. In the first six months of this year it was 112,000.

It was not until March that the figure dipped below the 100,000 mark. But we must bear in mind that there have been one or two changes. The figures are not comparable. We would require to add to the 1973 figure between 1,000 and 2,000 people who are temporarily stopped because they do not now appear in the figures. They are given separately.

One other thing happened. The school leaving age was raised as from September 1972 and over 40,000 Scottish children who would have been liable for employment, or, as in the case of many of them, unemployment, were held back at school. Therefore, there is no room for complacency.

Mr. MacArthur rose—

Mr. Ross

I am sorry. I wish to get through my speech fairly quickly.

Mr. MacArthur

I wish to intervene only briefly.

Mr. Ross

I do not wish to give way even briefly because I want to make a coherent speech following the pattern which I have laid down, not one which the hon. Gentleman lays down.

One of the dangers is that we have almost become accustomed to a high rate of unemployment month by month, and we hear shouts of triumph from hon. Members opposite, expecting us to give them a vote of thanks, when the unemployment figure reaches 97,000–10,000 more than it was three years ago. They have had time to deal with the situation.

Between September 1970 and September 1972 78,000 jobs disappeared. Last week we were given, in answer to a Question asked by my hon. Friend the Member for Lanarkshire, North (Mr. John Smith), the number of redundancies in Scotland since June 1970. They reached the staggering figure of about 100,000, and they have not yet finished. The actual figure is 98,400. My hon. Friend the Member for South Ayrshire (Mr. Sillars) referred on the Adjournment the other night to the loss of jobs in South Ayrshire. About 400 jobs are to be lost in two factories in his constituency. There is another closure in Glasgow resulting in the loss of hundreds of jobs. The decline is continuing. Youngsters in Scotland will start leaving school and will appear on the register in January next year. Can the Secretary of State say that in January next year the figure will be under 100,000? I very much doubt it.

We have the feeling that we have been here before. It was in 1963—when Mr. Macmillan was saying, "We never had it so good"—that Scotland had that high rate of 94,000 unemployed. The Government were saying then that the figure was coming down, as they are saying now. We all know exactly what happened to that boom, we know what happened to the balance of payments and we know what is happening today.

Before we reach the end of the year inflation will have ravaged the economy to such an extent that the Government will have to more than tug the reins. They have already done so once. A year ago they told local authorities to spend. Now they are telling local authorities to go canny. This year there is to be a saving of £100 million and next year a saving of £500 million. What is the outlook? Scotland has been all through this before. The Scottish economy cannot stand another stop-go policy.

Regional policy should not concern only the Department of Trade and Industry. If the Government accept the purpose of achieving that balance we all want, it should pervade and colour the decisions of every Ministry, including the Treasury. I do not know who is holding up the decision on the regional employment premium, but it may be the Treasury.

In evidence given before a Select Committee of the House a few weeks ago the civil servant in charge of regional development in the Department of Trade and Industry admitted that the withdrawal of REP would cost between 20,000 and 50,000 jobs—he said that the number might he nearer 20,000. Suppose it is about 30,000? It is well known that Scotland is one of the regions most heavily affected by REP. Of the £100 million that REP costs the Treasury in helping labour-intensive industry, Scotland gets £40 million. If that is withdrawn, Scotland will lose between 10,000 and 12,000 jobs. That is more than we shall gain, even on the most optimistic Government estimate, from the development of oil. That is the importance of the decision. It is no good the Government saying that when REP was introduced it was said that it would be phased out. I remember in October 1970 the present Chancellor of the Exchequer saying that it would be ended in the following year.

If REP is to be phased out, the Government should make a statement to the effect that it will be replaced by something equally suitable for aiding and attracting labour-intensive industry. Without that it will be very difficult, as Sir Eric Yarrow said in relation to shipbuilding. The jobs that would be lost would be in the central belt of Scotland.

The present package has been in operation for under a year. We are told that this is the finest package we have ever had. That is what the Government said when they abolished the regional investment grants, the IRC and the rest. When the Government were running into difficulties with Rolls-Royce and Uppet Clyde Shipbuilders they introduced the special development area. Let us remember the mess they made of that. What should have cost £12 million cost more than £50 million. That is the extent of the Government's mismanagement. They grudged £6 million, they would not give £12 million, but in the end they were glad to get away with £50 million—and probably they are thinking again in terms of their shipbuilding policy.

Everyone complained about what was happening and it was not until August of last year that the new package came fully into force. The Minister for Industrial Development had a Press conference to celebrate the occasion, when he said: Offers have already been made to over 200 firms —Those are offers of selective assistance—the great new way through— in the form of loans, removal grants and increasingly—interest relief grants. It is claimed that additional employment of 22,000 has already been assured. Have the offers been accepted? Are these what used to be called the 22,000 jobs in the pipeline? Those figures refer to the whole of the United Kingdom. What is Scotland's share?

On 29th June Mr. Victor Keegan, the Industrial Editor of The Guardian said: The amount of selective assistance so far doled out … is still comparatively modest at nearly £23 million. He claimed that under the system there was considerable delay. May we be told what is Scotland's share of this?

We are glad to say that things are going on very well with the oil developments and the new ventures in Aberdeen and the North, but there is a considerable dearth of new jobs and new industry coming into the central belt. Unless we solve that problem we shall always have this imbalance. May we be given figures by the Secretary of State to disprove this?

In Ayr, for three years a new Government factory stood empty. A few weeks ago we were told that it was being taken up. By new industry? No—by an industry that is already in Ayr, in Prestwick, which is moving into the new building with the 36 people it employs there. That is not exactly a new industry coming into Scotland. South Ayr's gain is North Ayr's loss and I do not doubt that something will have to be found to replace that loss. I am not satisfied that the present package is the last word, and I hope that the Government do not think it is.

The Booz-Allen Report on Shipbuilding is of considerable importance to my hon. Friends who represent Glasgow and Greenock and the whole of the Clyde area. Many people think that they are being shut out from what is to be done. The Secretary of State for Trade and Industry has said that he is following up the Booz-Allen Report. We should like to know how, since few statements have been made about the future. Railways are vitally important to Scotland and its communications and I trust that we shall be told the Government's future policy there.

Then there is energy. Apart from oil, coal is still a vital factor in Scotland's development. Regional considerations must not only enter into the picture: but if we are to believe what the Govern-say about the reality of energy policy, they must tip the balance in many major decisions.

The Labour Party has declared that, while these are important incentives, they have not gone far enough—this applies to both Governments—to indicate that we are seeing an end of the regional problem in Scotland. There must be much more direct State intervention. We are handing out considerable sums to large and smaller companies. It is only right and fair that we should be buying our way into decisions that can vitally affect these companies in the regions.

There was a time when hon. Members opposite held up their hands in horror at the thought of State intervention, but they are coming around more and more to this line. When we consider what is being done in Ulster in the Industrial Unit there, we see that there is more than considerable scope for an extension of State intervention and ownership in Scotland.

We are concerned not only about industrial and commercial jobs but about office jobs. The most disappointing report that we have had in the past year is the Hardman Report. I do not know that the Secretary of State can be very pleased with it and I should like to know what part he played in it. The distinguished civil servant who chaired the Committee—it is important to note that a considerable part of his career was spent in the Ministry of Defence—said that, having considered the 143,000 civil servants in London and narrowed the figure down to the possibility of reviewing 78,000 of them, he had decided that 31,000 could be moved and that with considerable reluctance he could advise the move to Scotland of only 1,100 jobs from the Overseas Development Administration. I am concerned that the Secretary of State in any way agreed that the Committee should have considered the possibilities only of Glasgow. Other places in Scotland could have office accommodation, even if we construe as Glasgow the Greater Glasgow area, as we have to do, under the local government dictates of the Secretary of State.

The Committee also suggested that 16 miles from Charing Cross was outside London. This might apply to the Ministry of Defence. I do not know what the Secretary of State's experience has been but my experience, in this and other matters, is that the Ministry of Defence thinks that it is out into the jungles and deserts if it gets more than 16 miles from Charing Cross. It has never considered any place north of Bath for anything.

Therefore, we must appreciate that a man whose departmental experience was in the Ministry of Defence was the man chosen to give an objective assessment of this problem. His Civil Service experience may well have coloured his judgments. I hope that the Government are in no doubt about how we in Scotland feel about it. I believe that I speak for both sides of the House.

I was interested in the reaction of the President of the Glasgow Chamber of Commerce, who, at a business affairs conference on Monday, 25th June, used these pointed words. Having said that a much more radical approach was required than the report evidenced, he said: But there is still no sign of a willingness to adopt a radical approach. We still have enormous projects like Concorde, Maplin, the Channel Tunnel, all of which have been and are pulling and will pull more people into the South and South-east. He drew attention to a Stock Exchange article in relation not just to the third London Airport, but to the tendency … to overlook the project for the nearby seaport … which could form the nucleus of a brand new maritime Industrial Development Area and become 'the biggest transport and trade development ever undertaken in Britain'. If that goes ahead, what hope for the Hunterston Development? If we preempt expenditure for, and give priority to, these projects, the regions, including Scotland, will certainly suffer.

I hope that the right hon. Gentleman will not take the path of the Prime Minister, who gave a tortuous explanation of one of the most insulting parts of this report. He would have been far better not to seek to defend it. He said that it was all very well for Scotland and Wales to enter into regional policy, but that, in the efficient working of the national government, Scotland and Wales did not count.

The Government should have spoken about this report a long time ago. When we met the Minister very early and put forward Scotland's point of view, including that of Glasgow and other areas, we were told that the Government would make up their minds when the report was published. Now we are told that they will say nothing until the autumn. When will that be done? I hope that it is not done when the House is in recess, because we are entitled to have a full and proper debate. I hope that my hon. Friends will ensure today that the point of view of Scotland is made well known to the Government.

The brightest—I use the word deliberately—cloud in Scotland's economic sky at the moment is oil, its discovery, exploitation and industrial-commercial development. It would have been an achievement of monumental mismanagement and maladministration, of which this Government are capable, I must say, to have stopped that development. We all know that the Secretary of State discovered it.

However, new jobs are flowing into new areas, for which we are grateful. Construction work essential to exploration and exploitation is going on and new finds are announced in areas already licensed. But underlying all this development there is in Scotland a malaise, both locally and nationally, and a lack of confidence in the Government's handling of this unexpected gift of providence. Like all other benefits, it brings more problems than it solves—the problems of maximising the financial, commercial, technological and industrial benefits to the Scottish people while minimising the loss of a way of life which we value and the destruction of land and coastline which can never be replaced. Stress is caused to local populations who make no profit and do not even participate. They have a feeling that they are being pushed around. On top of this we have the embarrassment of all the price increases which have occurred. And if hon. Members think that land prices in London have been rising rapidly, they should go to certain parts of north-east Scotland to see how fantastic it has been there.

Mr. MacArthur

Including Dundee.

Mr. Ross

Including many places, such as Edinburgh where we have had distinguished lords provost in the past. If the hon. Member for Perth and East Perthshire wishes to swap reminiscences about local government, I shall be delighted to do so, but perhaps we should keep that kind of thing out of this debate.

I was referring to the stress on the local population because of various changes and inflation, and not least to be considered is the effect on traditional industries on which these areas, and indeed the nation, have depended—and on which after the oil has gone we shall still depend. These are not easy problems and there has probably been far too much sloganising, but in handling the situation the Government have not been inspired, and they have certainly not inspired public confidence.

I wish to draw attention to the report of the Public Accounts Committee on North Sea oil. I refer particularly to paragraphs 97 and 98 on pages xxii and xxiii, "Summary of Main Conclusions". Every single one of those conclusions is a criticism of the Government's handling of the matter. And it is no good saying that the terms on which they worked were those laid down when Labour was in office. Let us remember that in the early stages what we thought we would find was gas, but the situation changed that the terms on which they worked were those laid down when Labour was in office. Let us remember that in the early stages what we thought we would find was gas, but the situation changed between the second and third rounds of licensing. The position altered radically because of the discovery of oil and the fact that it was handled and distributed by private companies and not by the nationalised industries.

Paragraph 97(7) of the PAC Report said: In our view, before matters of such importance as the timing, size and terms of the fourth round were decided there should have been full interdepartmental consideration. Well, there was no such consideration. Sub-paragraph (13) said: We are concerned that so many production licences have now been granted with the result that the most promising areas of the North Sea have already been allocated on the original terms"— and, in the view of the Committee, unsatisfactory terms. Then paragraph (15) said: We are concerned that the licences granted remain valid, without a break clause exercisable by the Department, for 46 years; and that there is no provision for variation or renegotiation of the financial terms, however large the finds, or for obtaining a degree of Government participation. Paragraph (16) said: We were surprised that a thorough examination of the opportunities for British industry and employment had not taken place much earlier than 1972 …". Parliamentary Answer after parliamentary Answer was given to the House by the hon. Gentleman the Under-Secretary of State for Development on the lines that British industry would be kept informed about opportunities, but that has not happened. I hope the Government will explain to the House their policy on future licensing. I shall not ask the Secretary of State about tax policy, which is dealt with in devastating fashion in paragraph 97(1), but all this is criticism of the Government and their administration. It is no good saying that a great deal is going on and that there is much to cope with, because there is far more at stake for the Scottish people than this. I had hoped that by this time the Government would have appreciated this fact.

Let us take the IMEG Report. That report looked into suggestions about how Scottish industry could benefit from the consequential work as a result of the discovery of North Sea oil. But the Government have done very little indeed about this topic. We have had the advantage of a report on North Sea oil in the Scottish Economic Bulletin. It seems to me that every time we raise a subject for decision the Government get hot under the collar and appoint another committee First we had the Scottish Economic Planning Board, which spawned the North Sea oil development committee, which was to ensure that everything would be all right—and then, when there were difficulties in relation to the areas the hon. Member for Ayr (Mr. Younger) was appointed the Minister responsible for industry and oil, but he has now been demoted. We then had a standing conference on North Sea oil which was to solve all the embarrassing problems in the areas.

Following the IMEG Report we saw how the Department of Trade and Industry responded to a demand for an independent agency. What did it do? It created an Offshore Supplies Office in London as part of the DTI—hut, wait for it, it put an office in Glasgow. How many people are there? I do not think it reaches double figures. This is the dynamic approach we must expect from the Conservative Government to the most momentous happening in Scotland for 200 years. The situation surely demands far more effective action. It demands a special department and a special Minister—and that department should be in Scotland.

Then, worst of all, after these plans were put forward the right hon. Gentleman the Prime Minister decided to enter the field. He appointed a Minister for oil—and it was not the hon. Member for Ayr, but the noble Lord, Lord Polwarth. The noble Lord was to be Scotland's Minister for oil and was also to have free access to No. 10 Downing Street at any time he liked, assuming the Prime Minister was not away yachting.

Where was the Secretary of State for Scotland when all this was happening? I thought that we had a Secretary of State who was supposed to speak for us in the Cabinet, with access to the Prime Minister. But all we have been given is a junior Minister—and an inexperienced one at that—with direct access to the Prime Minister, bypassing the Secretary of State. This was an insult to Scotland and to its Secretary of State. I hope that the right hon. Gentleman will have something to say on this matter.

The present Government have given in all along the line to the oil companies and obviously they are reluctant to do battle with them. Yet because of the extreme importance of oil to Scotland's economy, the Government's hands should be strengthened. One wonders whether the heritage of Scotland is being sacrificed to considerations affecting the balance of payments. We have read about a planning unit from the Scottish Office which has been going from Edinburgh round the coast to Oban and has appointed 28 places where facilities for oil rigs can be created. Anybody who wants to know what happens should go to Nigg Bay to see what it all means. And the unit is not finished yet. It is going from Oban down to the West Coast and from Edinburgh down to the borders.

Do the Government have any policy on this highly important subject? I sincerely hope that the Secretary of State appreciates that time may be of the essence for the future of Scotland. Many of these jobs in industry can go almost as quickly as they arrive. Many jobs are connected with the construction operations, and once the oil starts to flow there will not be many jobs unless they are concerned with refining. We have certainly had no idea from the Government about their policies on refining. There is a big argument going on about that and there has been a suggestion that Scotland may yet be bypassed.

I wish to turn to the subject of steel. This is a story where a unique facility was discovered by the Secretary of State. I refer to Hunterston, which the right hon. Gentleman discovered during his Marco Polo activities in the Scottish Office. It is a story of delay, report after report, inquiry after inquiry, statements by the Clyde Port Authority, the Ministry of Transport, the Department of Trade and Industry, the British Steel Corporation—and even the Secretary of State occasionally makes a vapid remark or two. What does it all boil down to? It boils down to the fact that nothing is happening.

We had the appointment of the Stenhouse Committee. The Government provided some money for it. When that committee had made its interim report, I remember writing to the Prime Minister asking when he intended to publish it. He replied that it would be better to wait for the full report. The committee has now made its full report. It has not yet been published.

No proposal about which we have heard comes in any way near to the fullest, justifiable use of this valuable land and the unique deep-water facilities which exist there. We do not want industry there which can go anywhere else. We want to see proper use made of these facilities, and we have made our demands in relation to steel from the point of view not just of Ayrshire or of Scotland but of the United Kingdom as a whole. We have had a pretty sad reply from the Government so far.

The position of the Secretary of State is onerous and perhaps unenviable. He is the voice of Scotland, and that voice should be raised where its strength matters. This is part of our answer when people talk about nationalism and the rest of it. We must have the voice of Scotland in the United Kingdom Cabinet. Yet anyone asking people in Scotland today what they think of the performance of the Secretary of State will be told quite openly—even supporters of the right hon. Gentleman say it—that he has not given the leadership and has not inspired the confidence that the people of Scotland seek.

The Secretary of State has not used the growing power of Scotland, through oil and its balance-of-payments importance, to pitch his demands higher and to make his colleagues listen. Rightly or wrongly the impression is given that the power which the right hon. Gentleman should have stemming from his acknowledged responsibilities for the oversight of Scottish economy is being denied him. He is pushed aside by the DTI. He is uninformed by the Steel Corporation. He is bypassed even by his own Prime Minister.

It is a serious matter if the Secretary of State for Scotland is neglected in his own Government. If the Secretary of State fails to exercise his power either through inability or impotence or for whatever reason, Scotland itself suffers from his neglect. We have a great opportunity to use Scotland's potential in terms of new industrial power to make a radical shift in the social balance. But the progress and prosperity of the top brass of capitalism and of the hangers-on of finance and speculation are not consistent with the progress of the Scottish people.

We look at the record of this Government over the past three years. It is a long list of failures of omission and of commission. I am sure that the House will pass this motion.

4.13 p.m.

The Secretary of State for Scotland (Mr. Gordon Campbell)

I beg to move to leave out from "House" to the end of the Question and to add instead thereof: supports Her Majesty's Government in achieving and sustaining the present high rate of growth in the economy. notes the, beneficial effects this is having in realising Scotland's potential, and welcomes the fall in Scottish unemployment of 56,000 over the past 15 months". From the Government's point of view, the Opposition have chosen a very good time to consider Scotland's economy. What is out of place is their motion. I know that they probably feel that this is part of an annual ritual which occurs in July, but the terms of their motion could hardly be more out of keeping with the economic and industrial situation in Scotland.

Today Scotland is in a stronger economic position than it has been at any time during this century. We are entering a boom period. The Government's target growth rate is being achieved and causing a welcome and rapid fall in unemployment. There is no reason why the boom conditions should not be sustained, provided that we can beat inflation—and inflation is a United Kingdom problem as well as an international one.

This is also a most appropriate moment, shortly before the Summer Recess, to consider the present situation in Scotland compared with what it was three years ago. The unemployment figure in Scotland in mid-July 1970 was 91,000. The last unemployment figure published three weeks ago was 93,000. The figures are much the same. But there was a vital difference in 1970. At that time unemployment was increasing. The seasonally adjusted figures in Scotland had been rising at a rate of nearly 1,000 a month over the year preceding the General Election. Because the economy was stagnant owing to the measures which had been introduced by the Labour Government, it was clear that unemployment would continue to increase, as it did.

The situation now is the reverse. Over the past 15 months unemployment has been steadily reduced in Scotland, by no fewer than 56,000, and there is every sign that it will continue to fall.

Most promising and significant of all the present indicators is the number of unfilled vacancies notified. The latest very high total is a measure of the confidence which is now clearly felt by Scottish industry and of the plans for investment and expansion being carried out. The numbers of unfilled vacancies notified to the Department of Employment have been rising rapidly in recent months. Last month, in June, there were more unfilled vacancies available in Scotland for men than at any time since recording began in 1954.

After coming to office in 1970 we had to cope immediately with that legacy of rising unemployment and stagnant industry. We initiated the massive special public works programmes which gave some immediate relief. In other ways also the Government were able to help Scotland; for example, in the naval ship-building programme and in aircraft orders. We also carried out the changes which were necessary to transform the economic climate and to revitalise industry.

One of our most important actions for Scotland, foreshadowed in our manifesto, was the abolition of SET. This tax probably did more to inhibit enterprise and expansion in Scotland that any other single damaging measure by the Labour Government. It penalised service industries without providing any countervailing advantage.

The right hon. Member for Kilmarnock (Mr. Ross) ended his speech with some scarcely charitable words about me as Secretary of State and about my influence in the Cabinet. But where was he when SET was imposed six weeks after a General Election in the course of which it had never been mentioned? As I have said before, if I had been Secretary of State in that Cabinet I would have resigned rather than accept SET.

In contrast, we recognise that service industries are playing an increasingly important part in Scotland's expanding economy. We are correcting what was widely acknowledged to be a major error of the Labour Government.

We have also introduced a combination of measures to encourage regional development, which is generally accepted to be the best ever to have been applied and to provide the most flexible and effective incentives. It eminently meets the present situation in Scotland. This combination of measures has eliminated the discrimination which previously existed between incoming firms and Scottish firms wishing to expand on the spot. Previously this was a source of grievance, and we have removed it.

Early last year we established the new Scottish Industrial Development Office in Glasgow with functions enabling it to carry out a large measure of the regional assistance work previously done in London.

There has been a good response from industry in Scotland to this combination of incentives. Applications have been processed quickly, and this has helped to implant the confidence in investment which is now so evident in Scotland.

This debate is taking place one week exactly after the publication of a half-yearly review of industry by the Scotsman. Those who saw that review last Monday cannot fail to have been impressed by the theme of success and promising prospects which runs through it. Typical headings of surveys of individual industries are: Busier times with Scotland's vehicle factories. Investment in Forth ports is paying off. Healthy trend for Hydro Board. Help where it is needed in Highlands and Islands. New spirit of optimism throughout Tayside. Industrial boom in Borders. Oil not the only growth factor in the North-East. This shows how much the situation is improving after recovery from the recession which the Labour Government's policies had caused.

Although I personally will never be satisfied with results, however favourable, the lead that we have given has been evoking a ready response from Scottish industry during three years of endeavour and change.

Scottish industry now have many new opportunities arising from our entry into the European Economic Community.

Mr. John Smith (Lanarkshire, North)

Will the right hon. Gentleman give way?

Mr. Campbell

No. The right hon. Member for Kilmarnock did not give way. I wish to proceed with my speech. The hon. Gentleman will have his chance later.

I am glad to find that many Scottish firms are alive to these openings. There is a large new market for those who are prepared to go looking for more business. The Government have given industry a strong lead in this, and some Scottish companies are setting an especially good example by their vigorous pursuit of orders. In addition, entry to the EEC is making it more attractive for foreign companies to look for locations in Scotland for investment. They appreciate the combination of suitable conditions which we can provide for many types of industry. Membership of the Community will bring more trade and more industrial development, and Scottish industry is viewing this prospect already with confidence.

I have drawn attention to these booming conditions because I believe them to be most encouraging. But the impact is not yet felt equally throughout Scotland. For example, Aberdeen and the North-East now have unemployment percentages below the United Kingdom average. But unemployment is still too high in Glasgow and West Central Scotland. I am especially concerned that this part of Scotland should benefit to the maximum from the new offshore oil industry and other developments. The full special development area status which we gave it in February 1971 has been increasingly effective, and it is encouraging to see that the West Central region has shared fully in the recent growth of the Scottish economy. Over the last year total unemployment has fallen at the same rate in West Central Scotland as it has in Scotland as a whole, just as Scotland has kept pace with the fall in unemployment in the United Kingdom generally. This has not always been so in the past, because there was usually a delay.

The Scottish Industrial Development Office has been particularly active in the region, and it is estimated that it has approved selective assistance leading to the creation of 3,700 jobs since the office was started a year ago. This is additional to the other forms of development aid.

Mr. Ross

The DTI said that altogether there were 22,000 jobs in the region, so we have got only 3,000 out of 22,000.

Mr. Campbell

I do not think the right hon. Gentleman heard what I said. That is why I gave way. I will repeat what I said. Selective assistance has led to the creation of 3,700 jobs in West Central Scotland since the office was started less than a year ago.

I now come to the important element in the Scottish economy to which the right hon. Gentleman referred—North Sea oil. Exploration and extraction of natural gas has been going on in the southern basin of the North Sea for about 10 years. It was only within the last two years, however, that oil in worthwhile and workable oilfields was discovered in the Continental Shelf off the shores of Scotland. A very great deal has happened in the comparatively short time of the last two years. By reacting quickly and giving all possible help and guidance to firms we have obtained business and many valuable jobs for Scotland which would otherwise have gone elsewhere. We are winning these new jobs in the sort of work which we need and which we are good at in Scotland—for example, steel fabrication, engineering and servicing rigs.

While assisting these desirable developments to proceed, the Government also initiated long-term studies needed to help Scotland to participate more in this new industry, and to help with reconciling industrial development with protection of the environment. On this last point it was clear that problems were likely to arise after the first, more obvious, sites for oil-related developments had been taken.

We intend to obtain the maximum of beneficial development from the discovery of these oilfields for Scotland. Exploration in deeper water, more difficult to carry out, will undoubtedly continue round our northern and western shores for years to come. More oil is then likely to be found. At the same time the Government believe that it is vital to cause as little harm to our coastline and countryside as possible. That is why a coastal survey, for example, is being carried out and other studies are being undertaken of the probable impact of this new industry upon Scotland.

Mr. Tam Dalyell (West Lothian)

In April the Under-Secretary of State told us that he believed that the kind of Bill promoted by Shetland was essential to the Government's strategy. We all know what has happened to that Bill. I am not blaming the Secretary of State for that.

Mr. Robert Hughes (Aberdeen, North)

"Why not?"

Mr. Dalyell

Simply because it was a Private Bill. If a Private Bill is essential to the Government's strategy, what happens when their position collapses due to the dismissal of the Private Bill? What was essential in April cannot be irrelevant in July.

Mr. Campbell

I do not think that in reply to such an intervention I can go into all the complications of private legislation brought in by local authorities. There will be another occasion for this.

I have indicated that coastal surveys and other studies are going on. None the less, Parliament has laid down procedures which safeguard the right not only of individuals to object to projects but of promoters to put in applications for planning permission, even after they are given strong advice not to do so. The planning Acts and procedures are laid down by Parliament, and there is also the Private Bill procedure. We have undertaken longer-term studies to do all that we can in the way of forward planning without in any way crossing wires with the planning Acts.

The machinery of government has been adapted to respond quickly to the new situation. The Minister of State at the Scottish Office has been given special responsibility for supervising and coordinating all Government action related to oil developments affecting Scotland. He is assisted by a task force of officials from the Departments concerned.

The oil Support Group is now established in a building within a new hundred yards of St. Andrew's House in Edinburgh. Besides its other functions, it is ready to give help and advice to anyone who might bring benefits to Scotland by participating or engaging in ancillary services connected with North Sea oil and gas.

The Scottish Oil Development Council has had its first meeting and has set in motion a programme of work. I am glad to tell the House that every person whom I invited to the membership of the council accepted. In particular some of the members are eminently qualified, as individuals, from their knowledge and experience, to make valuable contributions on conservation and protection of the environment. This is excellent progress. In writing about Scotland's oil, political commentators

Mr. George Lawson (Motherwell)

Will the right hon. Gentleman allow me?

Mr. Campbell

I am trying not to give way too much. I have already given way twice on points where clarification was required. [HON. MEMBERS: "Give way."] The hon. Gentleman has been very kind in giving way to me in the past, so I will give way to him.

Mr. Lawson

I thank the right hon Gentleman. He should know that some of us are very concerned about the Nature Conservancy than which no organisation in all Scotland has done a more worthwhile job. Does not the right hon. Gentleman think that it was a slight upon the Nature Conservancy that it was not even approached in this matter? Will he clarify this matter and approach the Nature Conservancy to ask for its advice as to who could represent its point of view on the council, although not officially on the council?

Mr. Campbell

I am second to none in my admiration for the Nature Conservancy and what it has done. The appointments to the council were on an individual basis and a former Scottish director of the Nature Conservancy is a member of the council.

I was saying that Scottish political commentators have referred to a Scottish renaissance—a turning point in Scotland's fortunes—which is connected with the discovery of oil. This new resource, if not alone but combined with other factors, is providing a fresh impetus for Scotland's economy. In due course Scotland can become a leading member of nations in the new technology of drilling in deep water. We can learn and then forge ahead ourselves in the new technology and, once we have obtained this, play a leading part in deep-water drilling for oil in other seas elsewhere throughout the world as well as round our own shores.

Two months ago we published a special issue on North Sea oil of the Scottish Economic Bulletin. In a continually changing situation it is not surprising that there have been further announcements of discoveries and plans since then. I can give the House the latest situation on the numbers of new jobs.

At the end of last month over 5,000 jobs had been created in Scotland in projects resulting from the new oil industry. In addition, it is estimated that at least another 10,000 jobs will arise from these projects not taking into account the further projects expected.

The special issue of the Bulletin described the part which the Government have played in many ways in giving a lead to desirable projects in Scotland arising from North Sea oil, and in giving help and guidance with speed.

A major contribution we are making is in infrastructure, including roads and harbours—a programme which is not affected by the recently announced reduction in public expenditure. The ports at Aberdeen, Dundee, Montrose and Peterhead are being improved with public and private finance.

Airports also need development soon to handle the increasing traffic. The main runway at Inverness Airport is to be lengthened and strengthened at an estimated cost of £800,000 to take BAC 111s. Design and planning work is now in hand. It is intended that the engineering work will begin in the Spring of 1974 so that BAC 111 services can start as planned by BEA in 1975.

At Aberdeen Airport there are no major operational difficulties at present as regards aircraft and jet services started this year. The problem is the capacity of the terminal buildings, which are inadequate for the much greater numbers of passengers using the airport. But plans for improvements are well advanced. It is hoped soon to complete proposals for new temporary buildings to ease the worst of the congestion. For the longer term, an entirely new terminal complex is being planned.

There are glowing prospects before us for development in Scotland and for a new prosperity. On this, informed impartial observers agree. The policies of the present Government have provided the right climate and the encouragement for new enterprise.

But what have the Opposition to offer? From hon. Members opposite we hear conflicting suggestions of what they would do if they were in power. For a more authoritative version we have to turn to the latest Labour Party policy document entitled "Labour's Programme for Britain". There on page 7 we find the discredited and outdated old formula of nationalisation to be applied to new areas, including 25 of the largest manufacturers in Britain. Does the Front Bench opposite think that general threats of this kind—because that is what such statements amount to—are likely to encourage and stimulate industrial development in Scotland?

North Sea Oil is specified to be nationalised. I recognise that there are at least two hon. Gentlemen opposite—I am looking at one of them—who have made it clear that they disagree with the proposal to nationalise this new industry. But as official policy is to be nationalisation of North Sea Oil, I ask hon. Members representing Scottish constituencies to consider the probable results, bearing in mind what happened over steel nationalisation.

Investment and modernisation in the steel industry was badly delayed because of the uncertaintly and then the process of nationalisation. The British Steel Corporation was created, as part of nationalisation, and a number of hon. Members opposite have criticised the BSC, or distrusted its intentions, regarding Scotland ever since. The Socialist proposal to nationalise North Sea oil includes the setting up of a non-elected juggernaut This cannot be a proper way to encourage the enterprise and massive investment needed to obtain the benefits of development for Scotland, from this newly found resource.

One of the urgent problems connected with the new oil industry is the need for housing in the North and North-East of Scotland in the areas of rapid development. The Government took the lead some time ago in foreseeing the demand and encouraging building by all the agencies which can help. Besides local authorities and private builders, I have authorised the Scottish Special Housing Association to build 2,500 houses in the North and North-East in order to help provide accommodation for what has been described as the oil-rush. It is increasingly important to be able to have flexible housing plans in Scotland and to build where houses are most needed.

Again I turn to the Labour Party's policy document, to see what the Labour Party is proposing. Page 10 provides us with some fascinating information about rent policy in the public sector. It tells us that the next Labour Government will adopt, for the whole of Britain, the policy of pooled historic costs for council house rents. This is, of course, the policy now being applied in Scotland through the Scottish Housing Act of last year. The position in England and Wales is different.

This is a very important point on which we ought to have a reply this evening from the Front Bench opposite. As the Labour Party as a whole have now become converted to the rent policy in the Scottish Housing Act, will the right hon. Member for Kilmarnock point this out to Labour councillors in Scotland? Will he now tell them that the Labour Party has seen the soundness of this principle and encourage them to put it into effect, bearing in mind that increases in rent are limited each year under the Act?

Ending the distortion of housing finance in Scotland and so easing the heavy burden on rates in Scotland is yet another way in which the conditions for industrial development are being improved. A greater choice of housing is becoming available under our policies, and this is attractive to those who are considering investment in Scotland and have to bring key personnel with them.

The construction industry is becoming fully engaged. At the beginning of this year we announced the biggest single programme of advance factory building ever embarked on in Scotland. I am glad to be able to tell the House that demand for Government-built factories is running at a record level in Scotland. An especially encouraging feature of this high demand is the considerable proportion of jobs for men which the applicants are forecasting.

Mr. John Smith

Will the Secretary of State give way?

Mr. Campbell

No. The steel industry is an important element in Scotland's economy. After consultations with the Government the British Steel Corporation's 10-year development strategy, described in the February White Paper, aims to raise steel-making capacity in Scotland to around 4.5 million tonnes by the expansion of Ravenscraig and the installation of electric arc plant. This is an increase of 1 million tonnes or 25 per cent. Let those who criticise it compare it with the increase in steel-making capacity in Scotland during Labour's five and a half years, which was only 0.2 million tonnes.

We have taken the constructive action which has led to the booming conditions today, to the healthy industrial expansion which is going on, and to the rapidly improving employment situation in Scotland. We shall continue to do so. This means full steam ahead for prosperity.

The Opposition's motion shows that they are out of touch. Moreover, they have nothing new or effective to suggest. They still seem to think that nationalisation is the only formula, and they are in serious disarray about the application of that. Some of Them seem well aware that it has no public appeal or likelihood of success, and that it is, in fact, an election-losing formula.

Instead of welcoming the good prospects and the transformation over three years to a favourable economic situation in Scotland, the right hon. Member for Kilmarnock and his hon. Friends are still, as usual, trying to spread gloom. This does them no good. It does Scotland no good. They should cheer up, withdraw their motion, and prepare themselves for years of watching from the sidelines of the Opposition benches a new era of development and prosperity of a kind which Scotland has never before known.

4.42 p.m.

Mr. Ian Campbell (Dunbartonshire, West)

I do not quite know whether I should shout "Cruachan" at this point, but, having listened to the Secretary of State moving his amendment, I have no comment to make on his speech, save to point out that in West Dunbartonshire the level of unemployment is running at more than three times the national average, which is utterly unacceptable in any community.

Both Front Bench speeches have emphasised how our thinking about Scotland's future is dominated by oil exploration and the preparations being made to extract the black gold from thousands of feet below the Continental Shelf around our shores, but it is positive thinking that we need on this matter. We on this side are very much involved in these matters. We are engaged with the Scottish Trades Union Council's working party on oil, some of us have had meetings with the Chamber of Shipping for Scotland, and it cannot be said that we are not showing concern or that we are not doing all we can to see that progress is as fast as possible.

How is industry reacting to this situation? Our information is that the shipbuilding industry, when it was approached about the building of semi-submersible oil rigs, just did not want to know. Perhaps its order books are reasonably full now, but none the less those concerned should be thinking in terms of this new industry. The Secretary of State rightly emphasised that oil exploration is likely to extend round all our shores, and probably around Europe, too. It is essential for our industry to get in on the ground floor and to develop the technology for deep sea exploration. Rather too many of our industries which could be allied to oil exploration and development arc not taking up the challenge.

Last night on television there was a rather uninformed discussion—that is how I saw it, though others may disagree—about the life of Members of Parliament and related matters. One right hon. Gentleman opposite commented that to be a completely rounded personality in the House of Commons one probably needed to have outside interests. I recognise that that could be argued, but I feel that experience in our constituencies may often serve to underline significant points and to broaden the tone of debate.

In my constituency there is a firm which is prepared to go out and work hard to get orders in the oil market. I refer to Foster Wheeler John Brown. It has converted the old Denny shipyard so that it can do this work. It already has three orders, and it is looking for more. It wants to get into design work also, apart from simply getting work to do for American companies and so on.

As I see it, this firm is pushing hard. It is finding that the men of the area are encouraged to work for it, since it calls upon them to exercise their skills in working to fine tolerances. What is more, they are finding that there are no industrial relations problems—and when I say "they", I mean outside firms as well, such as the Root Brown Group. Indeed, management are wondering now why Clydeside should have such a bad industrial relations image. Having visited them on Friday, I wish to emphasise that they told me that they would like it known that the industrial relations in that yard are far better than those experienced in many other parts of Great Britain.

In passing, I may add that, as I probed further, I was told that one reason is that the men can speak up directly to the management, man to man as it were. Indeed, it seems that every second man employed on this work talks like a foreman. Perhaps that serves to show the skills and the feeling of confidence which our workmen possess.

Last week, in the Scottish Grand Committee, we discussed the possibility of looking round Scotland for sites for the building of oil rigs, platforms and so on, picking on certain sites, and then trying to steer the industry to them. Reference was made to the problem in the Highlands area and the effect of a large influx of people from other parts, the effect on the Highland way of life, and so on. At the same time, there is the need to develop the infrastructure, establish road communications and so on, quite apart from the problems created by the effect of development on the environment.

Let us try to look at this matter positively. Could we not examine all the shipyard and similar sites in the West of Scotland and try to develop these? Craftsmen able to work to fine tolerances are already available there, whereas they cannot be found in the Highlands, which have not had the same background of industrial development. I feel that something along these lines could be done in the West of Scotland. If we can do it in Dunbartonshire, others can do it elsewhere.

I come now to the whisky industry, another industry of great importance to Scotland. I am the secretary of the Scotch whisky group which we formed here in the House. This always raises a laugh—already, I see some smiling faces in the Chamber—but the prosperity of the whisky industry is a matter of serious significance for Scotland. There are 23,000 workers directly employed in it, and it gives a good deal of employment to ancillary trades and professions. I always boast that in my constituency I have as many distilleries as anyone and more than 10 per cent. of the direct work force in Scotland is employed in my constituency. To put the industry into perspective, in 1972 we exported 70 million proof gallons of whisky worth about £227 million. To the uninitiated and to those who can perhaps measure whisky only in terms of bottles, that represents about 550 million bottles of whisky, so it involves a lot of trade and work for our country.

In the home trade last year we produced the equivalent of 107 million bottles of whisky and we paid duty on that of £237 million. Unfortunately the Scotch whisky industry is discriminated against in favour of imported liquor in the duty levied upon it. The levy per degree of alcoholic strength on Scotch whisky is 18.8p compared with only 5.5p for sherry, 3.7p for British fortified wine and 5.1p for beer. The Scotsman who likes his dram pays more than three times the duty paid by the Englishman who likes his pint. I do not see why we should be discriminated against in these matters.

The all-party group has a more important task than to make representations to the Chancellor on these matters at this time. We should be concerned with the effect that the Common Market may have on the Scotch whisky industry. We are worried about the high level of duty because this could lead to a higher level of duty within the Common Market. One of the problems is the formation by the EEC of an alcohol regime and it may be that perhaps even the amount of whisky we can produce, which has been growing over the years, could be regulated. We have to keep a close eye on what is happening in the EEC.

There is an old Scottish saying that one whisky to a person is all right, that two are too many and that three are too few. From the point of view of protecting the Scotch whisky industry in the EEC it is a pity that we have only two members from Scotland speaking on its behalf and supporting the Minister in his fight in the European Parliament. Although I did not support the idea of the European Parliament I would say that even three Members representing our interests would be too few and perhaps my hon. Friends, while not agreeing with the EEC—and I certainly do not agree with it—will feel that we should be in there pitching next year and doing all we can to make sure that our voice is heard.

Scotland is entering a new era. In the past our industrial prosperity was based on coal and steel. From now on it will be based upon the oil which is found off our coasts. We need positive thinking and we need to grasp all the opportunities. Let us hope that we can measure up to them in the future.

4.55 p.m.

Mr. T. G. D. Galbraith (Glasgow, Hillhead)

I agree with a number of comments by the hon. Member for Dunbartonshire, West (Mr. Ian Campbell). I liked what he said about whisky and I was interested in what he said about the Common Market. I shall have something to say later on his theme about using the existing industrial development on the Clyde and elsewhere.

It is most appropriate that we should be debating Scottish affairs because Scotland is very much at the crossroads constitutionally and economically. However, when these large issues face us it is unfortunate that the Opposition should have framed their motion in such a way that the debate could easily degenerate into an arid discussion about who had most unemployment when. I hope the House will not allow it to develop that way.

Dr. J. Dickson Mabon (Greenock)


Mr. Galbraith

I did not hear what the hon. Member for Greenock (Dr. J. Dickson Mabon) said. He seems to be speaking with his feet since that is all I can see.

Dr. Dickson Mabon

I said that naturally the hon. Member preferred not to discuss the figures since they are so adverse to his case.

Mr. Galbraith

That sort of argument, bandying the figures back and forth, leaves the ordinary people stone cold. That is not what they expect us to be doing. They have heard the arguments churned back and forth repeatedly and they prefer now to know what we believe Scotland's potential to be and how that potential can be realised. I do not believe that the employment situation, which is improving all the time, is causing concern to thinking people in Scotland. They are more concerned with the impact of the developments which they can see just around the corner on people's prospects for a good and wholesome life.

Mr. Alexander Wilson (Hamilton)

Having heard Conservative Members trying to make political mileage for the last several months out of the unemployment figures going down, will the hon. Member say whose policies forced up unemployment in the first place? Was it not the Tory Government? If the unemployment figures are going down, will he consider the long-term unemployment figures which in my constituency have increased by 15 per cent. in the last 12 months?

Mr. Galbraith

It is precisely the long term that I want to talk about. I do not want to bandy about the figures for what happened in one month or another. We should be directing our attention to the prospects for a good and wholesome life for our people not today or tomorrow but throughout the next generation. It is not much good getting rich quick if as a result we have to live in squalid and depressing conditions. That is what happened in the nineteenth century, and Hamilton is an example of it.

A complete revolution took place in the nineteenth century transforming almost absolute poverty into comparative wealth. But in the process of achieving that wealth the most ghastly slums and the most hideous ugliness, a great deal of it unnecessary, were created. I want to make certain that this does not happen again, but there are great dangers that it will. It would be unnecessary if only we could master our collective greed a little and direct our attention and efforts along the right path. There is a great feeling in the Opposition, as expressed by the hon. Member for Hamilton (Mr. Alexander Wilson), that all that matters is to provide jobs at any price. Anyone who lived through the depression of the inter-war years can sympathise, as I do, with that feeling. I understand too the sensitivity of my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State and the Government in their anxiety not to appear to prefer beauty to jobs.

This apparent clash—because it is apparent and it can be overcome with skill—between the need for jobs and the need for a lung, a playground for the industrial population, has now been focussed in the clash over the development of the Hunterston peninsula. To listen to the proposers of the development, one might think that the whole economy of Scotland depended on the project's going forward in its original form. That was always nonsense. The whole economy of Scotland never has depended on what happened at Hunterston.

What is not nonsense is that full-scale development of Hunterston would ruin for ever the attractiveness of Largs, Fairlie and West Kilbride not just as pleasant places for a few fortunate individuals, some of whom sit on the Opposition benches, to live in, but, far more important, as easily accessible and delightful holiday resorts where workers from the industrial belt can go for their relaxation. It is because I represent a constituency in one of the industrial cities that I am so keen that that relaxation should not be unnecessarily ruined.

Nobody has yet proved to me why it should not be possible both to have the industrial development and to retain the beauty. That is what the Government and my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State should be thinking about. We want not one or the other but both the development and the beauty.

If it is true that the conditions at Hunterston are unique for bulk tankers, as we have been told time and time again, what on earth is anybody worrying about? The uniqueness means that we can impose, in the interests of the community's desire to enjoy amenity, any conditions we want.

Of course, the oil companies will say that they must have a shore site, but that is not true. BP has shown that by pumping oil from Finart to Grangemouth. Equally, the steel developers say that they want a greenfield site. That is easier and cheaper for them, but what about the social consequences and the vast cost to the taxpayer of recreating at Hunterston the social infrastructure that already adequately exists at Motherwell?

To hear the supporters of the scheme talking, one might think that there were no lessons to be learnt from the squalor of nineteenth century haphazard industrial development. With that experience behind us, we should be considering doing things in a different way. But I do not think that we are going to set about doing things in a different way.

It is not merely Hunterston that causes me concern but the much wider implication of the developments round the whole coast of Scotland which flow from the discovery of North Sea oil. I want to emphasise that this is not just a question of preserving the landscape at one particular spot, such as Hunterston, as a holiday outlet for the workers from the industrial belt. It is a whole way of life, the whole balance of society in these regions, that is at stake.

I wonder whether our much-vaunted planning procedure is capable of dealing with this onslaught. [Interruption.] I do not know what the hon. Member for Lanarkshire, North (Mr. John Smith) is laughing for. If he thinks it is a laughing matters, he had better go round the countryside and see.

Mr. John Smith

It was not the hon. Gentleman's speech that was causing me amusement, although it might well have done. Does the hon. Gentleman object to the ore terminal at Hunterston? If so, will he explain what will be the Scottish steel industry's source of supply in the future?

Mr. Galbraith

That is a very good question. I apologise if my remarks, as I rather skated round the subject to save time, did not make that clear. I have no objection to the terminal. What I object to is a greenfield steel site. I thought that that was implicit in what I said. I have left Hunterston for the time being. I am now going round the coast of Scotland. and perhaps the hon. Gentleman would like to follow me on my iterinary.

I was wondering whether our much-vaunted planning procedure was capable of dealing with the problems thrown up by North Sea oil. It is a question not of deciding on an hotel here and there or a supermarket here and there but of the influx of industry on such a scale that it will obliterate—I do not think that is too strong a word—the balanced and comparatively thriving communities that exist in those areas today. The impact is already being felt in the east. If it comes to the west its effect will be quite revolutionary. I wonder whether the whole process is not a little too haphazard.

I do not think that it would be right, as the Opposition have suggested, to nationalise the oil companies, because that would utterly stultify their initiative. But, as a Tory, I have never been afraid of using the power of the State if I think that it is necessary Perhaps an organisation such as a new town organisation or the Scottish Special Housing Association should be set up to see that development goes ahead steadily on the land, leaving the sea to the companies—they understand all about that—in order to make certain that the jobs, houses, schools and so on go ahead properly. That would be an antidote to the natural instinct of companies to get in and get out as quickly as possible and never mind the mess environmentally or socially, because it is not their job to mind about those things. It is our job, and it is the job of my right hon. Friend as representative of Scotland in the Government, to care about the whole picture.

If my right hon. Friend does not feel that that is the right way to do it, I remind him that in the Persian Gulf the oil companies develop not just oil but whole communities. They are responsible for the whole bag of tricks. If they can do that in the Persian Gulf, and be glad to do it because of the assets they can develop, I do not see why the same sort of conditions should not be applied in Scotland.

One of the great difficulties at planning inquiries is the absence of know-how on the part of the objectors. They are mere children confronted with the great volume of knowledge which the developers possess. The imbalance at the public inquiries between the respective strengths of the technological know-how of the parties must make it very difficult for my right hon. Friend to be put in a position to judge the issues clearly. It would be just as difficult for a judge in a complicated civil action if one of the parties were acting for himself and had arrayed against him a whole host of highly-qualified QCs. The oil magnates can produce vast numbers of highly-skilled people, whereas the objectors are almost like babes in the wood.

One point I do not understand is why the great oil platforms must be built at the back of beyond. It would make all the difference if it were otherwise. It is probably easier and cheaper for the company concerned, but it is not necessarily better for the nation. We do not want just to be thinking about the company, about jobs; we want to be thinking about the whole complex of the nation and the impact the development will have on it.

Everything I have been talking about could easily be accommodated without doing any visual or social harm if the development were confined to the industrial complexes on the Clyde, the Forth or the Tay.

Mr. Russell Johnston (Inverness)

Is the hon. Gentleman saying that Ross-shire in the North of Scotland is the back of beyond?

Mr. Galbraith

Of course it is the back of beyond but the back of beyond may be a desirable place to be. Let us keep it like that. We do not want to turn it into another Clydeside. The hon. Gentleman is very fortunate but he does not realise his good fortune. Let him keep quiet.

My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister, whilst speaking at Perth, referred to a great national challenge requiring the same sort of spirit as we had during the war. Surely that is just the right way to proceed. If we did so we might have the drilling platforms constructed like Mulberry Harbours and not in one unit requiring deep water in districts of beauty such as Ross, Cromarty and Inverness. They could be built in sections to be joined together on the drilling site at sea.

If it is necessary to give the construction companies any inducement to do that other than saying that they may not do it in any other way, which is the inducement which I should like to give them, the oil royalties provide the Chancellor of the Exchequer with the wherewithal to provide an additional sweetener if that is necessary.

I hope that I have shown the House that I am in favour of development. I am not in favour of development any old how or at any old place. I want Scotland to enjoy the economic benefits without suffering the social and visual scars which in the past have been inseparable from industry. I believe that if the Government have the guts to use their powers imaginatively in the national interest, we can to a large extent keep our beauty and also have a new affluence with which to enjoy it. It is that attitude of mind which I most fervently urge my right hon. Friend to adopt in realising the great potential which Scotland possesses.

5.12 p.m.

Mr. James Dempsey (Coatbridge and Airdrie)

I listened with considerable interest to the Secretary of State for Scotland. The right hon. Gentleman swapped statistics with statistics. I waited for some prognostication about the future which the central belt will have, which he admitted suffers badly from heavy unemployment. But not a cheep did we hear from the right hon. Gentleman about our future. I was tempted to ask him whether he was to make a statement about the motor car industry. That is what I wanted to hear about. I wanted to hear whether he could predict if anything new was to come into that part of Scotland.

The right hon. Gentleman told us about oil in the North of Scotland. I can advise him that the greatest benefit which will be derived from the oil find in the North of Scotland is in the storing tubes in my constituency, an undertaking which employs half a dozen men. That will be the sum total of the benefit which oil development will mean to my constituency. I am looking for something much more ambitious than a store with half a dozen people when any new strikes or finds take place in Scotland. We did not hear about that.

We all know that the motor car industry is being considered by the Department of Trade and Industry. I understand that the Prime Minister is involved at present in deciding where the development of the motor car industry will take place in Great Britain. Surely he should be in a position to announce to the House that Scotland is being considered as a proper locus for such expansive development which would mean so much to the country. It will mean much not only to the central belt but to Scotland as a whole.

Not one word have we heard from the Secretary of State for Scotland about the future in that respect. I hope that the Government spokesman who replies to this debate will clear up that omission. I hope that he will make a statement about the consultations, discussions or exchanges which are taking place concerning the expansion of the motor car industry. I hope that he will admit that it will be coming to North Lanarkshire. There are there nearly 300 acres of land which can be allocated for that purpose. All the services are laid on. We have a motorway between Glasgow and Edinburgh. The area is equidistant from the airports and seaports and adjacent to the rail marshalling yards in Scotland. What better locus could be found for industry?

Mr. Harry Ewing (Stirling and Falkirk Burghs)


Mr. Dempsey

My hon. Friend suggests Grangemouth. I believe that Grangemouth is suffering from oil slicks at present. North Lanarkshire is free from that type of thing at present, and we would welcome with open arms a new project which would mean so much to the community. At present we cannot point to anything comparable in North Lanarkshire. The east has had its share and Paisley and Renfrewshire have had their share, but the whole of the central belt has received no contribution from the manufacture of motor cars.

I remember campaigning for the steering wheel manufacturing industry. I asked for that as a means of diversifying the economy of the central belt. I found that there were no listeners at the Scottish Office, at the Department of Trade and Industry or elsewhere in the Government.

I hope that we shall all hear some startling news—namely, that North Lanarkshire will benefit from the expansion of the motor car industry.

We all know that during the past few years there have been many consultations and a great deal of research into the possibility of an expansion of the British tinplate industry. I tabled a Question on the subject to the appropriate Minister two years ago. All I was told was "under consideration". That was two years ago. We still have not learned anything about the prospects for Scotland when expansion takes place.

It is an easy job for any salesmen to sell North Lanarkshire. Between Ravenscraig strip steel industry at one end and Gartcosh cold rolling steel mill at the other, and the belt which lies in between, there lies the ideal site for the expansion of the British tinplate industry. In addition to that there is a pool of labour second to none. I have been in negotiations with GKN, which proposes to phase out of the manufacture of bolts and nuts. I do not know whether the Secretary of State knows about that. That will mean the coming to an end of a factory at Coatbridge which employs about 250 workers. GKN hopes to introduce a new commodity provided it gets a new factory.

I ask the right hon Gentleman to introduce a new factory to the Coatbridge area. Coatbridge and district has been specified as an area which produces an excellent pool of labour in that part of Scotland. If that is so, that must be a magnetic attraction for the tinplate industry when the date of expansion is decided.

I trust that the commercial which I am introducing will bear some fruit with the Secretary of State. I hope that it will result in his influence being brought to bear upon the Department of Trade and Industry and his other Government colleagues. I say that in the certain hope that the pool of labour to which I have referred can become an added asset to a community which for too long has suffered from unemployment.

In spite of the so-called boom to which the right hon. Gentleman refers, about one in 12 of the men in the Coatbridge and Airdrie area are unemployed. That also indicates the lack of diversification of employment opportunity. Some of the unemployed may in some way be disabled. Some may have a duodenal ulcer, a disabled leg or some other physical deformity, but I remind the right hon. Gentleman that if they were registered in Birmingham they would have a job. There are jobs for them in Birmingham because of the diversified employment in that area. That is because Birmingham is so close to large industrial and commercial markets. There is no difficulty in the disabled getting a job in that area. If it is good enough for Birmingham, it is good enough for Coatbridge and Airdrie. We are entitled to the same opportunities for our menfolk as exist in the Midlands of England. Pressure must be brought to bear on the proprietors of this industry to ensure that the tinplate mill expansion comes to North Lanarkshire.

One subject which the right hon. Gentleman omitted—I recognise that he cannot cover every topic—is the lack of communications between the developing industries and the markets in different parts of the world. Time and again I have pleaded for the appropriate Department to launch a programme of air landing strips so that it would be convenient to get between these industries and their markets by air instead of the round-about journey by train, car or some other means.

To the north of Coatbridge and Airdrie is a marvellous opportunity in the open land. We could have as many air landing strips as we liked for aircraft commuting between industries in North Lanarkshire and the administrative headquarters south of the border. What surprises me in this context is the lack of imagination on the part of the Scottish Development Office. It operates in Glasgow, Edinburgh and Germany under the aegis of the Secretary of State. Yet little thought seems to have been given to the importance of communications between North Lanarkshire and the other industrial and commercial centres. Diversifying industry and expanding the economy will be abortive unless the lines of communication are modernised, and the provision of air communications is one way of doing it.

I know that some interests have considered such development in South Lanarkshire but it is really in North Lanark- shire that it is necessary, for there one is adjacent to the heavy and medium industries, engineering and other types of industry, and to the services which we operate.

I shall not speak for long because I know that many of my hon. Friends wish to speak. I am anxious to encourage them to do so, especially my hon. Friend the Member for Central Ayrshire (Mr. Lambie), who can be very irritable.

Mr. David Lambie (Central Ayrshire)

I am not on the list.

Mr. Dempsey

My hon. Friend says that he is not on the list. I am afraid that he does not know the password. I do not make a habit of speaking in these debates. I am not usually on the list. But am glad to be able to say a few words on behalf of my constituents and of the people of Scotland generally.

I must before I close refer to the problem of juvenile unemployment. The right hon. Gentleman made great play of the fall in unemployment, which I welcome. I hope that there will be an event greater fall. I would congratulate any Minister of any Government who can tell us that there has been a reduction in unemployment. I have always agreed, and have said so, that the right to work should be above politics. Nevertheless, juvenile unemployment is still worrying.

It has been so bad in my constituency that we have to take kids from school when they leave, send them to a training centre and give them a weekly allowance to keep them from the dole. That presents another aspect of the problem to the Government in attracting industries to such areas which will give apprenticeship opportunities and training advantages to the young people. It is essential to be able to assure young people leaving school that they will have the right to work, but, tragically, we still have some youngsters reaching the age of 18 who have never had a job. That is a disgrace to any type of civilisation and any form of government.

I hope that this debate will not merely be another annual exercise. I hope that it will result in something effective being done, in a new approach towards industrial development and diversification. A great deal can be done not only by the Government but by local authorities. In my constituency a firm established in Airdrie is doing environmental work on council houses, such as external improvements. It has taken on an additional 40 men for the job. The Secretary of State could prevail on all local authorities to get cracking now that they can get 75 per cent. grant towards improvements. Probably another 100 men could usefully be employed locally in improving council houses, which in any case ought to be improved if the tenants are now to pay the economic rent. They are at least entitled to that. I hope that the Secretary of State will apply his mind in that direction.

We cannot solve the problem in Scotland with one single attitude of mind but we can with a combination of policies, and I hope to see such action very soon.

Mr. Deputy Speaker (Mr. E. L. Mallalieu)

Earl of Dalkeith.

Hon. Members

Hear, hear.

5.27 p.m.

Earl of Dalkeith (Edinburgh, North)

I am grateful for those comforting sounds of welcome, but I suspect that by the time I metaphorically resume my seat there will not be many "Hear, hears" in view of the somewhat caustic comments I propose to make about almost everybody and anybody I can think of.

It is almost exactly 13 years to the day since I made my maiden speech on this very important subject. I am rather tempted to wonder, when I look at the unemployment figures then and now, whether the intervening years have been totally wasted, because the figures are not good today, even though we all rejoice that they are getting better.

Before I made my maiden speech I sought the advice of the then Deputy Speaker, Bill Anstruther-Gray, and he told me "I should wait until I was bubbling if I were you." But I do not happen to be the bubbling sort. I spoke then only because I could not endure the idea of a long Summer Recess with my maiden speech still hanging over me.

Today I am bubbling, and I have something to bubble about. First, I believe that the Government deserve a pat on the back for what they are doing in the context of Scotland as a whole.

At the same time, I believe that they deserve a very sharp kick rather lower down in the context of Edinburgh.

I was most interested by the constructive approach of the hon. Member for Coatbridge and Airdrie (Mr. Dempsey), which I thought was in contrast with the speech of the right hon. Member for Kilmarnock (Mr. Ross), who always seems to pretend that he can see only the leaden side of every cloud instead of the silver lining. I wondered whether he had been to Troon recently, and, if so, whether perhaps he saw only the rain whereas others had a more balanced view of characters trying to push little white balls down waterlogged holes in the entertaining pastime.

Looking back over the 1960–64 era, it can be seen that it was a period of rather remarkable progress which tends now to be taken for granted. It was a transitional stage, when there was a big switch from old industries to more modern industries. There are such landmarks as Bathgate, Linwood and the Fort William pulp mill, which was a great credit to the Government of those days and which could be described as the "fair face of capitalism".

Then, alas, we had the dark ages of freeze, squeeze and stagnation between 1964 and 1970. I do not think anyone can seriously pretend that this was not the cause of the high unemployment figures of recent years. After June 1970 we had a rather dank period when nothing very much in particular seemed to be happening. I am on the record as having urged the Government at that time to take off the brakes quicker than they did. With the wisdom of hindsight I still regret that the Government did not get the economy moving a good deal faster in those first 18 months after the General Election. Nevertheless, the figures of the past 15 months reflect great credit on the Government's attempts to stimulate the economy. It is most encouraging to see the growth rate, which might even exceed the target of 5 per cent. That would be a post-war record. To that extent the Government deserve a pat on the back.

I come now to my reason for bubbling. I wish to make a most powerful plea for the granting to Edinburgh of full development area status. My hon. Friend the Member for Edinburgh, South (Mr. Clark Hutchison) has asked me to say that he supports anything, or almost anything, I say in this respect. I have opposed the exclusion of Edinburgh from development area status from the very beginning. It is incomprehensible, illogical, most unjust, and having an injurious effect on Scotland's capital.

If Edinburgh had been excluded along with a reasonably prosperous hinterland of, say, 20 miles in all directions, this could have made some sense. It would have been hard, even then, to justify its exclusion. But it does not make any sense to exclude what used to be a relatively prosperous oasis in the heart of an area which badly needed development area status because of the obvious anomalies that would and did arise. An excellent report has been produced recently by the South East of Scotland Development Authority. I hope I shall be forgiven if I quote one or two paragraphs from it because they are of great relevance. The introduction by the Director says: The advantage of obtaining full development status for the whole South East of Scotland Development Authority region is by no means merely a matter of tidying up an administrative nuisance. The prime advantage would be to give Edinburgh some of the help it sorely needs to obtain its fair share of new industries and to arrest the decline in its industries.… It is not generally realised that, as recently as 1961, Edinburgh was a substantial industrial city, with 42 per cent. of the people who earned their livelihood in Edinburgh being engaged in industrial employment. In the subsequent 10 years Edinburgh lost 17,566 industrial jobs and in the same period unemployment rose from 2,966 to 8,309. In May 1973 Edinburgh still had 7,215 unemployed, of whom 6,277 were men. I stress the significance of that last figure because it is the male unemployment which is so worrying. It represents a figure of 5.4 per cent.

Female employment is high, with only 1 per cent. being unemployed. If we put the two figures together we get an overall figure for the Edinburgh area of 3.4 per cent. This is a somewhat misleading figure, simply because of the low unemployment figure for females. It gives a false impression. If we include the Edinburgh travel-to-work area we have a male unemployment figure of 5.7 per cent. representing 8,099 at the May count. That is a serious situation.

It is right that we should take into account the Edinburgh travel-to-work area. There is in my constituency a well-known sweet manufacturer who collects a large part of his workforce, mostly female, from a huge area surrounding Edinburgh. They come in by bus every day, even from across the Firth of Forth.

To quote another extract from the Director's report, he says: Not only is Edinburgh failing to attract new industries, but the industries in which it was traditionally strong have failed to meet the confident forecasts of growth made only five years ago and are now employing substantially fewer people than they did in 1966. (Food, drink and tobacco: down by 2,072; paper, printing and publishing: down by 2,851) … There cannot really be any doubt that Edinburgh has a major problem. The only mystery is why it has not so far been recognised by the Government. I would dearly love an answer to that question.

Firm after firm has been closing down during the past few years in Edinburgh, and others are likely to follow suit. There are reasons for this and they are rather sad reasons. Because Edinburgh occupies, geographically, such a small area, a new firm can enter the development area, perhaps only a few hundred yards outside the city perimeter. It can then proceed to strangle a well-established industry within the city.

I know the case at the moment where an English firm has situated a factory at Dalkeith. It gets the advantages of the development area status and can then undercut an old-established firm in the heart of my constituency. It is touch and go whether this firm will be able to survive. If only we could, not just for administrative tidiness but for other reasons too, round off this development area and include Edinburgh within it so that Edinburgh was not the one area between John o' Groats and York, which is so penalised, we would be doing something very useful.

If we are to find ourselves destroying the well-established Scottish industries I would like my right hon. Friend to reflect upon the effect this will have on the business executives as well as the labour force of the firms which will suffer. Far too many of our bright young business executives leave Scotland for jobs in the South, where opportunities may seem brighter. We should make every effort to retain such people in Scotland. When they see a firm being brought in from the South and doing this to their businesses it is a kick in the teeth for them. This is doing Scotland a good deal of damage at a time when we need to encourage top quality management to stay in Scotland.

I do not want to take too gloomy a view of Edinburgh's prospects because there obviously are opportunities. One of the great opportunities is the contribution which Leith can make to the oil boom. It could make a very much better contribution if the whole of Edinburgh were given development area status. Leith would develop much more rapidly, and this would add to the advantage accruing from the money which has already been spent in making it a tip-top port. That would be a logical development.

It is not right to mention the question of oil without saying a few words about coal. There are many people in and around Edinburgh whose livelihood depends on coal. Every day we hear about the world fuel crisis. We must therefore recognise the enormous importance of coal. Every bit of coal which can be produced will be needed sooner or later. I therefore make a plea on behalf of the coal industry.

I am happy to note that a big department store is shortly to open in my constituency which will employ no fewer than 700 people. It is encouraging to see the fair face of capitalism showing. This is a firm which is coming from the South without any development area inducements. I do not adduce it as an argument against what I have asked for earlier, as it will employ mainly female labour. We still urgently need industry to employ men.

I should like to hear some loud noises issuing from Downing Street indicating that my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State is thumping the table in the Cabinet Room demanding that Edinburgh should be given development area status. Circumstances have changed, and even if previously its inclusion was not obviously right it certainly is now. Partial intermediate status merely added insult to injury. It was a tragedy that the Government left Edinburgh out in the cold, and it was exceeded only by the folly of the Labour Government in leav- ing it out in the first place. I therefore urge the Government to give Scotland's capital a fair deal and to grant it overall development area status.

5.42 p.m.

Mr. Alex Eadie (Midlothian)

It is not the first time that I have followed the hon. Member for Edinburgh, North (Earl of Dalkeith) in debate. When we on this side of the House said "Hear, hear" at the beginning of the hon. Gentleman's speech, even though we disagreed with his politics, I think that it was in appreciation of his will and determination to participate in the debate.

One of the significant things about debates on the Scottish economy is that the Government do not seem to be entirely with it. It is not a question of being overtaken by events. At times they do not seem to be able to appreciate the event of the day. An illustration of this is in the half-yearly review of industry in the Scotsman of 9th July when the Under-Secretary of State for Development said that the inflationary spiral had been controlled without causing any particular section of the community to suffer unfairly. He could be buried in an avalanche of examples showing that that is not true in Scotland.

There is little cause for self-satisfaction when we examine the unemployment situation in Scotland. In the United Kingdom generally one job is vacant for every two unemployed people. In Scotland we have one vacancy for every six unemployed people. If we were to work out the Scottish unemployment figure on the usual 10 per cent. calculation, there should be over 900,000 people unemployed in the United Kingdom, and we all know that the unemployment figure in the United Kingdom is well below that. That is one of the indicators which show that Scotland has not shared in or caught up with the economic boom. It always seems to be our fate that economic booms arrive in Scotland at a slower pace.

The irony of this debate is that some Tory back-bench Members have asked, "When will the Government introduce stiff deflationary measures? Will it be before we rise for the Summer Recess or when Parliament is in recess?" We usually hear at the end of speeches by Ministers about some goody which is to be introduced to the people of Scotland. Speaking as the grandson of a Macdonald, it would not be difficult for me to quarrel with any speech made by the Secretary of State, but the right hon. Gentleman did not introduce any goody today for the simple reason that something is forthcoming in the near future which will not be very good for the people of Scotland.

The question which we are entitled to pose is "Why are we in Scotland having deflation without getting the full benefits of the economic boom enjoyed by the rest of the United Kingdom?" One of the problems of employment in Scotland concerns the quality of the employment which was designed to replace jobs lost in old-established industries—for example, shipbuilding, agriculture and coal mining. Some of the replacement jobs were short term. They were not indigenous to Scotland but generally part of some industrial base outside Scotland.

When the icy hand of an economic freeze descends, we always seem to be expendable. When the rush back to base is deemed to be necessary to preserve the financial stability of the parent company, industrial parents always sacrifice the industrial children of the company when the economic going gets rough. That has on occasion been part of Scotland's misfortune. Bringing the electronics industry to Scotland was hailed as a great achievement, but we are now beginning to realise that in the main we landed the assembling part; we have not the technological, thinking part which could give assurance and stability to the Scottish economy.

There is a good current example of how the Government cannot be too strongly condemned for the paucity of their thinking. I refer to the offshore and underwater technology of North Sea oil development. The University Grants Committee is the main institution which is expected to finance Aberdeen and Heriot-Watt Universities in their valiant efforts to do something about this technology. The most significant contribution of £130,000 was made by a benevolent draper to Heriot-Watt University to assist it.

The University Grants Committee is oriented towards giving greater financial incentive to the arts universities. There is still a built-in prejudice in educational circles to technological universities. We have already lost some way because of the appalling incompetence of the Government, whose members give the impression that it does not matter that the technology comes from Massachusetts. There is a failure to appreciate that the American space programme has come to an end and that men with the best brains in the world are now available—many of whom originally came from this country. We may get a little extra time. Information is filtering through that the timescale of the landing of North Sea oil will have to be altered because of a series of technological problems. I am sad to say this, for we could dearly have done with the oil being landed in the projected time scale. I appeal to the Government to shake themselves out of this criminal lethargy and to act now with boldness and resolution. If they do not act, permanent damage will be done to the Scottish economy.

Great censure must be applied to the Government for their general approach and strategy in dealing with the Scottish economy. We have a galaxy of agencies which are trying to attract industry, and sometimes these agencies are at variance each with the other. There is a lack of planning forecasting. Ministers do not seem to be informed about what is happening. About two months ago I had an exchange in the House with the Secretary of State for Scotland about the pit closures that were envisaged. He shattered the House and me by saying that he was informed of none. He must know of them now. They will mean a loss of jobs to the Scottish economy, and the men should be advised about them.

The handling of North Sea oil is a big issue, particularly in relation to wealth and job prospects. Do the Government think that they are doing their duty by the Scottish people? What convincing plans have they for exercising control over the sale, distribution, processing and scale of output of North Sea energy? North Sea energy seems to be firmly in the clutches of the oil companies. Vast profits will be made, and the people who will make the money will not be the men on the oil rigs. The people who are making the money are not directly associated with exploration. Land speculators spring to mind. There is a world energy crisis and considerable wealth is lying off our shores. The resources are not confined to oil but include gas and coal. The Government will be abdicating their responsibility if they leave it to the companies to decide what oil should be landed. This is an asset that will appreciate in value. In the mad rush for oil it seems almost a crime to discover North Sea gas, yet that may be the fossil fuel that will be of the greatest value.

When I mentioned in a speech that oil companies' borings had revealed coal seams 40 ft. thick, I visualised that if we could suck gas and oil from the bottom of the sea the day would come when we could suck coal. Already two companies have written to me about this, so it is apparent that we have the necessary technology.

The Government must convince us that they have some idea about the pace of exploration, that they have solid plans for preserving our environment and that they will lay down tough rules. I do not believe that the Government have the will or the resolution to do these things properly. The people of Scotland realise this, and that is why we need a new Government quickly. The first act of that new Government will be to make sure that the people decide how their wealth is to be spent and not the oil companies. I hope that the House will condemn the Government in the Division Lobby

5.55 p.m.

Sir Fitzroy Maclean (Bute and North Ayrshire)

I have listened with interest to the speech of the hon. Member for Midlothian (Mr. Eadie) and I agree with a certain amount of what he said. Where I do not agree with him is in blaming Scotland's misfortunes on the present Government rather than on previous Labour administrations who have been equally responsible for Scottish affairs for roughly half the last quarter of a century. As the hon. Gentleman said, booms take time to arrive in Scotland. At present the prospects for Scotland seem better than they have been for a long time, and my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State should be given some credit for this.

I never know whether it is benevolence or simply bad timing that causes the Opposition regularly to choose the moment when things begin to look brighter in Scotland for a debate on Scottish affairs. But, having listened to the speech of the right hon. Member for Kilmarnock (Mr. Ross), I must say that I incline to the latter diagnosis. On the other hand, I do agree with what the right hon. Gentleman said about the Hardman Report. The author of the report and civil servants in general could do with a shake-up. When that shake-up occurs, I hope that the Government will bear in mind the Island of Bute and the burgh of Rothsay as an agreeable place for the siting of a Department or at any rate part of a Department.

My hon. Friend the Member for Glasgow, Hillhead (Mr. Galbraith) mentioned Hunterston, and I want to follow his example. This is by no means the first time that I have raised the question of Hunterston in our debates. Indeed, I have been doing so at regular intervals for five or six years, and I make no excuse for it. It is a subject about which a great many people both in my constituency and outwith it feel strongly and which has been tormenting them for a long time, and at this moment it is of the greatest actuality.

I would like to start by going back to the beginning, to 1967 or 1968 when there was first talk of siting a mammoth steel complex somewhere on the Clyde. I say "somewhere on the Clyde" because at that time Hunterston was by no means the only site considered. For quite some time Ardmore, much further up the river and much nearer to the centre of things and to the grandiose reclamation and development scheme then contemplated, seemed for obvious reasons a much more probable site for industrial development. Consideration was of course also given to Ardrossan, only four or five miles south of Hunterston, with not only the same deep water but communications and infrastructure already at hand, and incidentally crying out, as it still is today, for development.

But then, for alleged technical reasons, which I have never found very convincing, the choice seemed to narrow down to Hunterston. Planning permission was applied for and granted; objections were raised; a public inquiry was set up and we have been at it ever since.

As one of my hon. Friends said just now, we all want more industrial development in Scotland. But we want the right development in the right place; we do not want to repeat the blunders of the nineteenth century. Personally, I believe that, had it been convincingly shown that Hunterston was the best, if not the only, site in Europe, or even in the United Kingdom, for a mammoth steel complex and that a steel complex sited there was essential to Scotland's prosperity, people would have taken a different view of the problem.

But it soon became clear that this was not the case, and that the British Steel Corporation had no intention of siting a major steel complex there. This put a very different complexion on the matter, as did the report of the 1970 public inquiry, which showed conclusively that, short of a mammoth steel complex, it was not worth ruining the natural amenities of the Clyde for some lesser project—a conclusion subsequently confirmed by the report commissioned by the Hunterston Development Corporation.

This was interesting, because that report had been commissioned at enormous expense to the taxpayer, running into six figures, for the express purpose of giving the corporation the go-ahead. But in the event it went even further in the opposite direction than had the original public inquiry's report.

My hon. Friend the Member for Hill-head said that the evidence in this kind of case is always on the side of the developers and never on the side of the objectors. But in this case the opposite seems to be true. It is on this formidable accumulation of evidence—the public inquiry and the Hunterston Development Corporation's report—all collected at enormous trouble and expense, as well as on their own feelings on the matter, that a great body of my constituents base their determined objection to any further industrial development at Hunterston. I must say that my own sympathies are entirely with them. In the Clyde estuary, we have an unrivalled beauty spot which serves as green belt, a breathing space and a playground for Glasgow and for the whole of Central Scotland, and we should think very carefully before throwing away such an asset.

The Secretary of State's decision to site an iron ore terminal at Hunterston can, I suppose, be justified by reference to the report of the public inquiry. although I still think that it might have been put elsewhere. Today, two more applications for planning permission, both for oil refineries—one American and one Italian—seems to be on their way to the Secretary of State. There are, of course, very good reasons why these foreign companies should have picked on Hunterston—first, because the United Kingdom is laxer in its anti-pollution restrictions than America, which is where the refined oil will be going, and, secondly, because these refineries would be subsidised by the British taxpayer to the tune of about £120,000 per job.

So, if they were to come, we should be paying through the nose to preserve the amenities of Florida and California; the profits would go to a lot of foreign shareholders; and all that would be left to us would be the stink and the stench. Meanwhile, the Clyde estuary would be permanently disfigured and polluted, and most of the relatively few fresh jobs created—oil refineries are not labourintensive—would have been filled from outwith North Ayrshire, the part of Scotland with which I am concerned.

Mr. Lambie rose

Sir F. Maclean

I should like to give way to the hon. Gentleman, because his interventions are always so helpful, but I am sure that he will catch Mr. Speaker's eye later on and will then be able to develop his case.

I shall be told—perhaps this is what the hon. Gentleman was going to say—that one cannot making a living out of scenery. But many of my constituents engaged in the tourist industry do precisely that. In fact, I do it myself, elsewhere. These people will, therefore, be deprived of their livelihood if the scenery in question is blighted by oil refineries and petro-chemical plants, as will many others who at the moment make their living from farming some of the best agricultural land in Scotland.

Of course, neither agriculture nor tourism has the same publicity value, the same public relations value, as vast industrial plants, but for all that they make what is often a much more important contribution to the economy. They also employ a large number of my constituents and could, with advantage and a little encouragement, employ more. Instead of this, for the past five years and more, they have been living under the shadow of the planning blight cast by the continued uncertainty over Hunterston.

Of course, I know that the Secretary of State is in a difficult position. He is caught, poor man, in the cross-fire between the tremendously strong feeling which the threat of Hunterston has aroused locally, and of which he is by now well aware—I sent him another 100 or so letters this morning—

Dr. Dickson Mabon

It is falling off, then.

Sir F. Maclean

It is just beginning.

On the other hand, my right hon. Friend is beset by the uninformed clamour and pressure that he should not just sit there but should do something about Hunterston, that he should send anything there, whether it makes economic sense or not. For my part I hope that my right hon. Friend will not be tempted to give in to that sort of pressure, especially when he has before him the hard factual evidence of two scrupulously fair, well-founded and well-documented reports on which to base a decision—evidence which, I may say, read with a little more care in the first place, should have made him think twice before ever re-zoning the whole area for industry.

The trouble is that, with the years, Hunterston has become a myth, a catch-phrase, a magic slogan, in which people who have never been there and know nothing about it see, quite irrationally, the answer to all Scotland's troubles. Mr. Gladstone used, I believe, to move great multitudes to tears by simply murmuring the mystical word "Macedonia"—or was it "Mesopotamia"? Perhaps the right hon. Member for Orkney and Shetland (Mr. J. Grimond) can tell me.

Mr. David Steel (Roxburgh, Selkirk and Peebles)

It certainly was not "Hunterston".

Sir F. Maclean

Quite true. It was not. But things are rapidly getting that way with Hunterston. I am only thankful that my right hon. Friend's affinities with the great Liberal leader are, to say the least, limited.

Mr. Gordon Campbell

I agree that there is a danger of the word "Hunterston" becoming a kind of catch phrase which many people do not understand. But the burden of what my hon. Friend the Member for Bute and North Ayrshire (Sir F. Maclean) has been saying is to confirm my decision that the Chevron Oil refinery should not on its own be sited there.

Sir F. Maclean

I am very grateful to my right hon. Friend for his intervention and I hope that he will continue in that spirit.

By one of those happy coincidences that occur only once or twice in a political career but that do so much to brighten it when they do, I came into possession four years ago of the Scottish Office minutes on the nuclear security aspects of this whole question. We were told 16 or 17 years ago when Hunterston "A" nuclear power station was first built that it was being put there so that it could be at a safe distance from any centres of industry or population. Then in 1969 Lord Hughes, then Minister of State at the Scottish Office, sent me, I suppose in error, a clear statement of the security regulations then obtaining. The minute in which they were included is most revealing: You will see"— the civil servant in question wrote to the Minister— that we think it better to avoid being too specific about the actual details of the restrictions, and in this the Ministry of Power hold the same view, but for your own information the categories of restriction are:—(l) Any development within a radius of one mile from the site, which might lead to any increase in residential population or might cause an influx of non-residential population. (2) Any development within a radius of two miles of the site which will provide residential accommodation, permanent or temporary, for more than 50 people, or would be likely to cause an influx of non-residential population exceeding 50 people. (3) Any development within a radius of five miles likely to lead to an increase of 500 people in the population of any place. I well remember the dismay of the hon. Member for Greenock (Dr. Dickson Mabon) when I first read out that minute in the House and how, as the then Minister, he dodged the issue. His successors at the Scottish Office have been dodging it ever since. I hope that when my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary of State comes to answer the debate he will say clearly and unequivocally whether those regulations still apply or whether, by some scientific miracle with which we ordinary mortals are not acquainted, it has now suddenly become safe to site a great big oil refinery or petro-chemical plant and all the necessary infrastructure only a few hundred yards from the old-fashioned nuclear installation of the type Hunterston "A".

6.12 p.m.

Mr. J. Grimond (Orkney and Shetland)

I fear that it would take more than even the ghost of that great and good man, Mr. Gladstone, to bring Hunterston to any sort of conclusion, and if the hon. Member for Bute and North Ayrshire (Sir F. Maclean) is thinking of murmuring anything I suggest that he murmurs "Gordon Campbell".

Dr. Dickson Mabon

The Daily Express reporter!

Mr. Grimond

Whenever we have a debate on Scottish affairs, I find it difficult to know whether the Shadow Secretary of State for Scotland and the real Secretary of State for Scotland are talking about the same country. It is a great time for the use and misuse of statistics, but at the moment the statistics are in a peculiarly muddled form. We have a high rate of unemployment and an even higher rate of inflation, and we are told that there are a great many unfilled vacancies. This should make us pause to wonder why there are so many unfilled vacancies in Scotland. Contrary to what the Chancellor of the Exchequer has said, it may be that the economy is becoming overheated. Or it may be that people are either not being trained for these vacancies or are not able to move because of the shortage of houses. Although there may have been activity on the housing front in the areas affected by the oil discoveries, there has not been a sufficient housing programme in Scotland. Therefore, I find all these statistics somewhat confusing.

I intend to devote much of my speech to problems connected with oil. This subject was dealt with in the speeches of the hon. Member for Glasgow, Hillhead (Mr. Galbraith) and the hon. Member for Bute and North Ayrshire in terms of the business of planning and the necessity not to repeat the mistakes of the nineteenth century. I believe that the discoveries of oil off my constituency are even more important than we have been led to believe. There have been three important developments off Shetland since the Committee on the Shetland Bill last met.

The history of the matter is reasonably well known. Owing to the discovery of oil there is in Shetland a demand for land and other resources, for labour, service depots and so on. There is also a demand for transport facilities of various kinds and for storage, and possibly for refining and other types of manufacture.

In an effort to deal with the planning situation the Shetland County Council promoted a Bill, of which two of the main features were, first, that the county council should become a harbour authority for virtually the whole of Shetland which is not already covered by a harbour authority, and, secondly, that it should take the right to acquire land compulsorily in two areas, Sullom and Baltasound.

It is important to stress that the Conservative Government approved that Bill including the proposals for compulsory purchase. Therefore, there is no ideological objection to the Bill by the Conservative Party. The provision that the Shetland County Council should become a harbour authority was approved by the Committee presided over by the hon. Member for Fife, East (Sir J. Gilmour), but the compulsory purchase proposal was rejected on his casting vote.

On Second Reading I explained why the Shetland County Council considered that it required these powers of compulsory purchase. I do not intend to go over the reasons in detail again today, but the council considered that these powers were necessary to achieve adequate control and good land use by the provision of leases to the companies concerned. The council thought these powers essential to good and speedy forward planning. It believed that it could obtain better terms for the people of Shetland. I approved the proposals in principle, as did the Government—though I have been concerned over compensation, about provisions on the time scale and, above all, about the amount of land involved, some of which is built over or is good for agricultural purposes.

I have also pointed out that there are powers of control under the existing planning Acts, although in my own eyes —and more interestingly in the eyes of the Government—these powers are inadequate. Had the Government strengthened the planning procedures for the whole of Scotland, these provisions in the Bill would have been unnecessary.

I come to the wider implications of the present position. I pressed the Government over a year ago to set up an impartial and independent committee to advise on all the implications of the oil discoveries. I am glad to see that the Government have now done so and I welcome their action, although I am not convinced that the committee will be impartial enough and that it will be able to range widely enough over the whole situation. Such a committee was badly needed and I am glad that the Secretary of State has partially met that need. But other measures for the development and control of oil seem to me in some ways to be somewhat muddled and in other ways somewhat inadequate. For instance, there appears to be no policy for the siting of oil-related projects, and particularly oil refineries.

I recently asked two parliamentary Questions on this subject which were answered on 9th July. The first, which I put to the Department of Trade and Industry, concerned the Government's attitude towards an oil refinery in Shetland. In my second Question to the Department I asked what was the Government's policy on the siting of oil refineries, and to that Question I received the answer: It is the Government's policy to encourage refinery development in the United Kingdom"— no matter whether it be at Hunterston, Shetland or, indeed, in the Thames! Individual projects are of course subject to the usual planning procedures."— [OFFICIAL REPORT, 9th July, 1973; Vol. 859, c. 250–11] This is not good enough. I do not think that the usual planning procedures can meet the need for some overall policy about the siting of projects, and particularly of refineries.

Mr. Gordon Campbell

This is an important consideration about which I have great sympathy. I am the Minister who has to take these difficult decisions on controversial issues. These planning procedures are laid down by Parliament and, until the Acts governing them are changed, we have to operate them. They are inhibiting. I hope that in due course it may be possible to improve them, but it is bound to take time. It cannot he done in a few months.

Mr. Grimond

I am greatly obliged to the right hon. Gentleman. I was about to point out that oil was discovered several years ago and nothing has prevented the Government from taking powers. They are in control of the procedures of the House and they could have produced a Bill. Judging from what the right hon. Gentleman has said, it may be that the Government may intend to introduce a Bill in the next Session.

Mr. Campbell

I was pointing out that the planning Acts govern what can be done now. I have never said that those Acts are perfect, but I have to operate them and to operate under them. It is difficult to get parliamentary time for legislation. We have to try to make the best use of the existing powers.

Mr. Grimond

This is an unsatisfactory situation. We are concerned with a vital matter, the most important development in Scotland for years. The right hon. Gentleman now says that he has sympathy with the view that the existing Acts are inadequate, yet he also states that three years after oil having been discovered it is impossible for the Government to bring in legislation to alter the situation. I do not accept that.

This is far more important than a great deal of legislation which the Government have introduced. Many other Bills which the Government have brought in could have been thrown out so as to make way for legislation to cover this matter. We could get through a Bill for strengthening procedures without a great deal of opposition, at least from this side of the House.

Mr. Campbell

The last time that the Scottish planning Acts were reviewed there was considerable controversy, during the last year or two of the Labour Government. They had the chance to make changes. The issue was not controversial, yet it took up a great deal of time.

Mr. Grimond

This is far more important than some other matters and could, for instance, be largely conducted in the Scottish Grand Committee. It is unsatisfactory that the right hon. Gentleman says that he feels that the Acts need to be examined again but he cannot find time. That is a devastating argument for Scottish self-government.

The Government now say that they have a neutral attitude towards the Shetland Bill because of the activities of the Committee, I cannot agree though I understand the arguments for that attitude and I thank the Secretary of State for his courtesy in seeing me to explain it.

As I understand it, the Government were in favour of compulsory purchase in Shetland because they felt that it was a special case. If it was so special a case before the Committee examined it, it must still be a special case. I agree that there are special features in Shetland—a small community cut off by the sea, a limited amount of land and local traditions. But Orkney is in much the same position and the Hebrides would be if oil were found there. Areas in the west of Scotland are in a similar position.

I do not wish to exaggerate the number of Bills which may be necessary. I do not think that the number would run into double figures or near it, but it might be necessary to produce a series of minor Bills to make the planning procedures adequate, and it would all take time.

One argument against compulsory purchase, which has some validity but which is not overriding, is that, if planning procedures as at present are inadequate for Shetland, as the Government agree, they may be inadequate for other people. This is therefore a national and not a local problem. It is a powerful argument, although I do not necessarily accept it.

Promoting Bills of this sort is expensive. Eight lawyers sat for almost three weeks in this instance. Any objector who wants to make a showing has to engage counsel. If objectors appear in person, they have to contribute to the costs, regardless of whether they engage counsel. The hon. Member for Fife, East nods agreement. It is monstrous that people who want to defend their rights in an inquiry into a Private Bill should be asked to go to this amount of expense. I say that bearing in mind especially that the Chairman of Ways and Means has said that this is a matter of national importance.

Another drawback to the present procedures is that the Committee will now report to the House recommending the striking out of the compulsory purchase provisions. It is now very difficult to deal with other amendments because there is no Committee to consider them. Bearing that in mind, I believe that the Government should look seriously at the whole of our planning procedures. They are very unfair on the individual and for the reasons I have given they are unsatisfactory. It is now very difficult for the House to deal with the Bill unless it is to conduct a Committee stage of its own. I believe that there should be better means of discussing the background of the economic, housing and other effects of such Bills.

At the present time, the Milford Argosy Oil Company is about to carry out a feasibility study for an oil refinery in Shetland. The Government cannot be indifferent to the proposal. But apparently they pretend that they have no interest and that they can stand aside until planning permission is sought when they may call in the application. For reasons which I have outlined before, this is very unsatisfactory. Just to take an example, suppose that the House puts back the compulsory powers. The Shetland County Council may then acquire the land. The Bute and Ayrshire constituency may be in the same position. Having acquired the land, the authority may find that the Secretary of State calls in the project and rejects it. In this case there may be a clear conflict.

Apparently it is to be left to the Shetland County Council to find out about pollution dangers. The representatives of the authority will have to go down to Dover in order to talk to the harbour master there who has a great deal of information about pollution in the Channel. Others will have to go to Milford Haven. It will have to examine the possible impact on the fishing grounds. Consideration will also have to be given to the need for new airports and so forth. Is all this really the duty of each local authority facing this type of major development?

For my part, I intend to wait until I hear the considered views of the county council on the situation. I have never believed that the future of oil was entirely bedevilled by wicked uncles and good fairies. There are many people trying to do their best. I hesitate to come to a conclusion until I have had a chance to study the Committee's report and the local authorities' decision on it. There remain all the ordinary planning powers. But the Committee may wish to reinstate the compulsory purchase powers. Another possibility is that it may wish to reinstate them only for some areas—for instance, for Sullom. This I believe is highly likely. I have always said that the exact delineation of the area should be re-examined, and I should favour such a move. I should regard it as my duty as a Member of Parliament, if it were felt that these powers were required for certain areas, to try to get the support of those hon. Members on both sides of the House who have taken an interest in this matter to try to get the powers for certain areas put back into the Bill on Report.

This is a very good example of the difficulty of operating the present procedures. As this is the most important economic development in Scotland for at least 100 years, I beg the Government to look at the wider implications. I see for example that in the document about rig building, although I am told it does not mean it, it says that there is no suitable site for rig building north of Nigg. I wonder whether that has sunk in. There is a great deal of ignorance about the subject. I think we ought to have a proper survey of the north of Scotland and that we should look again at the planning procedures.

Lastly it is considered by some people that the Shetland County Council is not competent to exercise these powers of compulsory purchase, yet it is to be allowed apparently to exercise very wide powers as a harbour authority. If the authority can do that, it may be that it is entitled to its compulsory powers.

I want finally to make two or three wider points.

To begin with, what has happened to the Kilbrandon Committee? We must have an assurance that the committee will report one day.

I agree with many hon. Members that the Hardman Report is quite deplorable. Anyone setting out with the belief that London is the hub of the universe and that the jungle begins at Watford and Reading is bound to come to the conclusion that it is inconvenient to move out of London. However, the inconvenience of remaining in London is far greater than the inconvenience of moving out.

It appears from what we have heard about the plans for the Channel Tunnel that all rail services suitable for the tunnel will stop at Newcastle. I beg the Secretary of State to thump the table in the Cabinet and to point out to his colleagues that Scotland is a nation on her own with her own traditions. With this enormous wealth now from oil, Scotland is not some outlying appendage of London.

If we are to have an effective regional policy, it must be started in the regions with decisions taken at such places as Edinburgh. We must encourage education. planning and welfare as well as the provision of jobs. These new developments in Scotland will change the face of our country. In the meantime we are bogged down waiting for reports. When they come, they are not discussed. As a result, to some extent the great opportunities with which oil presents us are being wasted.

I am as keen as everyone to protect the amenities of my constituency—probably more so that most because I realise that developments of this kind affect the sea as well as the land. However, there are still many people in this country who are badly off. They could do with more money, especially during a period of inflation. Many people in my constituency want and deserve to earn more. I hope to see development there which will put money into the pockets of Shetlanders. I say that without shame. They have had a rough deal for too long.

6.31 p.m.

Lt.-Col. Colin Mitchell (Aberdeenshire, West)

It is a great privilege to be called immediately after listening to the speech of the right hon. Member for Orkney and Shetland (Mr. Grimond). I agree with much of what he said in his closing words. He may perhaps take some consolation from the words of a military strategist, Von Moltke the Elder, who wrote: No plan survives contact with the enemy. It is obvious that in a great deal of our planning of North Sea oil developments those words would be worth hanging above the desk of my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary of State for Development, Scottish Office.

It may be appropriate that after 16 months' enforced absence from Scottish debates I return at a time when my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State is not out of the Chamber having his tea. I should have preferred to take on my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary, because, naturally, I have the slight feeling that I may be indulging in a little back-stabbing by speaking from behind my late master and by referring to the article in today's Glasgow Herald about my right hon. Friend's future and, for that matter, that of the Shadow Secretary of State. I hesitate to do so because I have a great affection for my right hon. Friend.

It is tempting to over-react in this euphoria of freedom regained. But it will be better if I begin by complimenting my right hon. Friend on the obvious successes that he has had in Scotland. I know that all those men of good will on the Opposition benches will appreciate the matters to which I refer.

Nevertheless I feel that this is an appropriate moment at which to reiterate a personal viewpoint which I know will find support on both sides of the House, especially from my hon. Friend the Member for Aberdeenshire, East (Mr. WolrigeGordon). It is that agriculture has been and remains the most important industry in Scotland.

Having got that off my chest, I can return to the gasworks, the steelworks and the other matters which we normally discuss in these debates.

The Scottish economy is still only a regional facet of the economy of the United Kingdom overall. Therefore, it is dominated by domestic inflation, to which no one has seemed able to find an answer; by a weakening currency, which is probably the most terrifying problem that we have seen for a decade; by the introduction of statutory control over prices and incomes, despite what people like me said during the 1970 General Election campaign about always remain- ing on a voluntary basis; and by the shadow of the corporate State, as it is called in the smart political weeklies.

The mistakes of the nineteenth century have been quoted today. But surely the mistake of the twentieth century is the continuation of ancient and discredited political dogma—and I look across the Chamber as I say that.

I intend to adopt a slightly critical tone about the Government's economic principles. I agree that they are flexible. However, I also believe that they are extremely risky, and we see clear evidence of this on the Scottish scene. The Government are inclined to distort the economy by grants which have a tax source only. Therefore, we find the taxpayer shoring up inefficiency in our Scottish industries, or in certain of them. There is a feeling in Government circles that massive credit represents purchasing power when, in fact. this is simply an overdraft facility—and who should know more about overdrafts than I?

The Government often believe that funds put into public works to create employment will produce jobs in quantity, but nowadays, with largely capital-intensive industries, the nature of production leads not necessarily to the creation of a great number of jobs but to the waste of a great deal of public money.

The Government may be accused of neglecting the fixed income and small business people whom we Tories always say we are out to protect in the face of the massive bargaining power which rests with the trade unions which we, and certainly I, consider get more than their fair share for no better reason than their weight of numbers—God in this particular analogy being not on the military side of the big battalions but on the side of the big unions.

I am not altogether alone on this side of the House in saying that. In the recent debate on the Finance Bill various points were made which covered the four that I have just highlighted. I am not being critical of the Secretary of State in his appointment. He has the worst of all bargains. He holds responsibility, but in many ways this is without power; sitting in St. Andrew's House.

Scotland is a region of the United Kingdom, not a nation, as we always infer.

Many of us make speeches in which we talk about the people of Scotland and about Scotland as a nation; we hear it all coming out, but the truth is that Scotland is simply a region of the United Kingdom—

Mr. Donald Stewart (Western Isles)

That is what is wrong with it.

Lt.-Col. Mitchell

I am coming to that point. I was reverting to the Secretary of State's problems before my hon. Friend interrupted. I should refer to him as the hon. Gentleman. I am not allowed to call him my hon. Friend. The Secretary of State's difficulty is that his mentors in all these matters are Treasury Ministers, the DTI, the people in charge of the environment and, indeed, of agriculture.

So we come to the question whether Scotland is a nation or indeed a country. We never hear talk about "the country" nowadays, but about society, whatever society is supposed to be. I associate that term with another political party which I do not support. There is in this sense a need for devolution.

The right hon. Member for Orkney and Shetland in closing spoke about Lord Kilbrandon reporting. I, among others, await with keen intelligence what that report will show. Indeed, I should like to meet somebody in Scotland who has given evidence before the commission. Presumably that will come out when we read it.

I have often considered, in an emotional and slightly abstract way perhaps, that the Scots are a proud and independent race and that all Scotland's fears arise from people who are either Scots born or Scots by ancestry fearing that they will lose their identity.

The same old problem is coming up again in the new oil scene. We all know that at last we have the most wonderful thing which could revitalise the whole of Scotland if it is handled with imagination and leadership. We talk about imagination and leadership as though every politician had them as a mantle. Unfortunately, that is not so. I sometimes think that politicians do not require imagination and leadership, because such qualities get them into the most frightful trouble, and, as we know, those with those qualities are often not the most successful politicians.

Let us consider what can be done in terms of imagination and leadership in Scotland. The first and most necessary element is, as the right hon. Member for Orkney and Shetland suggests, that the sharp end of the battle cannot be in London. It must be in Scotland. We must identify the oil scene 100 per cent. with Scotland. This cannot be done by the appointment of my noble Friend Lord Polwarth or by the setting up of all kinds of funny, unpronounceable little organisations which none of us knows about or is interested in because there is no highlight about them. We do not feel that they identify. If we do not feel it, how in the name of heaven can the people of Scotland feel it?

Having said that, I should now like to go from one end of the spectrum to the other. There are two individual aspects of industry in Scotland that the Government seem to have overlooked which could so easily be put right by a bit of initiative on their part. The first concerns the area represented by the hon. Member for Greenock (Dr. Dickson Mabon). I refer to the sugar industry. It would be wrong for me to make a speech about the sugar industry when no doubt the hon. Gentleman will be mentioning it later. But I suggest to my right hon. Friend that Greenock, which is the home of sugar refining, has been waiting now for about four years for an answer on the future of the sugar industry. Every major decision within the sugar industry, particularly the future of cane refining, hangs on this answer being given and the Government taking action. Yet, for some reason that I cannot understand, we cannot get an answer.

In a Written Answer which I received today I was referred to a reply given to a Labour Member, which was to the effect "You will not get another reply", that hon. Member having been referred to an answer given to another hon. Member a month before which was to the same effect. The sugar industry cannot go on waiting. Hon. Members talk about the British Sugar Corporation, but that is Government sponsored, if not controlled. Here is one area where Scotland could be helped by someone lifting a telephone somewhere in Whitehall and saying "Sort it out."

Another simple matter which could be put right is on my own doorstep. I sail away from the shores of Greenock and go back to West Aberdeenshire where I am slightly more at home. I refer now to the paper industry. There are four paper mills in my constituency. The paper industry has understandably been jittery over the last decade because of a whole lot of factors which we do not blame on anyone in particular. The industry world-wide is faced with the biggest pollution problem of any industry because it is being blamed by everybody as a polluter, which is quite true. A Member of Parliament who has paper mills in his constituency is incredibly unpopular, as I am, if he draws attention to it. This is a situation which requires initiative by the Government. We talk about the environment and its preservation. Surely if we are to give away money in various directions, where better to place some of it than in the form of a subsidy to the paper industry to help it to put in new controls to combat pollution. I ask my right hon. Friend, when he has made that first telephone call about the sugar industry, to pick up the telephone again and get on about the paper industry, because I am sure that this is how the Whitehall system works.

I think my right hon. Friend has probably had enough of me for one night, so I will conclude. The never-ending Scottish economic debate continues. It is just as much a matter of the national economy as anything can be. We cannot divorce the national economy from the international monetary situation, so we cannot divorce Scotland as a region from the situation in the United Kingdom. But I believe—I have no lack of candour in saying this—that the vital and unique factor about Scotland is its nationhood. Until this factor is properly understood by a United Kingdom Government, the full potential of the country will never be realised in terms of going into the Common Market, in terms of offshore oil, in terms of industry, of agriculture or of environmental attractions.

This is the nub of the debate tonight. My right hon. Friend can produce leadership which will be remembered in Scotland for decades to come. Let him act.

6.45 p.m.

Mr. John Robertson (Paisley)

If I had been able to distinguish where the hon. and gallant Member for Aberdeenshire, West (Lt.-Col. Colin Mitchell) was, or the road down which he was travelling, or even where he was likely to arrive, I might have tried to follow him. I had better leave that exercise in political guerrilla warfare on its own and move on elsewhere. It will be safer for me to do so.

In another quarter of an hour the Secretary of State's back would have been rather painful and he might not have survived. However, I should be prepared to suffer that unemployment. The idea of the redundancy of the whole of the present incumbents at the Scottish Office is one attraction that politics has for me. The Scottish Ministers have been a miserable and uninspiring lot. Even when they tell us about booms they do so in a most uninspiring way.

About one thing at least the Secretary of State has been right. Over the years this debate has become an annual ritual in which Government supporters shout "boom" and Opposition Members shout "gloom". None of it is real and none of it has any meaning. It has been going on for so long that all of us know tantics. The debate cannot be about the Scottish economy. We have been told so often that there is not a Scottish economy. How can we debate what does not exist?

Masses of statistics are bandied about. Nobody understands them. Perhaps that is not necessary either. There are reports by the dozen, some published, some not published. The most interesting are always those that are not published, and we hope that there is one somewhere which will say something meaningful. Whenever reports are published the meaning seems to become lost.

However, whatever the purpose of the debate be, it always ends up with one fact clear, that since these debates began Scotland's situation has steadily worsened. We are in a position of gradual decline.

Each year we go in for the ritual tearing of strips off one another, eagerly seeking a refutation of what we already know are the facts. We eagerly watch the figures for the number of employed and unemployed and compare the number of jobs in the pipeline with the decreasing number of people employed or increasing number of people unemployed. This gives some statisticians, printers and public relations officers work, but it has never had much meaning, nor will it in the future.

The best that can be claimed of all the speeches, all the work by Governments and all the policies that we have seen is that if regional policies had not been operated things might have been worse. No one can prove or disprove that statement. We know that all the regional policies from pre-war days, through the first Labour Government, through the 13 wasted years of Tory rule, through the period of the last Labour Government, and particularly since 1970, have not produced a cure. They have been treatment for the symptoms of the disease but they have not tackled the disease.

Anyone who cares to question that statement should examine documents in the Library which state the number of employed and unemployed right back to 1945. I repeat that over the years the situation has been one of decline in the face of regional assistance, industrial development certificate policies, and other policies which have been adopted.

On the question of regional policy, the stick has never been employed and the carrot has never been big or juicy enough. The donkey has stayed and prospered where it was, in the lusher pastures of the South-East of England. I have sometimes wondered whether the stick and the carrot have not been mere symbols which were never meant to be effective but were meant merely to placate Scottish Members and the Scottish people. I wonder, particularly, whether they were not meant to placate Scottish Members because they, too, must say something when they are in Scotland. Whatever they say or do when they are down here, when they are in Scotland they must find some excuse for the situation not improving.

We make minor changes in the rules with a change of Government, but we make no significant difference. We do not change the essentials of the game. We talk about Scotland as a region of England or, perhaps, of the United Kingdom. It depends where one is sitting as to what one's concept is of Scotland as a region or a country, or whether it has any economy.

One of the most significant facts is that since 1945 at least Scotland has elected a majority of Labour Members of Parliament, yet for at least half that time it has had to accept Tory administration. We cannot go on wearing that for ever.

Mr. Galbraith

Why not?

Mr. Robertson

That is typical. The hon. Member for Glasgow, Hillhead (Mr. Galbraith) does not want the oil development on his doorstep but he does not care who else gets it.

Mr. Donald Stewart

Is the hon. Gentleman aware of another interesting statistic; namely, that in the last 100 years Scotland has been ruled from Westminster half the time by the party against which the majority voted?

Mr. Robertson

Even though I was not around here 100 years ago, I have been around long enough to know what has been happening in recent years. Since 1945 at any rate, let us face the fact that it has not mattered who has got into Government. I say that in the presence of my right hon. Friend the Member for Kilmarnock (Mr. Ross). No one did more, no one tried to do more, no one willed to do more or wished to do more for Scotland than did my right hon. Friend, but the objective facts, whether measured by unemployment, employment, migration or any other indicator one cares to choose, show that nothing effective was done.

Mr. John Smith

May I introduce a note of fact into the discussion and remind my hon. Friend of what happened in regard to unemployment? That is one factor which he mentioned, and I ask him to remember that in no month of any year from 1964 to 1970 did unemployment in Scotland exceed 100,000, that the previous time it went above that was in 1963, when the Tory Party was in power, and it rose again to that figure when the Tory Party returned to power in 1970. Is that not a matter of fact which clearly sets out the difference?

Mr. Robertson

I think my hon. Friend is a bit young at this kind of thing. If he followed the matter a little further, he would see the trend. It is true that at no time under the Labour Government did the figure go over 100,000—it was our proud boast that it did not—but, at the same time, it was getting worse during all those six years.

Mr. Ross

Not at all.

Mr. Robertson

It was getting worse during the whole of those six years. The facts and figures are there. The number of males employed fell significantly. The number of people migrating during those six years was greater than in any previous six-year period, unless one goes back to 1920. Those are facts. [HON. MEMBERS: "No."] I am not in the least wrong. But right hon. and hon. Members opposite should not start congratulating themselves, for in 1970. when they came to power, what we had was not just a minor ripple but a major disaster.

Mr. Galbraith

It was a snowball.

Mr. Robertson

It was a disaster. They came in with their lame duck policy. They made so many threats against Scottish industry that in the end they got the result they set out to achieve—"If you want to make things better, first you make them worse". That is what they have done. Now they boast that they have brought the unemployment figure below 100,000. But their great achievement was to put it up to nearly 150,000. That sort of thing will do no good at all.

I pay tribute to my right hon. Friend the Member for Kilmarnock. I have said this privately on many occasions, and I now say it publicly. No one in all the history of this place has had Scotland's interests more at heart than he has. Yet despite all his efforts, despite all the will he brought to it, we made no significant inroads into the problem. That is the fact, and that is the tragedy. There was no lack of will on his part. He did not have the political tools to hand to effect a cure. He could not take the essential decisions. They were not taken in the Scottish Office. He could try to influence the decision makers of the Treasury and the other Cabinet offices, but the tragedy was that the decisions were not his to make.

At least, my right hon. Friend tried. When the present Secretary of State came to office, we saw the effect of his policies, and we have seen it ever since. It has been a great tragedy for Scotland.

What worries me is whether we can achieve a Socialist Scotland merely by an extension of doles to industry. Are we to have perpetual handouts to industry, to bring it up to Scotland so as to keep Scotsmen and Scotswomen happy? Is that all that the future holds? I do not think so. I do not believe that Scottish workers want to see a perpetual system of doles and aids. We want a more meaningful and purposeful way of life than that, and we want a hand in shaping the future.

In passing, I should say that the Scottish people, I am sure, have no longing for the Arbroath and Bannock burn kilt and haggis syndrome. They do not want any of that sentimental nonsense. What they want are jobs, not fancy dress. There is no joy to be had from the tarten Tories or the Sauchiehall Street Highlanders. We want no more of their salt herring and porridge.

At the same time, the workers of Scotland have no doubts about their Scottishness. It has been difficult enough for Scoland to find a solution to its problems within the context of a United Kingdom economy. It might be possible to achieve it with Socialist policies and a Labour Government in power, but now, within the Common Market, I doubt that a solution of that kind is available to us.

For years I have argued in Scotland that the representatives of the Scottish work-people must be in the place where the decisions are taken, and I have accordingly argued that they have to be here in Westminster, because this is where the decisions have been taken. But can we say that today, in the context of the Common Market? I quote now from one of my hon. Friends who is well known as a European: Westminster now moves in something like a vacuum. So much is going on in Europe, in Brussels or in Strasbourg, where the Labour Party still refuses to send delegates. We have no presence where the decisions are being taken. The leader of the Tory delegation virtually repeated that in a speech at Strasbourg when he said that this place is in a political vacuum, and the decisions are being taken in Europe.

If the Labour Party had intended to come out of Europe, I could see solutions in this place for Scotland. But inside the Common Market, no. Believing as I do that the Labour Party has no intention of withdrawing from the Common Market, I think that the logical and inevitable conclusion is that, if Scotland's best interests are to be served, Scotland's representatives have to be where the decision making goes on. If that is not here, we have no right to be here. If it is in Brussels, that is where we ought to go. If it is in Strasbourg, that is where we ought to go. But before we can go there we have to have our own Parliament in Edinburgh, and this will be the solution to the Scottish problem.

7.3 p.m.

Mr. Patrick Wolrige-Gordon (Aberdeenshire, East)

Seldom have I thought that I should hear a more depressed speech than those we have become accustomed to hear from the right hon. Member for Kilmarnock (Mr. Ross), but I think that we have heard from the hon. Member for Paisley (Mr. John Robertson) just about the most depressed and depressing speech ever addressed to the House, full of a great sense of frustration. I greatly regret it, and I cannot in the least share his sentiments, although I respect his point of view.

I agree with much of what has been said on both sides about the facts of the employment situation in Scotland today. Unemployment stood at 90,000 when the Conservative Party came to power in 1970, today it is 93,000, and in the interim the numbers had risen to 100,000, to 120,000, and, according to the right hon. Member for Kilmarnock at one point, counting in the miners' strike, to 217,000.

Mr. Ross

It was 218,000.

Mr. Wolrige-Gordon

Then it must be reported wrongly in the HANSARD that I have here.

Now the trend is going sharply the other way. As recently as last February, when we had our last debate on this important subject, the figure was still 123,000. Since then it has dropped by nearly 30,000 and there are an additional 24,000 vacancies. I welcome the Government's success in reversing that trend in rising unemployment which we inherited from the Labour Government. But even so we have been through a disgraceful period in Scottish employment history.

Where the fault lies and where we need much more co-operation in the national interest is in the cumbersome inadequacy of the Government's machine. It always reminds me of steering one of those vast oil tankers where it is necessary to turn the wheel about a mile before reaching the point at which the turn must be made. The Government machine seems able to tackle only one problem at a time, and extremely slowly. At the time of the Labour Government the problem was the balance of payments, and I salute them for winning that battle, but significantly they went too far.

For us the battle has been the economic stagnation caused by winning the balance of payments battle and the problems of the resultant rise in unemployment. Now we are winning that and, significantly, we too may be going too far. My right hon. Friend the Chancellor has already announced some curtailment of public expenditure but already there are signs of overstrain in certain parts of the economy, even in the North, like tar bubbling on a main road here and there under the warm sun of Tory economic success.

So we do not want to make the mistake of concentrating on one target to the exclusion of all others in dealing with economic management in Scotland. We want good management in all aspects, and I have one or two points I should like to urge the Government to consider.

The first, not unnaturally, concerns the oil industry. Some of my hon. Friends seem most concerned about the public relations aspects of the administration of the North Sea oil industry.

But public relations, however good, cannot conceal a fundamental mistake in the original appreciation; namely, that the North Sea oil industry is a Scottish industry. It has been a Scottish industry since it began, and it should be administered in Scotland. I appreciate, of course, the counter-arguments, but the Forestry Commission, with a far greater English involvement than North Sea oil, has come to Scotland and the administration of the fishing industry is now in Scotland. They have come to Scotland because they are primarily Scottish industries.

My right hon. and hon. Friends are rightly making a great issue about the Hardman Report, but the decentralisation which makes most sense is not the artificial but the natural. What could be more natural than the devolution of the administration of North Sea oil into Scotland. That is where the oil is. In view of all the arguments going on about regional policy in Europe and about the future of regional policy here, which stress that, without the provision of local decision making, regional policy does not work, I believe my hon. and right hon. Friends must reconsider their position on this. I was very pleased to hear what the right hon. Member for Kilmarnock said about it. If mistakes are to continue, let them at least be Scottish mistakes. Devolution will make public relations less important, and, moreover, it will revolutionise the attitude towards the provision of the necessary infrastructure.

The decisions over Maplin and the Channel Tunnel indicate the attitude I am speaking about. These large investments were planned because of the obvious necessity posed by the Common Market and by the greatly increased trade opportunities it would bring. They are clearly necessary from London, and I supported both the projects. But 500 or 600 miles away in the north with the largest and most rapid build-up of investment Scotland has ever known—perhaps about £2,000 million in every oilfield, with 10 oilfields already and goodness knows how many more to be found—the comparable Maplins and Channel Tunnels are not so easy to see.

The best we can manage is £60 million to make the single carriageway road from Inverness to Perth a better single carriageway. The opportunity should now be taken to "dual" that road, and to give the same treatment to the road to the north of Aberdeen. I declare an interest in that I live north of Aberdeen and I experience personally the constant and enormous build-up of traffic.

But to revert to regional policy again more than any other thing, the regions need the ability to compete on fair terms and in the North of Scotland that means good communications. It means keeping every inch of our railways and extending the inches of our road. Now is our opportunity to do so.

There are two other important industries in Scotland. It seems to have been forgotten in the debate that agriculture is still the main industry in Scotland, and I was glad to hear my hon. Friend the Member for Aberdeenshire, West (Lieutenant-Colonel Colin Mitchell) re-affirming that. There is also the fishing industry. The inshore fishing fleet has become so prosperous and so efficient that it has lost one of the main props of Government support. I am proud of that industry's success. But I want an assurance from my hon. Friend the Minister that its position will continue to he kept under the most careful review. For any sensible regional policy, apart from its effect upon the fine men and women in the industry, its future is of crucial importance to the Scottish economy, and so is a sensible distribution of that economy, particularly around our coasts. Agriculture, too, is prosperous. I do not know whether the Labour Party intends to nationalise agriculture if it gets hack to power—

Dr. Dickson Mabon


Mr. Wolrige-Gordon

Perhaps no decision has been made. But I have noticed an increasing desire to turn to nationalisation. I think that the ideas of the Opposition were best summed up by that splendid cartoon in one of the newspapers after the Russians had been compelled to buy an enormous quantity of wheat from America. There was a picture of one Russian commissar talking to another. Opposition Members are doubtless aware that nationalisation of agriculture in the Soviet Union has been a much greater success in theory than in practice. The commissar was asking the other one "What shall we do for food once the red flag flies triumphantly over the Western World?"

I end with a reflection—[Interruption.] I do not need to say anything more about agriculture because, under the careful and wise administration of my right hon. Friends, it is doing very well, supplying the food and beginning to meet the shortfall in supplies that resulted from the policies of the Labour Party.

My final reflection is on the pay and prices policy as it affects us in Scotland. Sir Frank Figgures was reported in the newspapers on Saturday as saying that anyone asking for special treatment will have to put his case to the Pay Board within the next 10 days. I know that many applications for such treatment have already been put to the board. Can such special treatment be considered to apply to regions, or will it be applied only to industries?

I take the construction industry as one example. On 11th June in my part of the country there were 382 men unemployed in that industry and 349 unfilled vacancies. As always, the latter figure does not measure the total unsatisfied demand for labour. In my area it is much more difficult than it has ever been not to find work, and we are extremely grateful for that. The obvious result is that local firms are faced with either having to pay more, which is against the Government's policy, or losing their labour.

The fairest answer—until the end of stage 2 anyway—is to operate the Government's policy stringently, because it has within it a certain rough justice which is still attracting the sort of popular support without which it could not work. But with the possibility of relaxation in the future we should bear in mind the position of areas like the North of Scotland where labour is becoming more valuable than it has ever been. I am not seeking for that area the kind of runaway grab and exploitation of the opportunity which has done so much harm to the country as a whole, but it means that parity with the central belt has become a possibility. I hope that we can secure that that will at least be an objective in whatever relaxations there may be in the future development of the policy.

The Opposition motion looks a bit dog-eared to me. We have heard it before, as we have heard a great deal of the debate before. I hope that the House will support the amendment and allow my right hon. and hon. Friends to get on with doing a very good job.

7.19 p.m.

Mr. Ronald King Murray (Edinburgh, Leith)

The hon. Member for Edinburgh, North (Earl of Dalkeith), whom we were glad to see take part in the debate, did not seem to think that he would receive much agreement with what he said, but I support his eloquent plea for the upgrading of Edinburgh and Leith to full development area status. If he had not made it so eloquently, I should have felt it necessary to spend longer on the subject.

But the hon. Gentleman did less than justice to my right hon. Friend the Member for Kilmarnock (Mr. Ross), who recognised Leith's special need and upgraded it to intermediate area status when he was in office.

The hon. Gentleman quoted from a document produced by the new director of the South-East of Scotland Development Authority. It is worth noting that the author puts forward the view that it is still essential for Edinburgh and Leith to press for full development area status, notwithstanding the various changes in circumstances that have taken place since the last submissions to the Government were made.

That brings me to my second comment. One of the most important changes is that at the end of June there was an announcement from Brussels about the provisional arrangements for allocating the status of peripheral and central areas to the regions within the United Kingdom. When I heard that announcement, my first impression was that the Government had sold Edinburgh and Leith down the river. It seemed to me that it must mean that they had failed in any attempt to get Brussels to take a view which would be flexible enough to permit of the realities of the Edinburgh and Leith situation being recognised.

Submissions made repeatedly over the years by delegations to the Board of Trade on behalf of Edinburgh and Leith, sometimes on behalf of Leith alone, have always met the reply from the Government that the situation was flexible. Can the Government reassure me that that flexibility has not been destroyed by the interim arrangement reached at Brussels? In other words, if the overall situation of Edinburgh and Leith, and of Leith in particular, becomes so disparate in comparison with the rest of the country that the Government think it should be upgraded to full development area status, can they assure me that Brussels will not stand in their way, that the matter can be reopened in Brussels and that there is sufficient flexibility in the machinery to enable that to be done?

I should also like to be reassured that the long-term arrangements, to be finalised before the end of 1974, will be sufficiently flexible to take problems such as those of Edinburgh and Leith fully into account.

I have one further comment to make before I leave this topic. Time and again the submissions on behalf of Leith and Edinburgh have focused on the anomaly that a nation, the Scottish nation, is a complete development area apart from a single oasis or island which is excluded. The same argument could be advanced on behalf of Wales, which is in much the same position. Its capital city is an intermediate area, and the capital city of Scotland is an intermediate area.

When we consider what has been achieved in Brussels, it is a matter for some regret that we find that the two capital cities in Ireland, Belfast and Dublin, are not to be central areas but are to be included in complete units, one for Northern Ireland and the other for the Republic of Ireland. In other words. the need to have for a small nation a planning unit which does not exclude its capital and make a central area has apparently been approved by the Commission for Northern Ireland and the Republic, but the Commission has not seen fit to do the same for Scotland and Wales. That is deplorable. Unless we can have an explanation, it will appear that Scotland and Wales are being discriminated against by the arrangement.

When the Secretary of State opened the debate he trod a well-worn and predictable path. Looking at the amendment in relation to the motion, we could see that that was what the Government were likely to do. Their amendment draws attention to the fact that unemployment in Scotland has decreased. I want to make it perfectly clear that I welcome that; it is extremely satisfactory that the unemployment figures have gone down. But we must relate that fact to the wording of the motion, which rightly condemns the Government for their neglect of the economy of Scotland in their three years of office. That neglect is not confined to the present but has extended throughout their period of office.

We go on to regret—this is the important part of the motion- their continuing failure to take positive steps to realise Scotland's potential". It is no good Ministers doing what the Secretary of State sought to do. It is no use trying to conceal the failure to take positive steps to produce new dynamics to realise Scotland's potential in the fact that there has been a reduction in the unemployment figures. That reduction, as the amendment makes absolutely clear, is related to an upturn in the national economy as a whole.

The point of the motion is to show that the Government have taken no constructive steps to increase the positive potential of Scotland's economy. That is the neglect of which they stand condemned today. The fact that the economy as a whole has shown an upturn is excellent, but it cannot be said that success is achieved by incurring a massive overdraft and reducing it by a substantial amount. To do so is far from balancing the books, and such a balance is what I want to see. I want to see positive action taken to realise Scotland's potential.

How are we to achieve an improvement in Scotland's situation? How are we to enable Scotland to realise its potential? There are two ideas which have been floating around regarding the Scottish economy. There is on the one hand Hunterston, a massive steel complex with connected industrial development. The second idea which has been mentioned in passing is Oceanspan—namely, a linking of the two sides of Scotland so as to make use of the present port potential and to integrate it into a comprehensive transport plan.

Mr. Ross

That is Lord Polwarth's idea.

Mr. Murray

Yes. I do not know whether he will advance that idea at the Scottish Office. I hope he will. It seems that the only two germinal ideas which seem to have been suggested recently on which the development of Scotland might be hung are Hunterston and Oceanspan. We have heard nothing about any other ideas. Nothing positive has been done. No definite step has been taken to produce the kind of implantation of initiative, growth and enterprise which is essential if Scotland's economy is to be permanently improved.

What is in the air? The talking points at the moment are not Hunterston and Oceanspan. They are not even Scottish oil or the development of oil exploitation and exploration based upon Scotland. The talking points are Maplin, Concorde, the Channel Tunnel and the European Economic Community. They are four of the most expensive ventures Britain has ever contemplated. Any one of those ventures will require massive injections of capital into the South East of Great Britain. That is not the injection of capital and the implantation of centres of enterprise and initiative which we need to make a boost in the Scottish economy permanent and not transient.

I condemn the Government in that they have failed to recognise and act with regard to Scotland's potentialities. They have been chided, persuaded and cajoled about oil exploitation. They have indicated that they are open-minded and that free enterprise can get on with the job. They say that there is nothing to stop Scottish firms from taking the picking, if they can get any, from the exploitation of oil. But no positive initiative has been taken.

If ever there was an opportunity to create a new centre of initiative and a new Government body at the scene of the action, the opportunity was there with the development of Scottish oil. Instead of having a centre in London and a small office with a telephone and an office boy in Scotland, the headquarters for the exploitation of oil should have been in Scotland.

There is still time for that to be done. Forget the Hardman Report; write it off and throw it into the bucket. Let us have the oil development centralised and coordinated in Scotland and nowhere else. I am not saying that there should be a massive bureaucratic board. I am saying that the Government should take the common sense view and say "Growth is needed in Scotland. That is where the permanent centre should be from which growth can evolve."

I am deeply disappointed with the Government's failure to take such action. An illustration came today when some seamen at Leith complained that they could not get jobs on any of the foreign vessels coming into port. Some of the vessels are coming in fully crewed with American, Dutch and German crews. It is true that they are on contract for so many months and it can be said that there is no reason why Scottish seamen should be employed on those ships. Equally, there is no reason why they should not be. Unless the Government are prepared to take powers to ensure that British industry and British ports get a fair deal, the exploitation will bypass us, and the Americans, the Dutch and the Germans will rush in. That will mean that the oil will be for them and not for us.

7.31 p.m.

Sir John Gilmour (Fife, East)

The hon. and learned Member for Edinburgh, Leith (Mr. Ronald King Murray) showed rather too much interest in where the location of offices might be for the oil industry and too little attention to the job opportunities which can be provided for supplying what is needed in Scotland to export the oil.

We will not advance the Scottish cause by arguing too much whether an office should be in London, Glasgow, Edinburgh or Aberdeen. It is more important that we should ensure that the Government provide structuring and planning apparatus to make certain that we can carry out the jobs which the oil industry requires in Scotland.

What needs to be done—I have heard this matter mentioned by some hon. Members, particularly by the right hon. Member for Orkney and Shetland (Mr. Grimond)—is to speed up and to alter the planning procedures to meet the special requirements of the oil industry. It was because planning procedures were thought to be inadequate that the Shetland County Council thought that it needed to promote a Bill. I have been serving on the Committee considering the Bill.

It is not appreciated by some hon. Members that the Shetland County Council Bill was promoted as a provisional order in the autumn of last year, at a time when it was seeking compulsory purchase orders for land in Shetland on which no survey or investigation had been made.

Those who petitioned against the county council were not only those who had taken options on land and who had sought to develop, to make money and to profit out of the investment which they sought to make subject to the granting of planning permission. Some of the people who were petitioning against the Bill lived on the land on which compulsory purchase orders were to be sought and which were to continue for 10 years. The county council was forced into putting forward the provisional order under the mistaken idea that, unless it had such powers, it would not be possible for it to control development where the oil came ashore in Shetland.

Since the provisional order was promoted in the autumn of last year, a plan has been put forward by the consultant to the county council which will be finalised toward the end of the year. That will enable the county council to put forward to the Secretary of State a development plan for the areas concerned in Shetland. The fear which might have existed in the past—namely, that if the county council refused planning permission for a certain area the Secretary of State might overturn its decision and allow the application—will prove to be ill-founded.

I hope that consideration of the evidence in Committee shows that the Shetland County Council will have more than enough with which to occupy itself in setting up the two harbour areas to which the Bill gives approval, with all the extra work and the provision of extra facilities that will be needed in Shetland as a whole for the oil coming ashore.

It is interesting that the oil company which made finds off the Shetland coast—the Shell Oil Company—was supported by the county council in promoting the Bill. I could not help thinking that there was possibly something to be said for the point that, if the land was compulsorily purchased from the Shetlanders by the county council, Shell would be able to acquire an interest in the facilities and provisions at a cheaper price than if negotiations took place elsewhere.

Mr. Dick Douglas (Clackmannan and East Stirlingshire)

That is unwarranted. On the basis of the evidence given in Committee by Shell, it was clear that Shell took the view that it would be more profitable to the public concern than to the private concern. It was that which won out in the Committee's deliberations.

Sir J. Gilmour

I still do not think that it would be possible for the Shetland County Council to provide the capital necessary for the provision of oil storage tanks and installations when the oil comes ashore. When a local authority becomes engaged in commercial undertakings, it is less likely to be able to protect the community as a whole than if it is holding a watching brief as planning authority. I think that the evidence before the Committee showed that the fears which the county council had were unfounded, and I hope and think that it will be able to take a considerable part in the development.

It has been recognised by everyone that the economy of Shetland is very finely balanced and that, if one increases the number of oil-related jobs, one has to ask where the manpower is to come from unless it is imported from outside, because it does not exist in the Shetland Islands. This is one of the facts which the Shetland County Council has to overcome in promoting other industries in the county and I am sure that it will be able to do it.

I read today that exports from Scotland are having to be shipped from Greenock to the Atlantic coast of America, then put on the railway for the Pacific coast, and sent on to Japan and then to Australia. If our Scottish exports are to be treated in this way, presumably because of lack of investment in the container ships which can ply from this country to the other side of the world, it would be a disaster if we poured large sums of money into the construction of a Channel Tunnel which would do nothing to help our worldwide trade, in which we in Scotland are particularly interested. I hope that in the Cabinet my right hon. Friend will do all he can to see that the Channel Tunnel takes a much lower priority.

My right hon. Friend also mentioned improvement in the output of steel in Scotland. I have constituents writing to me who do not find the situation as lie describes it. One constituent received a letter, dated 2nd May this year, from the General Steels Division of the British Steel Corporation in Glasgow, saying: We are not as yet accepting orders for the last quarter of the year, and even when our order book is open it is not our policy under present circumstances, when we are unable to satisfy the demand from our traditional customers, to accept orders from companies who do not have an established pattern of purchasing from the corporation. Because of the influx of new orders for steel in Scotland, what is to happen to people who have not in the past dealt with the BSC and who are told that, because they have not dome so, they will not get any steel? How can a firm develop and do business in the oil industry if that is the policy of the corporation? I hope and think that the steps which the Government are taking will increase the future prosperity of Scotland.

I think that there is a need to overhaul the planning procedures and to ensure that we do not arrive at the sort of situation we have with the Shetland County Council Bill, which should not have arisen in the first place. I hope that this will be given high priority.

7.40 p.m.

Mr. James Bennett (Glasgow, Bridgeton)

I understand that there is a call for brevity in speeches, and I shall endeavour to fulfil my part in order that other hon. Members may be able to take part in the debate.

Like my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Edinburgh, Leith (Mr. Ronald King Murray), I welcome the drop in unemployment. Similarly, I rejoice in the prosperity in the north-east of Scotland. But I bitterly resent the neglect in Glasgow and the Greater Glasgow area. As my right hon. Friend the Member for Kilmarnock (Mr. Ross) said, we have lived so long with such high unemployment that when it falls below 100,000 one would almost imagine that the millenium had arrived.

When I listened to the Secretary of State and the satisfaction he expressed that Scotland was sharing in the economic revival taking place in the United Kingdom, it almost seemed to me—I hope I am wrong—that he was expressing satisfaction that he was containing Scottish unemployment at double the United Kingdom average. In mid-June the figure of Scottish unemployment was 93,000—almost double the national average. When we use in this context the term "double the national average", it is the rule and not the exception because we have become so used to it.

But in Glasgow the figure is much worse. The percentage of male unemployment there is 8.7 per cent. Worse still—my hon. Friend the Member for Coat-bridge and Airdrie (Mr. Dempsey) touched on this—within the figure of 93,000 unemployed, 47,000 are in the Glasgow and Greater Glasgow area. Thus, almost half the total of Scottish unemployed is within the central belt. All of us welcome the industrial revival taking place in some parts of the country but we begin to wonder whether such a revival will take place in the areas we are concerned about.

The tragedy is not seen merely by quoting total figures. When one breaks down the figures, as my hon. Friend the Member for Hamilton (Mr. Alexander Wilson) did in an intervention, one sees the real tragedy behind them. I was told by the Department of Employment recently that 17.8 Per cent. of male unemployed in the Glasgow travel-to-work area had been unemployed for a period of from 20 to 52 weeks, while 28 per cent. had been unemployed for over 12 months, So we are not simply concerned with the problem of temporary unemployment, because when a man is out of work for over 12 months it has a semi-permanent ring about it.

What has happened to these men who have been out of work for so long? Have they given up all hope? Or can they have a hope, through the Government, for the future? Or is it to be the mixture as before—closures, and more closures, pious promises but still more redundancies? The latest of these closures is the projected closure of the BSC foundry at Tollcross, in the East End of Glasgow, where 92 jobs will be lost, and the other 280 will be absorbed in Craigneuk in Lanarkshire. The men will now have to travel there to work.

No doubt there are jobs in the pipeline, but even the pipeline is there by courtesy of the steel makers of Japan. The Glasgow Herald told us on Wednesday last week that Japan has won a North Sea pipeline order to the value of many millions of pounds because the BSC does not have a sufficient supply of high quality plate—and this at a time when we can talk complacently about closures in our own steel industry.

We live constantly under the shadow of unemployment, when skilled men are forced to seek employment elsewhere. What happens if the economic revival that has taken place in the North-East finally finds its way to central Scotland? Shall we ever find the necessary skilled personnel to create and maintain the boom? How many men are undergoing training and for what are they being trained? Is there a real danger that because of the shortage of skilled labour in these areas industries will bypass them? Are we caught up in a vicious circle in which skilled men leave areas because of high unemployment? Will this make industrialists have second thoughts and go elsewhere? Must we always be pleading for recognition of our special problems?

I begin to wonder whether it is time that we as a Scottish nation looked after our own affairs. I never thought that I would come to that conclusion but when I listen to the complacency of Government spokesmen about the problems that are critical in the extreme in the central belt of Scotland I begin to wonder. We are sick of being the poor relations. We are tired of sacrificing our livelihoods in the sacred name of efficiency.

Conservative Members have mentioned the social consequences of certain decisions on projects at Hunterston. I would like the Government to pay some attention to the social consequences of rationalisation in the name of greater efficiency and higher production. It rationalisation means stripping a man of his dignity, taking away his independence and making him unemployed, it is far too high a price, and should be neither asked for nor paid.

The Government should take their plaudits for the fact that they have succeeded in reducing unemployment from 150,000 to 93,000 but they ought not to rest on their laurels because there is a long way to go before the Scottish people will begin to consider that they are being governed as they ought to be governed. A situation in which 48,000 people in a concentrated area are looking for work will not be tolerated much longer.

The Government should extend industrial revival and provide hope where at the moment there is only despair. That should not be beyond the wit of the Government. After all, they have been promising it since 1970. Let them keep that promise in 1973.

7.47 p.m.

Mr. Edward Taylor (Glasgow, Cathcart)

As a fellow Glasgow Member, I agree with much of what the hon. Member for Glasgow, Bridgeton (Mr. James Bennett) has said. It has been helpful to have a debate on Scotland's economic problems. Having said that, however, I cannot bring myself to agree in any way with the motion, which, from the tenor of speeches such as that by the hon. Member, is out of place because there is no doubt that unemployment in Scotland is going down. Major industries are buoyant.

If we want any other guide, I am conscious of the fact that the right hon. Member for Kilmarnock (Mr. Ross) used constantly to refer us to industrial inquiries as evidence of how well we were doing. In a Written Answer today to my hon. Friend the Member for Perth and East Perthshire (Mr. MacArthur) it was stated that during the five years from 1968 to 1972 there had been no year in which there were more than 250 industrial inquiries in Scotland. In the six months January to June 1973 the figure was 371. That is 100 more than in any of the five previous years. There is little doubt that things are going reasonably well in Scotland. Where they are not they are certainly improving.

What must be generally agreed is that what is still wrong will not be put right by the proposals of the Labour Party. Although individuals have put forward proposals, the only general policy which has been outlined as the answer to Scotland's economic problems is the extension of nationalisation. I do not want to enter into an ideological conflict but it was interesting that in the speech by my hon. Friend the Member for Fife, East (Sir J. Gilmour) and in that of the hon. Member for Bridgeton we heard appalling stories, first, about the difficulty experienced by engineering firms in Scotland in getting steel—certainly they will not be getting it for at least six months—and secondly, about the fact that the British Steel Corporation is unable to provide pipes fat North Sea oil work or for major industrial complexes.

If this had been the case with private industry there is no doubt that everyone on the Labour Front Bench would be demanding nationalisation of the industry so that it could respond more effectively to industry's needs. The steel industry has shown itself to be totally incapable of responding to the demand for steel products. Something is wrong. It appears from all that has been said that the steel industry will for the most part continue to be nationalised. I hope that the Secretary of State will realise that there is an emergency situation in Scotland now and that something must be done.

It is disgraceful that, when we have a carefully planned expansion of industry and we have the Chancellor telling us how happy he is that after two years everything is going the way he planned, the steel industry is unable to cope with this increase in growth and national production. We have achieved the growth rate we set ourselves but the steel industry is unable to cope. There must be a major sorting out of the industry in England and in Scotland.

I am not suggesting that if we changed from nationalisation to private enterprise matters would improve overnight. The fact is that we have this major expansion but the steel industry has not coped, and something must be done to make sure that that does not happen again.

Mr. James Hamilton (Bothwell)

The hon. Member must be fair to the steel workers. At present Scottish steel production is at an all-time high. Would he not agree that the pipeline issue is something which concerns us all? If the Government can interfere with the pricing of steel they can surely make some approach to the British Steel Corporation about the supply of these pipes which are so essential to industry.

Mr. Taylor

I agree absolutely. I am asking the Government to do something about it. We have no complaint about the activities and the production of Scottish steelworkers, or steelworkers in the United Kingdom. What is dreadfully wrong is the investment programme we have had in past years. If we are, as a deliberate policy, planning an expansion of industrial output, it is crazy to do so unless at the same time we have a corresponding expansion in our production provision for the steel industry.

One of the most telling things about unemployment in Scotland is that the problem has changed a great deal. Whereas by and large we used to have a general problem of unemployment it has now become more of a regional problem. In some areas of Scotland the pent-up demand for labour is such that it is difficult to obtain sufficient people. In other areas, such as Glasgow, we have a sickening amount of long-term unemployment. What can be done about this? There are certain things which must be done at once. First, bearing in mind that we shall have a major expansion in the East and that we have a sickening longterm unemployment problem in the West, we must make labour more mobile and also give greater incentives to industry to go to areas of hardship.

It is unfortunate that with the new investment incentives there is a difference in grant of only 2 per cent. between a development district and a special development district. One receives a grant of 20 per cent. and the other a grant of 22 per cent. Some of the areas which are receiving development area grants have over-full employment and some SDAs have sickening unemployment. I do not say that we should simply increase the grants in special development areas, but there must be a widening of the differential between so-called development districts which are extremely, prosperous and SDAs.

Secondly, we must have greater mobility of labour. One reason why labour is not mobile is housing. It is difficult for a person living in a rented home in the West of Scotland to contemplate buying a house on the East Coast when house prices are so high. It is essential, if we are to have greater mobility, that we should fully develop the possibility of the exchange of council houses between the areas. We are told that there is an office in Paisley which handles these matters, but the number of transfers agreed between authorities appears to be very small. There is a sound case for the sale of council houses to sitting tenants to expand the scope for owner-occupation. That would greatly assist the mobility of labour between different parts of Scotland.

There are two other important things which should be done for the West of Scotland. The first is to try to harmonise and rationalise the number of job-seeking agencies in Scotland, particularly in the West. The number of agencies is disturbing—some directly sponsored by the Government, some partly financed by the Government, some financed by local authorities and some financed by foundations. They are springing up to such an alarming degree that I wonder whether we are trying to solve the unemployment problem in the West of Scotland by having everyone employed by job-seeking agencies. There is a need to harmonise and rationalise their activities. They all seem to be spending a great deal of money sometimes inviting the same people to look at the same problems. I am sure that the agencies would do their job more effectively if they were fewer in number and if the amount of money which they spent and the way in which they spent it were more strictly controlled.

We could do more for the West of Scotland if we had an assurance that there would be more opportunities for it to participate in the oil boom. Apart from the expansion of firms like Weirs of Cathcart, the only practical step which has been taken has been the Marathon exercise in building oil rigs. How successful has this project been, and does my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State see scope for expansion in the building of oil rigs on Clydeside?

Lastly, it is absolutely crucial that we should have a major development in Hunterston. My hon. Friends representing Aberdeen constituencies will know much more than I about this matter, but one has the feeling when visiting Aberdeen that what has caused the dynamic improvement in morale and the increase in employment and in general prosperity has been the prospect of better times. People feel that things will be better. It is only the introduction of a major project of the sort offered by Hunterston which can increase morale in the West of Scotland, which is very much needed.

Hunterston greatly depends on what happens in the European Coal and Steel Community. Suppose that a private steel company, whether home-financed or foreign-financed, contemplates building a major steel works in the Hunterston peninsula. Will it be necessary to obtain the permission of the ECSC for such a development? It has been made clear that the British Government do not need to give permission for a private steel development, but the British Steel Corporation is involved.

On the question of the Common Market, on which much of our future depends, I wonder whether my right hon. Friend can deal with something which has perplexed many people in Scotland. There was a determination by the Common Market on 1st July of the areas of the new member countries which would be peripheral or central. It was astonishing that in the case of every country with the exception of Britain areas were named as either central or peripheral. In the case of Britain the Common Market declared what areas were central but said that the other areas would not be designated because the Common Market's regional policy was to be reviewed in about 18 months' time.

I cannot see why our non-central areas could not have been designated as peripheral in exactly the same way as those of other new member countries. There must be some reason for this. I have questioned the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry about the matter, but I have been unable to get an answer. What is the reason for Britain being singled out in this way? Is it because the Common Market objected to our designations? Is it because we shall be treated differently when the review takes place? It is astonishing that every square inch of Eire, including Cork, Dublin and some of the industrial areas, has been designated by the Commission as peripheral and yet no area of Britain has been designated as such.

Is it possible for Britain to upgrade areas without consulting or obtaining the permission of the EEC? Members representing not only Edinburgh but other areas of Scotland are entitled to know the answer. It has been made clear that the grants given in SDAs and development districts are about 18 per cent. at the maximum. Even though some development districts fall within the 20 per cent. limit, must we obtain the permission of the Common Market before there is an upgrading?

There were many other things which I wished to say, but as I have spoken for 10 minutes, which is too long, I wish to put two final questions to my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State. First, have we any indication about the flow of investment from the EEC? The only information we have had was given in a Written Answer to a Question asked by the right hon. Member for Stepney (Mr. Shore) on 4th July which stated that in the last year for which figures were available the amount of outward investment from Britain to the EEC was about £450 million and the inward investment from the EEC to Britain was between £40 million and £190 million. In effect, we were becoming net exporters of capital.

Many firms in Scotland are grasping certain opportunities in the Common Market. Instead of considering expanding their activities in Scotland, they are establishing manufacturing capacity in the EEC. I could give my right hon. Friend three specific examples of this from the Glasgow area.

What is happening in the reverse direction? A committee was set up under the splendid Lord Taylor of Gryfe, who has been flying substantial numbers of Germans to Scotland so that they might look round the three lochs and see the great advantages which Scotland has to offer. However, as far as I am aware, only one specific project has been mentioned, involving fewer than 100 jobs, although there has been a great deal of activity and much newspaper publicity about what might be happening. My right hon. Friend must know that the fear which I and many who share my opinions have about the Common Market was that there would inevitably be a concentration of investment and decision-making in the golden triangle within the Market, the pull to the centre would be greater and the weapons we had to fight against that would become less effective. We are beginning to see that happening. We are seeing the movement of manufacturing capacity to Europe, and not a movement in the reverse direction.

My fear for the long-term future is that, while there may be a glorious future for agriculture, tourism, whisky and Harris tweed, if Scotland is to have a confident, solid future we must have more effective weapons to fight against the pull to centralisation and a greater control over our own destinies to make sure that this becomes a reality.

I am sorry if I have spoken for too long, but I have said only half of what I wanted to say. I have probably given my right hon. Friend far too many questions to answer but I hope that he will be able to answer some of them.

8.5 p.m.

Dr. J. Dickson Mabon (Greenock)

When I was listening to the speech of the hon. Member for Glasgow. Cathcart (Mr. Edward Taylor) I was reminded of the story of two gentlemen, one of whom said to the other, "How is your wife?" to which the other asked "Compared with what?" The hon. Gentleman said that the amendment should be supported on the ground that the economy was improving—improving compared with what? Fortunately, his speech did not fall into the trap of absolute complacency. I agree it is unfair to criticise even our complacent Secretary of State for Scotland without seeking to offer constructive suggestions. The complacency of negation can overwhelm critics of any Government at any time and we must not fall into that trap. The Secretary of State deserves some constructive suggestions despite his complacent speech.

I agree with the hon. Member for Cathcart about the necessity for widening the differentials between special and ordinary development areas. We argued this in Committee on the Industry Bill but the Government voted us down. I cannot remember whether the hon. Gentleman was a member of the Committee, but we were unable to reverse that decision and had very little support from his side. I ask the Government to accept the hon. Gentleman's suggestion of differentiating between special development areas. This is pertinent to West-Central Scotland.

I do not think that the selling of council houses would help labour mobility one whit. It would do precisely the reverse. What would be welcomed on the housing front is the building of more houses. Improvement grants were never a substitute for building more houses. In the one year that the Conservatives can genuinely claim as theirs, 1972, there was a dramatic fall in the number of houses built from an all-time peak of 45.000 to 32,000. That is a shameless collapse of a good record that should have been maintained always above 40,000 and perhaps even reaching over 50,000.

I do not accept the popular thesis that job agencies are the only growth industry we have in Scotland and that it should be inhibited. In the amendment the fall in the unemployment figures were given—corn pared with what? The figures we are told are improving. Let us face it—the last three years have been bad years for the Scottish economy.

The Government have been in office during that time and today the unemployment figure is slightly more than it was three years ago. What happened in the interval? The Government congratulate themselves in the amendment because in the last 15 months they have brought down the monstrous unemployment figure of 150,000 to its present level, but what happened in the first 21 months? The Secretary of State is enormously complacent. Would we give him another mandate for three years based on that record? He would promise us that in July 1976 we would have the same unemployment figure as we have today, with heavier unemployment in the intervening months. That is extraordinary logic. I am sorry that the Under-Secretary of State has left. He will no doubt master that he is on this to seek to convolute this argument to justify the terms of the amendment.

The Secretary of State boasted that he was resignable. He said that in certain circumstances he would have resigned. That is a chink of light at last—the Secretary of State he declares is not one who will cling to office for all time. He said that if he had been my right hon. Friend the Member for Kilmarnock (Mr. Ross) in the Cabinet when it introduced selective employment tax, he would have resigned. Will he resign if REP is phased out? Not a word did we hear about REP, which is worth £37 million to labour-intensive industries in Scotland, not least ship-building.

We are entitled to some encouragement from the Secretary of State—the kind of encouragement that the hon. Member for Cathcart mentioned concerning REP. Over what period is REP to be phased out, and what are the steps? Are we to be told when it will finally disappear from the economic scene? That is terribly important, and we are entitled to be told by the Under-Secretary of State on behalf of the Government what is to happen to REP.

Mr. James Hamilton

The question of REP has consistently been put forward, particularly by my hon. Friend the Member for Lanarkshire, North (Mr. John Smith). Now that my hon. Friend the Member for Greenock (Dr. Dickson Mabon) has put this question to the Secretary of State, I ask through you, Mr. Deputy Speaker, that the Secretary of State should reply to it.

Dr. Mabon

I am obliged for my hon. Friend's help. I am sorry that he has not been called upon to speak. I am sure he would have made a better speech than the one I am making.

If the amendment were carried I would tell the 3,000 people in Greenock who are unemployed today that they were very lucky because 15 months ago 2,000 more of them were unemployed. They should be pleased that there are now 2,000 fewer, even though another 3,000 were unemployed three years ago. That is what it means in local terms.

I thank the Secretary of State for the assistance he has given to two firms I particularly represent who are in sugar refining. I am asking the Government for the maintenance in Scotland of the present sugar-refining facilities, not to get more jobs but to keep the jobs we have. Many hon. Members must feel that they are running hard to stand still. This, alas. supports the case which my hon. Friend the Member for Paisley (Mr. John Robertson) put forward. It was a sad case, rather doleful but nevertheless not entirely untrue.

Mr. James Sillars (South Ayrshire)

Is it not unfair to blame the Government for the unemployment in Greenock? The Conservatives did not make any promises to the people of Greenock in 1970. They did not put forward a candidate.

Dr. Mabon

That is true. The Argylls were saved and there was not a Tory candidate. But let me not be parochial.

There are shortages of labour and problems in the North-East, so we are told by the hon. and gallant Member for Aberdeenshire, West (Lt.-Col. Colin Mitchell), but in West-Central Scotland we are bleeding to death. According to the plan being prepared for the Government on West-Central Scotland, about 200,000 jobs will disappear in the present decade. We will have to run very hard from now on to stand still.

When the Secretary of State makes speeches about oil, complacent as he was today, we in the West of Scotland just groan, because we see very little of this great advance in Scottish prosperity and in the potential it represents to the Scottish economy. The hon. Member for Bute and North Ayrshire (Sir F. Maclean) and—more subtly—the hon. Member for Glasgow, Hillhead (Mr. Galbraith) put forward arguments why Hunterston should not be developed. We have heard these arguments for years. The Secretary of State claims that he discovered Hunterston. He is the great discoverer, the Marco Polo of Scotland. He told us years ago he would stake his political reputation on it. I hope he will not listen to the angry voices of the middle class in North Ayrshire and Hillhead.

We have to have development on a massive scale at Hunterston. The Secretary of State, who promised he would do something and who criticised us when he was in opposition for not going fast enough, after three years has done nothing. Even the ore port for which he granted permission after the result of the inquiry that we set up before we left office is not built. The Clyde Port Authority has recently announced that to finance the port it is prepared to submit an application for money to the European Development Fund.

This is the state we have reached. Instead of the British Government being able to help this enterprise, those concerned are going to the European Development Fund cap in hand. But it has not been formed. Our colleague, George Thomson, is fighting hard to get the fund a respectable sum of money, about £500 million over three years. That is a respectable amount even in one year. [Interruption.] My hon. Friend should not look gift horses in the mouth. They will not bite him and sometimes they are worth it. This is something which should be considered. After all, one of the arguments against the size of the fund comes from the French, who say that, on one-tenth of the money that Great Britain spends, they get the same results in regional development.

Mr. John Robertson rose

Dr. Mabon

Mr. Speaker is willing to allow me to go on, but I promised to be very brief. [An HON. MEMBER: "It is time you sat down"] I am entitled to have my say, like anyone else, unless we have suddenly suspended democracy on this subject.

The French argue that, on one-tenth of the money we spend, they get the same result. They point to the 10 regional or non-Paris centres of growth in France. The reason why the French can do it is that they have a political will. They decided as a Government to take action to direct to those areas— "direct" is the right word—firms and establishments, not just nationally-owned or even with national participation, but privately-owned as well. The Government say "If you do not do it, we will make you regret it bitterly." It is a combination of "le chantage" and "le bargaining". Of the few speeches I have made at party conferences I made one in 1963 about my belief that direction of industry was a good thing. From the platform some of my seniors told me that it would mean inevitably direction of labour. But would it? Is not the Hardman Report direction of industry? It is direction of labour for those who feel that they have to go with the industry. We are sending them not to prison camps but to a nicer part of the country than they live in now. At least they have the option of refusing. But this is direction of industry and the development of new jobs.

We should learn from the practice of other Governments in facing up to regional problems what new techniques we can use. For example, with the burgeoning oil industry and in many other ways, we can, when in government, and without all the paraphernalia of IDCs and the carrots of investment grants, make industry go to those centres that we think should be developed more sensibly.

Mr. Lawson

Is my hon. Friend saying that this could be done without nationalising those firms?

Dr. Mabon

Yes. Like the French, I would accept that complete nationalisation is not always the answer, but one can have State participation; and this, after all, comes from a Government who are by no means doctrinaire Socialist.

The Secretary of State today made the most complacent speech I have ever heard him make. He has made some good ones, but today's was the worst. It was such a complacent speech that I am frightened that he thinks he has solved all his problems.

Mr. Gordon Campbell

The hon. Member must have been deaf or not listening when I said that I should never be satisfied with the results.

Dr. Mabon

That must have been a sotto voce postscript somewhere along the line. The overall message was "Everything in the garden is lovely. Trust me and I will go out and discover more oil. There is no need to worry". If the right hon. Gentleman's political career came to an end tonight, he would have achieved nothing at Hunterston which he set out to do. He would leave behind an ill-organised and confused oil development in Scotland, high unemployment—a little higher than he found—and emigration figures that are rising to the high tide they always reach after a bout of high unemployment. If the Scottish people at any time had any confidence in the right hon. Gentleman, it has almost all drained away.

3.20 p.m.

Mr. Ian MacArthur (Perth and East Perthshire)

I apologise for missing the opening words of the hon. Member for Greenock (Dr. Dickson Mabon), but, soon after, he said that the last three years had been very bad for the Scottish economy. I listened to him in wonderment. I asked myself where on earth the hon. Gentleman spent his time. I spend my time in Scotland, and I am sure that he does, but he suffers from an endemic disease of the Labour Party. This is that hon. Members opposite have become so inward-looking in their advocacy that they have completely lost sight of the reality of economic life in Scotland.

The hon. Member said that he did not see much oil development in Greenock. Along the Clyde he may. I would suggest to him, however, that the whole of the West of Scotland may see much more oil development in future than we can begin to imagine today. This is one of the problems that overshadow our discussions about oil. Understandably, we talk about the massive oil strikes in the North Sea and sometimes overlook the potential around the North of Scotland and down its West Coast as well as down the West Coast of Wales and England. There are very likely massive finds still to come.

To those who say that we should mulct the oil companies because of their success I would point out that exploration in these waters is perhaps the most expensive in the world and we have to be very careful that we do not divert the exploration elsewhere. I say this particularly at a time when there is good reason for believing that massive strikes are yet to be made in waters not yet explored.

The motion is contemptible and irrelevant. The right hon. Member for Kilmarnock (Mr. Ross)—I am sorry that he is not here—did justice to it. His speech was dull and uninspiring and, as usual, presented Scotland as Scotland is not. Scotland is not the dull, depressed place that he suggested. Scotland today is bounding with confidence.

There was only one point in the right hon. Gentleman's speech with which I had sympathy—his rejection of the Scotish findings in the Hardman Report. We can understand that this was a report—a very interesting report—of one individual. It is not Government policy, and I hope that it never becomes Government policy. I cannot believe that it will be the policy of this Government because it was this Conservative Government who gave the lead in the deployment of Government jobs outside London.

I remember the part that my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State played in the Scottish Office when the decision was made to move the Post Office Savings Bank from London to Glasgow. That was the largest deployment of Civil Service jobs from London to Scotland that there has ever been. Scots rightly find it difficult to accept that if 32,000 jobs are to be deployed out of London only 1,200 should find their way into Scotland. I do not think this objection is simply a matter of trying to secure a fair share for Scotland. It was based on the deeper principle that Scotland is part of the United Kingdom and has every right to believe that it will be regarded as a suitable and right place for major central Government Departments. I cannot believe that the Ministry of Defence must be situated within a few miles of Greater London, particularly when one bears in mind the way in which communications in terms of people, conversations, thinking and consultations have improved out of all recognition in the last decade.

Great international firms have sited their headquarters in Scotland. Indeed, in my own constituency I have the headquarters of the General Accident Fire and Life Assurance Corporation, which is a vast, worldwide organisation. If that company had thought otherwise in the past it would have sited its headquarters in High Holborn. but it operates most efficiently in Perth and obviously suffers no communications problems. If this is true of a great commercial company such as that, it must also be true of Government Departments. I cannot accept the curious theory that all major Government Departments have to be within a stone's throw of the centre of Whitehall. Such a view ignores the whole improvement that has taken place in communications over the last few years. It ignores completely the fact that Scotland is as much a part of the United Kingdom as is England, and that Scotland expects to have a larger share of the major decision-making centres of Government.

The right hon. Member for Kilmarnock in his opening speech spread gloom, as he always does. He was supported by a sort of Greek chorus of nodding heads around him, with one notable exception. I noticed one right hon. Gentleman opposite, a member of the Shadow Cabinet, who, soon after the debate opened, fell sound asleep during the right hon. Member for Kilmarnock's speech. He slept soundly throughout it. I observed him sleeping, no doubt dreaming dreams of nationalisation. I thought of that particular right hon. Gentleman's other preoccupation in life, which is to persuade people that we should not be in the European Economic Community. I looked at the benches behind him and observed one Labour Member who has set up a sort of watchdog committee by means of which Scottish Labour Members are in some curious way to act as watchdogs over Scotland's interests in the Common Market. I suggest to those hon. Members that if they are concerned about Scotland's interest in the Common Market it might be better for them to go as British representatives to the European Parliament and get in there and bark.

It is one of the great tragedies of the last year that the Labour Party has, for extraordinary but understandable reasons because of the divisions in its own ranks, boycotted Europe and refused to take part in the British representation in the European Parliament where the voice of Scotland needs to be strongly heard. I deeply regret that those of my hon. Friends who are members of the European Parliament are not accompanied by Labour representatives who could help them in the work which they are doing for Scotland.

During the debate on this irrelevant motion we have heard many irrelevant speeches condemning the Government on the high rate of unemployment in Scotland. I at once agree that it is a high rate, but unemployment has fallen sharply. A year ago unemployment was running at 126,000, whereas today the figure is 92,000. That is a most dramatic fall—a fall which the Opposition should surely be welcoming with more enthusiasm than they have shown today. Vacancies in Scotland for men are the highest since records started 19 years ago. Inquiries from industry for industrial sites in Scotland are the highest for many years, as my hon. Friend the Member for Glasgow, Cathcart (Mr. Edward Taylor) said earlier. My information on this topic was given to me in a Written Answer today.

An interesting article in this morning's Scotsman—significantly in the European section—showed what a vast increase there has been in the demand from industralists in Britain and Europe for industrial sites in Scotland. This is a new movement from which we shall benefit. We are now part of Europe. We are no longer simply Scotland as part of the United Kingdom but Scotland as part of Europe, and we shall benefit from European investment in Scotland. Yet Labour Members seem to throw that consideration aside.

Investment in industry in Scotland is undoubtedly increasing. We have also a spirit of bounding confidence in industry, to which Labour Members have not done justice in this debate. If they go round Scotland today and look at the development which is taking place in all parts of the country they will learn from the industrialists, the employers of labour, about the massive investment plans which are now in train. If they talk to the employees in Scottish firms they will hear about the good news in regard to new jobs which are being provided. The motion is outdated, irrelevant and contemptible, and the House should throw it out.

8.35 p.m.

Mr. William Small (Glasgow, Scotstoun)

I have listened with interest to most of the debate, particularly to the hon. Member for Perth and East Perthshire (Mr. MacArthur). He rather loosely represented the situation, because most of the Government benches have been vacant, so that the Tory Party has been represented by marginal men.

It is also interesting to recall the old Chinese text, sometimes said in the form of a curse, that it is a damnation to live in interesting times. What is interesting about the Tory Party is not what is taking place here, but what is taking place outside—the battle for support between the right hon. Member for Wolverhampton South-West (Mr. Powell) and the Prime Minister.

The right hon. Member for Wolverhampton, South-West is a great Greek scholar. He recalls the time of Aristotle. He has introduced the idea of catharsis, of purge by dramatic effect, whereas what is required by the Tories is symbiosis.

The Prime Minister has spent a heavy weekend with the Chancellor of the Exchequer reading Karl Marx. The Prime Minister is a gentleman, who uses phrases such as the unacceptable face of capitalism, but the phrase should be "the parasitic face of capitalism". During his weekend of study, the Prime Minister got advice from the Chancellor of the Exchequer on the meaning of the "snake in the tunnel". No one has ever told me whether it is a female snake or a male snake. The story about it comes from the time of Adam and Eve. Wise men of the East discover the sex by putting down two snakes: the snake which moves first is the male.

The Prime Minister is also a great musician. He plays the organ every weekend. I hope that in his discussions with the TUC and the CBI the tune will be "Lead Kindly Light".

I wish to draw attention to the Booz-Allen Report. There have been a number of reports, starting in 1967 with the Pearson Report, and now in 1973 we have the Booz-Allen Report. We have had the Hill Samuel Report, the Rochdale Report and others. The Booz-Allen Report comes at a time when other reports have revealed that Scotland has only 4 per cent. of the world's shipbuilding output while Japan's share is now standing at 46 per cent. and rising.

I do not know whether I am a Scotsman, a Britisher, or a European, for on 1st January this country entered into new contractual arrangements. The Booz-Allen Report also comes at a time when there is a competition director in Europe, which is a new phenomenon for the House of Commons. I do not know how many regulations have been introduced since we went into Europe, but the terms "director" and "regulation" are coming increasingly into the terminology of the House of Commons. I find them regularly repeated in the Order Paper. The competition director is a new idea which will mean that fair competition will have to be carefully defined.

The Booz-Allen report suggests that there will be three warship builders in Britain. I plead the case for the Yarrow yards in my constituency. That is what the debate seems to have been about. In the Observer at the wekend there was an article by Richard West entitled: Scramble for oil starts new Highland Clearances. This is like the Benedictine monks coming from America and offering to share a bowl of gruel with a poor crofter.

The main feature of the day is land prices. That is what people are interested in. I am finding more and more that the important factor is the increase in land prices.

Mr. MacArthur

Go to Dundee.

Mr. Small

I can match the example of Dundee a million times over if necessary.

Mr. MacArthur

Go to Dundee.

Mr. Small

I can speak up for myself and for my own constituency. What is more, I never indulge in personalities or sneers. I can say without fear of contradiction that I am one Scotsman who represents Scotsmen and who is an honest broker.

I want now to touch upon the present land prices situation. In my view the Secretary of State should give more attention to road building and to the social cost of finding out how it is that, when public corporations go in for the building of hospitals, schools and houses, they have to compete at a going rate which is set by those who have private interests, and they have to come to terms with both crofters and land owners.

I give one illustration which I take from Fortune magazine. The headline is: One man's 44.1 million dollar windfall and another man's 10 million dollar demolition. It quotes a case which is repeated all over the Highlands of Scotland. From beneath a tombstone a hand comes from the grave and the hereditary system passes land down through family after family. The result is that tremendous prices are paid in this generation for land which first came into families more than 300 years ago.

A great fortune in land has been made by Viscount Wimborne, now 32 years of age, who inherited 600 acres of land at Poole, on the South Coast, from his father in 1967. The tract was then worth the equivalent of 480,000 dollars. In 1969, two years later, he got official planning permission for residential development. Early this year he sold the tract of land to the Tory-controlled Poole council. He sold it for 63.7 million dollars, paying 19.6 million dollars in capital gains tax and keeping 44.1 million dollars for his happy windfall.

If that can happen in the South-East, the upsurge in land values in the North will be frightening. I want to see the introduction of measures to protect the public from this kind of profiteering. For that reason alone the Opposition motion has my wholehearted support.

8.40 p.m.

Mr. W. H. K. Baker (Banff)

I must first apologise for not being here for the greater part of this debate. I had to attend an urgent conference in my constituency this morning.

I find it difficult to reconcile the terms of the Opposition motion with conditions which exist today in the North of Scotland generally and in my own constituency in particular. Two years ago the rate of unemployment in the county of Banff was 6.8 per cent. I am glad to say that that was the high peak of unemployment in July 1969. In July 1967 it had been 5.4 per cent. Today it stands at just under 4 per cent. I am quite certain that any one young enough and physically capable of work is able to get a job today. The unemployment situation is such that those who are unemployed are very unlikely to obtain a job anywhere.

Mr. Lawson

Is the hon. Gentleman arguing that there is some special merit in this Government as a result of the discovery of oil in the North Sea and all that has flowed from it?

Mr. Baker

Not in the least. I am merely painting the picture in my constituency as I see it, and much the same can be said of other constituencies. I am saying that the relevance of the motion in my own part of the world simply is not there.

There is no labour to spare in the constituency of Banff. There are plenty of vacancies, especially for skilled labour. I receive constant inquiries from employers among my constituents asking how they can obtain skilled labour. Most of the inquiries, it is true, come from the service industries. Be that as it may, I am told by my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary of State for Employment that his Department's system for notifying vacancies is pretty good. That may be so, but there is no evidence of a vast number of vacancies in my constituency. There is a considerable shortage of plumbers, for example. I hope that my right hon. Friend will be able to bring pressure to bear on his right hon. Friend to straighten out this matter. If there is this high rate of unemployment in Scotland to which the Opposition have alluded, there must be plumbers available in other areas.

Naturally, the Banff-Moray, ham-in the-sandwich, area is keen to get industry of varying types suitable for that part of the country. On the one hand, we have Aberdeen and the oil developments there and, on the other hand, Inverness and Ross and Cromarty. However, such is the present shortage of labour that incoming industrialists will almost certainly have to bring in their own labour particularly skilled labour.

I was delighted to be asked to open an advance factory in Banff during the Easter Recess. What is called a troubleshooting light engineering company has been set up to serve both the East and the West. Its labour force is likely in the near future to be built up to 40 men. It will have to bring in only two skilled men. If the labour can be found to be trained, the other 38 members of the work force will be recruited locally. One answer to the problem is retraining. I am glad to learn that places for skills are being well filled, not least from my area. But that is not enough. We need more forward planning for industrial growth—for instance, the zoning of support industries keyed to oil development.

The Banff-Moray area is strategically placed between what is going on further to the west and, indeed, to the east. with good communications either way. I should like to impress upon my right hon. Friend that the railway line from Inverness to Aberdeen is absolutely essential to the economy of the area and, indeed, even more essential for any developments which may take place in future. Therefore, it must be kept open.

A Scottish Development Department document of 1972, "Size and Distribution of Scotland's Population", in paragraphs 36 and 37 refers to the demographical position in the north-east and contains the rather surprising statement, Aberdeen and district is projected to increase by some 5,000 or 2 per cent. by 1981", and that declines are liable to take place in Aberdeenshire, Kincardine, Moray and Banff of 2 per cent. Will my hon. Friend bring those figures up to date when he winds up tonight? I understand that, rather than a 2 per cent. increase in the Aberdeen area by 1981, we have already had considerably more. Perhaps we might have a further projection for those areas for the future. Unless we have this kind of information it will be extremely difficult for any industrialist coming in to know where the labour force will come from.

I suggest that in future industrial development due regard should be taken for such ham-in-the-sandwich areas to which I have already referred, which applies equally to other parts of Scotland. I was interested in what the hon. Member for Greenock (Dr. Dickson Mabon) said. We can learn from other countries. I do not want to see the direction of anything, but I want there to be sufficient planning for it to be possible to utilise the full potential of the whole United Kingdom, not least Scotland.

8.50 p.m.

Mr. Donald Stewart (Western Isles)

Despite the criticisms uttered by hon. Members opposite, for me the debate has been one of the most hopeful since I came to the House, because I believe that more Members than ever have got the message that Scotland's problems will never be corrected here regardless of the political colour or philosophy of the Government of the day. The minority is small yet, but it is greater than has appeared before.

The hon. Member for Paisley (Mr. John Robertson) paid a tribute to the right hon. Member for Kilmarnock (Mr. Ross). I recall many things which the right hon. Gentleman said and did while he was Secretary of State for Scotland. I disagreed with much of it and I do not go back on my criticism now. However, I am in general agreement with the hon. Member for Paisley that the right hon. Gentleman tried harder and worked harder for Scotland than any of his predecessors for many years and his successors. The fact that we still have this debate proves that fundamentally there can be no worthwhile change for Scotland in this place and while Scotland remains part of the United Kingdom. That is the lesson that Scottish Members must learn.

The Secretary of State made great play with the unemployment figures. They are welcome. Statistics are all very well. We had the unusual statistic today—the claim that 93,000 is the same as 91,000. It is not so pleasant for the 2,000 unemployed— the difference between the two figures.

The unemployment figure in Scotland is 4.3 per cent. If that percentage were projected throughout the whole of the United Kingdom it would result in the bogy figure of 1 million unemployed which is regarded as critical in United Kingdom terms. Yet a slight improvement in Scotland is hailed as exceptional and looked upon with a great degree of satisfaction.

Regional policies for Scotland have failed under Labour and Tory Governments. According to the Abstract of Regional Statistics, the average Scottish household weekly income is £5.50 lower than the average for the South-East of England. Food prices are 5 per cent. higher in Scotland and more than 25 per cent. higher in my constituency. The State concerns running gas and coal charge up to 50 per cent. more for gas in certain parts of Scotland and £1 per ton more for coal.

If it is desired to solve the Scottish unemployment problem, half a million jobs must be created in the next seven years. No regional policy from Westminster or Brussels will achieve this. Oil can provide the key to solving and rectifying the economic imbalance which exists and has always existed between Scotland and England and which now exists between Scotland and similar nations in north-west Europe.

The estimate made by the Scottish Nationalist Party of the income from oil of £800 million, which was described from both sides of the House on many occasions as an exaggeration, is confirmed by the Public Accounts Committee, whose estimates indicate just such a total given the modest assumption of 3 million barrels daily production and a transfer price of £15 per ton by 1980. The oil revenue, if it is maintained in Scottish hands, will enable us to have prosperity and to pick and choose the types of employment we need.

An article by Professor Peter Odell in the Petroleum Times suggests that Scotland might be the dumping ground of oil refineries, and that that would serve two functions satisfying local political pressure for a greater share, and getting round the objections of the environmental lobby. There is still a need in Scotland to see that that development runs concurrently with the protection of the environment.

Finally, I deal with the point of EEC regional policy. I join the hon. Member for Greenock (Dr. Dickson Mabon) who mentioned Mr. George Thomson and his attempts to try to secure some money for regional policies, but it is a farcical situation that a nation like Scotland today, with tremendous wealth, should be waiting to see what kind of handout Mr. George Thomson will squeeze out of Brussels. If we had taken the right decisions and the right steps we would not now be faced with that kind of problem at all. We have our own resources, and the people of Scotland see that only when Scotland has separate status can Scotland's economic rights be safeguarded. There is a growing demand among the people of Scotland for equal and direct representation in Brussels and the full national status which that implies. This cuts right across the political spectrum, ranging from progressive businessmen to university principles and to the trade union part of the Labour Party.

We have heard a great deal today about the boom said to be impending in Scotland. That sort of talk has been going on for year after year, Government after Government, generation after generation—jobs in the pipeline, a better Scotland tomorrow, a breakthrough for Scotland, a boom in the offing, and so on. But it never comes off. We shall never get this golden end of the rainbow till we run our own affairs in Scotland.

I shall vote for the Opposition's motion tonight because I think it is well founded. No doubt, if the Labour Party were in power and the Conservatives had a similar motion I would be voting with the Conservatives—[Laughter.]—yes, because this situation has gone on so long: we have been here before, as the right hon. Member for Kilmarnock said. We shall be here again unless we vote the right way, unless we vote with our feet and go back to Scotland and there make the decisions that will bring a happy and prosperous future for our people.

8.58 p.m.

Mr. John Smith (Lanarkshire, North)

I do not propose to follow the ramifications of the hon. Member for Western Isles (Mr. Donald Stewart). I hope he will forgive me when I say we could have predicted his general arguments because he starts with a set of political terms and wanders through an economic debate looking for evidence to justify them.

It may be that the hon. Member is correct in some of his criticisms of the present situation. One is not over-heartened by his sense of objectivity when he tells us that whichever Government were in power he would vote for the Opposition party. It is easy to be always on the Opposition side; the difficulty is facing the problems which Government gives all political parties.

I was disappointed that the Secretary of State did not choose to make a more frank analysis of the problems facing Scotland. I do not expect Governments to come to this place and to be over-frank; I expect the Government to put forward the problems and put the best face on them. There are serious problems which demand analysis and consideration, and today the Secretary of State did not give them any consideration at all. His was a fairly amateurish effort.

The situation now in Scotland is such that we have to look a lot more carefully at the problem than the Secretary of State did, because what we are debating is essentially the continuing economic problem of Scotland. Those of us who come from the West Central area put more of an edge on that because the problem is basically concentrated there. It is there that we have the most serious manifestations of the Scottish economic problem.

I can well understand the feelings of some of my hon. Friends, although I disagree with them, that prompt their gospel of despair when they say that we have tried one solution under one Government and have tried it under another Government and that now we must find some other way of dealing with the problem. I accept the sincerity of the motivation behind that argument, but I disagree profoundly with their conclusion. I have seen no evidence yet that suddenly to declare a nation State of Scotland would resolve any of the underlying economic problems with which we are faced. It should he remembered that, within the United Kingdom context, although one can quote a Scottish wage against a south-east of England wage, one can also quote a north of England wage against a south-east wage.

However, be that as it may, there is great concern in Scotland, which prompts the thoughts to which I have referred, about the continuing lack of growth in the Scottish economy. There is a feeling that we are never likely to get over the hump. We might bring down the unemployment figures, but that would be for only a short time and we should run into difficulty again. There is little feeling of real confidence in our economic future, especially of the west of Scotland.

In my view, my hon. Friend the Member for Paisley (Mr. John Robertson) goes a little too far when he says that regional development policies under both Governments have failed. Although he put it generously in personal terms in relation to those who were administering them, I directly challenge his argument about the Labour Government's policies in this respect.

Mr. John Robertson

I need do no more than refer my hon. Friend to the report of the Select Committee which looked at the Scottish economy. He will find all the facts there. Incidentally, my hon. Friend should remember that in the latter part of what I said I was dealing with Scotland's position in the EEC context.

Mr. Smith

I shall not get involved in an argument about the Select Committee on Scottish Affairs. Suffice it to say that I do not accept it as the source of the gospel, at least on this matter. What we are entitled to do now is to look searchingly at the various regional development policies which have been followed. I do not say that we should stick to all the policies of the past, but I am convinced that we must maintain a good deal of them. The trouble is that they are not being enforced hard enough. We need a system of industrial development certificates, we need a capital grants system and we need a system of labour incentives. We need all these things, and it is, I suggest, foolish and a counsel of despair to reject them, throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

We ought to consider whether it is possible to extend regional development policy beyond what has been done so far. First, however, before considering possible extensions of the area in which regional development policies could operate, let us change course with the regional employment premium. Here is something at the Government's hand. Sometimes we expect a little too much from Governments in the way of overnight changes in the economy. But the regional employment premium is directly at their hand. It was the present Government who put the future of the REP in jeopardy.

I remind the House that Scotland receives £40 million a year from the regional employment premium. If it goes, where will Scotland make up that £40 million? What is more, the benefits of the premium go throughout the whole of manufacturing industry. I suspect that we should have had many more redundancies in various parts of the country if it had not been for the difference which the regional employment premium makes in a company's accounts at the end of the year. I am sure that all hon. Members have visited companies in their constituencies and been told about it. I am receiving a growing volume of complaints from industrialists in my area about the prospect of the REP being phased out.

There is no need for the regional employment premium to go. If the Government feel that they must save face by phasing it out, let them introduce some other form of labour incentive to take its place. It cannot be right that so much of our regional development incentives should be capital-intensive only. There should be some form of regional employment premium, a special inducement to bring the large employer of labour into areas where such employment is needed. There must be special assistance of that sort, which the regional employment premium has given hitherto.

There is no longer any objection to a premium of this kind from the European Commission. This has been made clear by the Government themselves. There is no obstacle from that direction. The obstacle lies in the foolishness of the Tory Party, which committed itself to doing away with the REP at the last election. But a point of doctrine should not worry the Government too much at this stage in their life.

The regional employment premium has fallen in value since 1967. It is now worth only half what it was worth then.

What is more, it is one thing upon which the CBI and the TUC are absolutely agreed. Indeed, the CBI wrote to the Government and said "Why not keep it going for another four years? We fear what will happen in employment terms if it is withdrawn."Moreover, witnesses from the Department of Employment told the Select Committee that between 20,000 and 50,000 extra jobs would be lost if the REP went.

In the face of that overwhelming evidence and the unity between employers and employees in industry, the only people causing difficulty are the Government themselves. I urge that, in the name of Scotland and of the development areas, the Government should revise their views on REP. If they are to phase it out, I hope they will do so gradually and replace it with some other form of labour incentive.

The other action that the Government should take is in seeking to attract industry into our areas by means of some new initiative. I do not imagine that what I am about to say will commend itself to the Government, because they will have doctrinal objections to it, but I hope that it will be a feature of the policy to be followed by the incoming Labour Government. I believe that a State holding company should be set up to bring industry directly into these areas. There has been a lack of initiative so far. The only course of action open at present, apart from grants and IDC policies, is to build advance factories in the hope that someone will fill them. We have all had the experience of seeing such factories lie empty waiting for someone to come along.

Why cannot the State run the enterprise which occupies the factory? The Conservatives will say that this is the terrible sign of nationalisation, but once it was introduced they would find it most difficult to abolish. They could not face the consequences of doing so because, if the people saw publicly-owned industry providing employment, the Conservatives would not try to stop it happening. We need such a company which could run its own enterprises heavily oriented towards the region instead of the present system where the people hope for private foreign or British industrialists to rescue them from their plight. Instead, the State should intervene. Only those with doctrinaire objection to public ownership would shrink from this proposal. The Labour Party does not.

Of course, any question about a reexamination of the way in which the Government carry out their regional development policy must now be directed to the Department of Trade and Industry within which regional policy is now subsumed. I see the Department as a monster Department which should never have been created in the first place. The range of subjects for which the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry is responsible is formidable. It covers consumer protection, regional development, power, steel and many other things gathered in from other Departments. I do not know why Governments have this obsession with creating monster Departments. This one has been a great disaster.

The same monster is responsible for industrial development as for regional development and he is always getting his roles confused. The people who carry out regional development policy in the Government are the junior Ministers. We should have instead a Secretary of State for regional development policy, a separate arm of government. If there are fights, let them be fought not within the Department of Trade and Industry but within the Cabinet, where the Secretaries of State for Scotland and Wales and other people with regional responsibilities could pitch in behind the Secretary of State for regional development.

The Government must re-examine their whole approach to these matters. I would abolish the Department of Trade and Industry tomorrow and set up sensibly-sized Departments. Unless we develop our thinking on this, I fear that we shall not get to the root of the economic problems of the country. Of course, they are not only economic problems but political and social problems as well.

It is wrong for this country to be divided into areas of prosperity and of decline. There will never be a happy political solution to our problems unless this fundamental problem is rooted out. The most important risk facing anyone from a regional development area in this House is to fight for regional development policies which will work and which will improve the circumstances and employment opportunities of his constituents.

It is, above all, because the Government have failed in this regard and have wrecked the policies of the Government which preceded them, even though they have now come round to policies which are better than those with which they began, that we should press our motion this evening.

Several Hon. Members rose—

Mr. Deputy Speaker (Miss Harvie Anderson)

Mr. Millan—

Mr. William Baxter (West Stirlingshire)

On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. Is it necessary for an hon Member to send a letter to Mr. Speaker to inform him that he would like to participate in the debate before he is likely to be called? Secondly, I asked one of your colleagues in the Chair about the possibility of taking part in the debate and he informed me that participation would be based on area representation. As no Stirlingshire Member has been called, do you not think that statement was rather misleading?

Mr. Deputy Speaker

That is not a point of order.

Mr. Ewing

Further to that point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. I realise that the selection of speakers is in the hands of the Chair, and I understand the difficult job of the occupant of the Chair. But could you guide me for future reference on how it is possible for a debate on the Scottish economy to take place without a speaker from the central region being called?

Mr. Deputy Speaker

Order. I have already made my position clear.

9.10 p.m.

Mr. Bruce Milan (Glasgow, Craigton)

My hon. Friend the Member for Lanarkshire, North (Mr. John Smith) has just made an exceedingly constructive speech. I am only sorry that for most of it there was not one Scottish Conservative back bencher in the Chamber to hear him. One or two have now come in, but I want to put on record that the attendance on the Government back benches today has been deplorable.

We had from the Secretary of State at the start of the debate a speech which my right hon. and hon. Friends generally have described as complacent and completely barren of any imagination or of ideas for dealing with the still very serious economic problems in Scotland. While it is true that we should not be unduly pessimistic about the Scottish situation, it is equally wrong to have an unfounded optimism based on a reduction in unemployment over the past few months, which looks satisfactory only because the unemployment rate had previously reached such an appallingly high level.

There are still extremely serious economic and unemployment problems in Scotland. The figures are still higher than they were in June 1970, and there is still a very acute problem in West-Central Scotland in particular. That is against an economic background of a recurrence of concern about the balance of payments and an extremely shaky world monetary situation, which is already affecting the pound very badly. We may very well soon be faced with retrenchment of the United Kingdom economy, and if that happens it will have disastrous effects on the Scottish economy.

It is obvious from what has happened, even over just the few months since we have been members of the Common Market, that we have little to look for in the Common Market in terms of regional policy or anything else to improve Scotland's economic position. That is a point made by a number of hon. Members today.

I want to take up the main points about the EEC in relation to regional policy. First, we do not yet know what the regional policy of the Common Market will be. Secondly, our own development areas in Scotland have been put in suspense until at least the end of 1974. We do not yet know whether they will be treated as peripheral areas and, therefore, open to all the range of assistance that is likely to be made available, or whether they will be treated as central areas and therefore open to only a rather more limited form of assistance.

Most important of all, even at the most optimistic estimate, and even if Mr. George Thomson gets all he wants from the Community, which is extremely unlikely, it is still clear that EEC regional policy will not be a substitute for our own national policy for regional development. That is a point Mr. Thomson himself makes very clearly in the paper he has presented to the Council of Ministers.

Therefore, we must not believe that anything that comes out of the Common Market, even if it is at the most favourable level, can possibly be a substitute for a vigorous policy of regional development in the United Kingdom. Accordingly, it is to that kind of policy that we must principally direct our attention.

With the passing of the Industry Act the package of regional incentives was considerably improved, because the Act was largely a return to the package of the Labour Government which had been so disastrously dismantled in October 1970. There is still within the package an uncertainty which is now a major deficiency—namely, the future of the regional employment premium or a similar kind of labour subsidy. I am glad that my hon. Friend the Member for Lanarkshire, North and my hon. Friend the Member for Greenock (Dr. Dickson Mabon) have mentioned REP. It is an intolerable situation that virtually the whole of Scottish opinion, except for the Government, is in favour of the regional employment premium or a similar kind of labour subsidy.

There is considerable evidence that the REP has saved a large number of jobs in the development areas which would otherwise have been lost. There is now virtually unanimous opinion that the present package of regional incentives is far too biased towards capital-intensive industries and too little towards labour-intensive industries. At the same time we have continuing uncertainty about Government policy. Such uncertainty by itself is damaging. It is not a question of being damaging only in September 1974 when, as is now planned, the regional employment premium will be discontinued. Uncertainty is now present and this is intolerable. What we require most of all in terms of regional policy is a Government statement that some kind of labour subsidy will be introduced in 1974 in replacement of the regional employment premium—that is, of course, if the regional employment premium is not to continue as it is at present.

I shall devote the rest of my remarks to two main subjects. First I shall deal with the Hardman Report and then I shall say something about the oil industry relating to Scotland. I find it not surprising but extremely dismaying that the Secretary of State did not even mention the Hardman Report. I do not find that surprising, because the right hon. Gentleman has a peculiar idea of his role. He looks upon a report such as the Hardman Report which has not gone to him personally as something which does not really concern him and about which he does not have to talk in the context of this debate. Of course, that is a misguided conception of his role, because the House and the Scottish people generally look upon the right hon. Gentleman as being Scotland's voice in the Cabinet and as being always alert to the needs of Scotland, whether it be the dispersal of civil servants' jobs or anything else. Therefore, he should have had something to say about the Hardman Report.

The Hardman Report is the report of a distinguished ex-civil servant. Sir Henry is a man whom I happen to know personally and for whom I have a high regard as a civil servant. However, the Opposition have repeatedly made clear that what is required concerning Civil Service dispersal is not a report by a distinguished ex-civil servant but a political decision. The decisions on Hardman must be political decisions, and they are decisions which can be taken only by Ministers.

The report is extremely weak on regional policy considerations. Some parts of it hardly give evidence that Hardman seriously considered such considerations. Some of the dispersal proposals—for example, those relating to parts of the South-East such as the massive proposed dispersal to the new town of Milton Keynes—are not dispersal in the sense in which the Opposition accept the term.

When we consider the Scottish situation we must take account of regional considerations and the massive unemployment problem which still exists in Scotland. To recommend a dispersal of rather less than 1,200 jobs out of 31,000 to Scotland does not meet the case. In the report I felt that there were certain prejudices which presumably reflect Civil Service prejudice about the Scottish situation. I find offensive the reference to the irrelevance of Scot- land and Wales and the passages about Glasgow.

Another example is that Scottish Office experience was largely ignored. I find offensive the fact that the headquarters of the Savings Bank, which has otherwise been dispersed already to Scotland, was actually excluded from consideration by the Hardman Committee. Further, there is the grossly exaggerated nature of the degree of communication difficulties between London and Scotland. Those matters indicate that Hardman did not sufficiently take on board the real nature of the job which he was given and, in particular, did not sufficiently take account of Scottish interests.

This kind of arid report, of juggling with statistics and obscure, sometimes unintelligible, mathematical formulae, is not what we expected and not what we are willing to accept. I repeat that we expect political decisions on this matter. We expect the Secretary of State to stand up for Scotland and see that we get out of this exercise something massively more satisfactory than the Hardman Report. The next few months will be a major test of the Secretary of State, because the Government decisions which will eventually be announced about dispersal must represent a considerable shifting of the Hardman proposals, with very much more dispersal—and very much more to Scotland in particular. I hope that there will be no question of announcing the decisions before we debate the report.

Now I turn to the question of oil, which has dominated the debate as it must dominate any Scottish economic debate at present. The importance of oil to the Scottish economy is twofold. First it is very important in itself because of the direct stimulus to the economy of the accretion of additional jobs which its potential can give. Secondly it is very important to Scotland from the psychological point of view because Scotland has suffered over the years successive blows to its pride and self-confidence in economic affairs. A success story for Scotland is badly needed—one that we all recognise and which we can see the Government, industry and the trade unions working together to achieve and which will have a major and lasting effect upon the Scottish economy.

Some of the dissatisfaction with the present political situation—it affects this side of the House as well as the Conservative Party—arises from the disillusionment which is common in Scotland with what has happened to the Scottish economy since the end of the war. We badly need a success story, and we must have it with North Sea oil. Unfortunately the Government's record gives little confidence that we shall get a success story with oil.

I want to list some of the major aspects in which the Government have missed opportunities and have not brought forward policies or produced results which our people were entitled to expect. First, the Government were slow to recognise the significance of what was happening. They were still dealing with the situation with an attitude which might have been relevant and satisfactory when oil had not been discovered in major quantities but was not relevant when it had been discovered. Yet when oil had been discovered in major quantities the attitude of the Government did not change rapidly enough. We have plenty of evidence of that.

We have the scandalous situation of taxation. It required the Public Accounts Committee's revelation of what was happening there for the Government to take action. We had the disastrous allocation of licences on the fourth round at a time when, as both the PAC and we pointed out, the Government must have known, and had the information available to them, that it was possible to get very much more satisfactory terms in the public interest from the oil companies because of the changing exploration situation. Yet the Government, on the fourth round, gave away licences for sums which were derisory in relation to the potential benefits to the oil companies.

We do not know when the next round of licences is to take place, but I state again the policy of the Opposition. We do not believe that any more licences for exploration in the North Sea should be granted without a major public participation, because this is a national asset and it should not be handed over under any terms whatever to the international oil companies. There should be public participation in every licence handed out in future.

We have had nothing from the Government about their attitude towards refining. We do not know their policy, or what proportion of refining capacity they believe should be in Scotland. There is an absolute blank on that subject.

There is particular failure in supplying and servicing oil companies. Again, this is an area where criticisms were made violently by the Opposition. The Government refuted the allegations and eventually we found that our criticisms were vindicated by the publication of the IMEG report. Even after that report was published, the Government could not get it right. IMEG recommended an industrial supply board, but the Government established an agency in London with a small branch office in Scotland, and that as an integral part of the Department of Trade and Industry, not of the Scottish Office.

We then had the bizarre matter of Lord Polwarth with his so-called direct access to the Prime Minister. It turned out, as the Secretary of State admitted in the debate initiated by my hon. Friend the Member for Aberdeen, North (Mr. Robert Hughes) on 25th May, that he was to see the Prime Minister only when the Secretary of State was otherwise engaged in some other apparently more important work.

We had the peculiar business of the Oil Development Council. It is a worthy body full of worthy people—I know a number of them personally—but to suggest that this worthy body, representing every possible interest—I do not know how many members it has—has power is to mislead the people of Scotland. It looks like, and I am afraid that it is, one of the great heterogenous conglomerate advisory bodies which Governments are always happy to set up when they do not know what else to do.

We have the appalling muddle about planning. We do not know what will happen to the Shetland Bill or what the Government's intentions are. We had the peculiar intervention of the Secretary of State in the speech of the right hon. Member for Orkney and Shetland (Mr. Grimond) when at one point he seemed to be saying that the Government would introduce revised planning legislation and then said that they would not because they did not think they had enough parliamentary time.

Do the Government think that it needs revising? If they do, we should have a Bill right away. It is ludicrous to say that they believe something is required on the most important development that ever happened in Scotland, certainly in this century, and then to say that they cannot do anything about it because they have not the parliamentary time.

It is not the situation—it could not be the situation—that the oil outlook is wholly bleak. How could it be? There are jobs already because of oil and there are more jobs to come. It would have been an incredible feat of mismanagement to have had a burgeoning oil industry in Scotland without any jobs coming.

We welcome the jobs that are there and we welcome that in certain areas the Government seem to appreciate the issues more than they did a few months ago. I welcome, too, the document published in April, although it is incomplete and does not cover the whole Scottish coastline, identifying sites round the most of the coastline which would be suitable in the physical sense, but not in the environmental sense, for the production of oil platforms. This is a minor step on the road to having some kind of coherent approach to these difficult matters.

When we look at the situation as a whole and compare what is happening in Scotland with what is happening in Norway, there is one impressive feature. After taking account of all the differences in the regions, and I know what these are in terms of the size of the country, the amount of oil consumption and all the rest, the real distinction which impresses itself upon one is that the Norwegian Government are in control of the situation and the oil companies are working to a co-ordinated national plan laid down by the Norwegian Government.

In Scotland so far, unfortunately, the oil companies have been the dominant force in the situation and we still do not have, although our need is greater than that of the Norwegians, a coherent Government strategy for dealing with the oil situation. This is serious enough in the short term but in a way the short term takes care of itself. It is in the long term that this situation becomes worrying. It is the long-term issues that hold the greatest hope if we are to grip the situation as it ought to be gripped.

The oil under the North Sea will at some time or other—we do not know when—be exhausted. The exploration will at some time come to a halt, although it will go on in other parts around our coasts. What will continue in other parts of the world as well as around our coasts is the long-term technology needed for the exploitation of oil under the deep ocean waters. It is in such areas as this that we ought to be interesting our.

selves. it is not just a question of sending out supply boats with groceries to the men on the drilling rigs and so on. That will happen and we will get it in Scotland. It is the long-term technology that requires Government action if we are to get the proper benefits from North Sea oil.

So far the Government have been extremely negligent. We have had the IMEG recommendations about education and training which mention: the glaring deficiencies of British universities for undergraduate courses specifically in petroleum engineering and related subjects. It is this kind of training which will give us the expertise to get in on this worldwide business which will be open to us. Questions to the Secretary of State for Education and Science have so far drawn a complete blank. I mean that. I am not misrepresenting the answers we have had. The right hon. Lady is apparently perfectly happy with the present situation although it is vigorously criticised in the IMEG report.

There is also the question of having an independent and wholly-owned British offshore drilling capability. Again that is something required not just for North Sea exploitation but as part of our longterm policy to enable us to get into this world market. There have been leaks in The Times. There was a report last week that we are to get that. If we are I congratulate the Government, but so far we have heard nothing. There has been no sign of progress and it is vital that we get something like this established, with Government assistance because it cannot be done otherwise, if we are to get the long-term benefits we need.

Very pungent criticisms were made in the IMEG report on the whole question of research and development. I want to draw to the Government's attention what happens in France, a country that does not have anything like the interest in oil that we have in Scotland. It is a country with a Government which believe in a national, coherent policy. In France there is an Oil Institute financed to the extent of considerable sums of money—running into tens of millions—out of oil revenues. It is an independent agency and it exists to operate in the whole area of research and development and in the development of technologies outlined in the IMEG report. All that is done in co-operation with French industry.

Why cannot we have something imaginative such as an oil institute in Scotland doing this kind of research and development work? This is the kind of imaginative idea which looks to the future and to the gains which we can achieve from the oil industry. Nothing like it has emerged from the Government, nor is there any sign that it will emerge from the Government in the near future or at all.

Unless we can demonstrate to people in Scotland that this is not just a temporary improvement in our financial and economic situation which will affect only a small part of the country, the North-East and the Highlands in particular, and which will be lost in 10 or 20 years when the oil runs out and we are left with eyesores round the coast and little in the way of permanent employment—unless we can demonstrate that we have something better to offer than that—the disillusionment which is at the root of much of the Scottish economic malaise will continue.

It is because, unfortunately, we believe that imaginative Government proposals and policies required to deal with the situation, not only in the short term but particularly in the long term, are lacking and are likely to remain lacking that we have moved the motion.

9.36 p.m.

The Under-Secretary of State for Development, Scottish Office (Mr. George Younger)

For quite a long time, we have had each year debates in which we look at the Scottish economy as a whole. Many hon. Members will remember more of them than I can, but I think that most hon. Members will agree that this debate has taken place against a very different background from that of many of the previous debates.

First, it is not the case, or anything like the case, that with unemployment still at 92,000 the problem of unemployment can be said in any sense of the word to have been solved. However, hon. Members on both sides have said how much they welcome that unemployment has been tumbling down for well over a year. That is an optimistic point at which we can start.

Secondly, hon. Members on both sides have been right to point out that, even though there are still areas in Scotland where unemployment is at an unacceptably high level and no Government could rest on their laurels until they had managed to bring down the rate, the situation is much more even all over Scotland.

Thirdly, even supposing that we had solved, which we have not, the unemployment problem in Scotland as a whole, we should be under no illusion that it would be the end of the problem. A whole host of new problems have raised their heads to which we have had to address ourselves and to which no doubt we shall have to address ourselves on many occasions in future. Even when we solve our traditional problems, new problems arise—problems of growth, problems associated with success, problems of expansion, of congestion and, in some areas, of shortage of labour rather than unemployment.

My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State, in opening the debate, described the main economic indicators as they affect Scotland. It is no use anyone trying to pull the wool over people's eyes, but the economic indicators are very encouraging for Scotland; I put it no higher than that. There is no point in trying to pretend that they are not.

For years we in Scotland have looked for a Government in Britain that would give us a decent growth rate. For years hon. Members on both sides of the House have said that the way to solve the Scottish unemployment problem was to get a decent, maintained and continuous growth rate in Britain. As my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer said, our growth rate exceeds 5 per cent. at the moment and it has been sustained for a considerable period. The Government intend to keep going for growth, and that is vitally important for Scotland, both for the employed and for the unemployed. The public expenditure cuts make room for this growth without hindering Scotland's growth. My right hon. Friend was able to secure exceptions, including the infrastructure for the provision of oil. That is a new departure.

Unemployment has fallen by 56,000 from its peak figure and there has been a continuous fall since October 1972. Perhaps more important, the position relative to the United Kingdom rate has slightly improved, indicating that Scotland shares fully in the benefits of this growth to the United Kingdom as a whole. The weekly rate of redundancies has fallen by about one-third, comparing January to June 1970 with January to June 1973. The vacancies in June 1973 totalled 23,900, and the vacancies for males are the highest since records began in 1954.

What about investment? Investment in the first quarter of 1973 was 51 per cent. above the level of the previous quarter. The upward trend is confirmed both by the Department of Trade and Industry and the CBI surveys.

We have discussed this evening regional incentives under the new Industry Act. By June 1973 applications for the regional development grant in Scotland were 4,000, at a total value of £89.7 million. Of these 1,900 have already been cleared through the office, which is pretty good going in the time. There have been 143 applications for selective assistance, involving £43–7 million in loans and grants, and these should create or safeguard about 18,000 jobs. There have been 66 firm offers made. The right hon. Members for Orkney and Shetland (Mr. Grimond) and Kilmarnock (Mr. Ross) asked about Scotland's share of the selective assistance, and I will come to that in a moment. There is a record demand for advance factories at this time.

I have no time to go into any more figures, but it is perfectly clear to any objective observer that at this time, for whatever reasons—and for heaven's sake let us say it for once—we have some reason for optimism for Scotland in the figures before us.

Mr. John Robertson rose—

Mr. Younger

I am sorry; I cannot give way. I like to be courteous, but I must press on as I have such a short time.

I took down the words of the right hon. Member for Kilmarnock—that is a habit I acquired from him. He started his speech by saying "I want to try to make a coherent speech." He was right to attempt to do that, and I shall be delighted to do anything I can to help him. He asked what proportion of the regional selective assistance under the Industries Act was going to Scotland. As my right hon. Friend said, it is estimated that 3,700 jobs have been created or safeguarded by selective assistance already given in West Central Scotland. This compares with the Scottish total of 5,500 and the total for all the assisted areas of 22,000 to which the right hon. Gentleman referred. These figures do not represent all the jobs brought to the regions by Government assistance, because the regional development grants account for many thousand more which are not included in those figures. The figures show that Scotland is getting its full share of the new employment. In terms of population Scotland comprises 20 per cent. of the assisted areas in Great Britain and we are getting about 25 per cent. of the jobs created.

The right hon. Member for Orkney and Shetland mentioned the apparent paradox of simultaneous high unemployment figures and high figures of unfilled vacancies. What the right hon. Gentleman may not have appreciated is the underlying strength shown by these figures. Unemployment is falling, while the number of unfilled vacancies is rising, and both movements reflect an increase in the demand for labour in Scotland. Only by bringing about such a change in Scotland's labour requirements can the long-standing problems of Scottish unemployment be solved.

Hon. Members have rightly shown great interest in the important subject of REP. When it was originally introduced, REP was destined to last for seven years, and to end in September 1974. What we have said is that we will not end it abruptly in 1974 but will work out precise arrangements in discussions with the CBI and the TUC, as we promised, as to their advice on phasing it out. I am glad to add—[Interruption.] That may be their advice, but we are at least getting it. I am glad to say that the Scottish Trades Union Congress has been associated with these talks, and in the light of them the Government will consider the position. One of my right hon. Friends will make a statement when the consultations are complete.

The right hon. Member for Kilmarnock was not quite correct in his description of the public expenditure cuts. He emphasised, as did my right hon. Friend the Chancellor in his original announcement, that several elements of public expenditure would be excluded from the cuts, to Scotland's benefit. The cuts are designed to free resources to meet the increasing demand of investment and exports.

The cuts are selective and the net saving will be achieved without any reduction in the building programmes for hospitals, schools, colleges, universities, the social security programme, old people's homes, and other aspects of health and personal social services. In particular—these exclusions are of particular benefit to Scotland—there will be no changes in the rates of regional development grants, and no cut-back in the road programmes designed to facilitate North Sea oil development. This is a real measure of the importance that the Government have put on regional development in general and the interests of Scotland in particular.

Mr. Ross

I asked about the road programme elsewhere, not just that supporting North Sea oil development.

Mr. Younger

I can give some details about the other aspects of the road programme on another occasion, but I would be letting down hon. Members if I did not try to answer their questions.

My hon. Friends the Members for Glasgow, Hillhead (Mr. Galbraith) and Bute and North Ayrshire (Sir F. Maclean) mentioned the important matter of the conflict, particularly in major planning decisions—as in the case that they rightly raised, of Hunterston—between development and amenity. I should like to make it clear—it will be no surprise to any hon. Member—that one of the great new problems to which we shall have to address ourselves in future, with the expansion of the economy going as it is and with North Sea oil added on top, is the tremendous dilemma of how to achieve the provision of adequate means for taking advantage of this growth without ruining our surroundings and amenities in doing so.

I agree with my hon. Friend the Member for Hillhead in what he said about previous periods of rapid industrial growth and their legacy to us, which many hon. Members have been trying to deal with for many years. My right hon. Friend has made it clear in the memorandum that he circulated recently about planning at Hunterston—I should like to repeat that assurance—that it is his intention that any developments on that vital and important site must satisfy various criteria. He is embarking on discussions in this with the local authorities and others concerned at the moment. Any applicants must show that they require the deep-water access. It must confer major and lasting benefits to the Scottish economy and must be properly planned to make effective use of the site, including reclamation of the foreshore. Environmental damage must be minimised as far as possible, and new development must be compatible with existing nuclear power stations—which was the point raised by my hon. Friend the Member for Bute and North Ayrshire.

I make clear that my right hon. Friend has no intention of allowing this vital asset to be frittered away on nothing worth while. This is what my hon. Friends have been concerned about. It is a vital site and, if it is to be used, it must be used for something vitally important and something which is shown to be of great importance in strengthening the economy.

My hon. Friend the Member for Glasgow, Cathcart (Mr. Edward Taylor) asked whether we thought it would be necessary to obtain ECSC approval for private steel development at Hunterston if such a thing were to come forward. I assure him that, so far as I know, there are no grounds for believing that any such approval is necessary, and if such a project were to come forward it would receive consideration with others.

I should like to say a few words about the Zetland County Council Bill, to which the right hon. Member for Orkney and Shetland drew attention. There are a certain number of misunderstandings which have cropped up on this matter. Several people have urged the Government to say what we intend to do next. But what must be remembered is that this is not a Government Bill. It is a Private Bill.

Mr. Dalyell

The Minister said it was a Government matter.

Mr. Younger

I have HANSARD with me and I have got before me exactly what I said. I did not say, with respect to the hon. Member for West Lothian (Mr. Dalyell), what he took me as saying. The hon. Gentleman said that I had stated that the Shetland Bill was essential to Government policy. I did not say that at all, or anything like it. I have been through HANSARD to substantiate this. For instance on 30th April what I said was: We"— that is, the Government— accept with this background the need for the proposals for harbour authorities. We support this part of the Bill in principle. In the conditions in Shetland it is clearly in the public's interest that powers of that kind to secure co-ordinated development should be made available, and the county council is the appropriate body to have such powers. Later, when referring to some of the other provisions, I said: The provision will have to be carefully looked at in Committee and the Government will reserve their position meanwhile on the details of this aspect."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 30th April 1973; Vol. 855, cc. 892 and 893.] There are many other quotations in that debate.

Mr. Gavin Strang (Edinburgh, East)

The hon. Gentleman is being selective.

Mr. Younger

I do not think I am being selective. I am trying to be fair. I think I have made it crystal clear that the Government's position is that we approved of the Shetland County Council bringing forward the Bill and were prepared to look at the matter objectively. A lot of it we thought to be necessary, and we reserved our position on one or two other points. We are waiting to hear the views of the promoters, and we shall do what we can to facilitate the matter thereafter.

Mr. Dalyell

The Minister said he thought a lot of the Bill was necessary.

How is that "lot" to be dealt with in terms of Government strategy?

Mr. MacArthur

Do not wriggle.

Mr. Younger

I think I have made myself quite clear, as I did in the course of the earlier debate. That Bill is not a Government Bill but a Private Bill. The Government have done their best to be helpful to Shetland County Council, and indeed I have been personally thanked both by the ex-county convener and by the county clerk. I hope I have made it clear that we are now waiting for the promoters to assess their views following the decision of the Committee, and no doubt this matter will he looked at in due course.

This debate has ranged very much more widely than I have had time to go into tonight—indeed it has ranged over the whole Scottish economy. Therefore, if I have net time now to answer points orally, I shall hope to communicate with hon. Members after I have seen their various questions set out in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

This brings me back to the strange motion before us. I had expected the motion to give some clue to the Opposition's intentions about the trend of the Scottish economy, about what they think ought to be done. But it goes back to the old warhorse which they have ridden round this Chamber for years and years. The trouble with the motion is not that it is couched, as usual, in extreme terms, but that it demonstrates a complete lack of comprehension of the new situation of the Scottish economy, new whether or not hon. Gentlemen opposite like it.

It would be an insult to the intelligence of the House, let alone anyone outside, for me to go into a lengthy exposition as to why the high levels of unemployment mentioned in the motion cannot in any conceivable sense be said to have originated on 18th June 1970. The right hon. Gentleman quoted figures for July 1970 as if they were something that suddenly came out of the blue. He knows perfectly well that the rising trend of unemployment which he happily left when he tripped out of St. Andrew's House the morning after he left office was due to the savage deflation introduced by his right hon. Friends in 1967 and 1968. If that was not the case, it would go against every law of economics which any of us have seen in these stop-go situations in any period since the war.

The right hon. Gentleman has to face the fact that the unemployment figures have been going down for 15 months and that the unemployment position in Scotland is rapidly improving. From that point onwards the right hon. Gentleman has to realise that the motion talks about neglect of the Scottish economy and the potential of the Scottish economy. Is it neglect of the Scottish economy to introduce a bigger winter works programme than any previous Government; to introduce a new Industry Act which, by common consent, has a better range of incentives than any other country in Western Europe; to designate a completely new town in the middle of Scotland?

Is it neglect to initiate new grants for environmental improvement and increased improvement grants for housing to improve the infrastructure, as well as special money for infrastructure, for North Sea oil, the rebuilding of the A9 up to Inverness and Invergordon, improvement of the A94 up to Aberdeen, as well as improvement to ports and harbours? This afternoon my right hon. Friend announced improvements for a number of airports, including Inverness. All these

matters, whatever else they may be, have nothing to do with neglect.

I turn now to the potential. Whom do hon. Gentlemen opposite think they are to talk of the potential of the Scottish economy? What potential was there for the Scottish economy when the economy as a whole was growing by barely 2 per cent. and staggering from one crisis to another? The point about the present situation is that we now have a Government achieving a growth rate better than any we have seen since the war. It is from such a growth rate that the Scottish economy benefits substantially. In addition, there is North Sea oil, which could have occupied a whole day's debate without trouble.

The right hon. Gentleman cannot get out of the fact that the measures we have taken to put the Scottish economy on an upward trend, in addition to the North Sea oil developments, give the best prospects in Scotland since the war. Only the Labour Party and the Scottish Opposition cannot see it, and the people of Scotland can see through them.

Question put, That the amendment be made:—

The House divided: Ayes 291, Noes 269.

Division No. 202.] AYES [10.00 p.m.
Adley, Robert Buchanan-Smith, Allck(Angus,N&M) du Cann, Rt. Hn. Edward
Allason, Michael (Barkslon Ash) Bullus, Sir Eric Dykes, Hugh
Allason, James (Hemel Hempstead) Burden, F. A. Eden, Rt. Hn. Sir John
Amery, Rt. Hn. Julian Butler, Adam (Bosworth) Elliot, Capt. Walter (Carshalton)
Archer, Jeffrey (Louth) Campbell. Rt.Hn.G.(Moray & Nairn) Elliott, R. W. (N'c'tle-upon-Tyne, N.)
Astor, John Carlisle, Mark Eyre, Reginald
Atkins, Humphrey Carr, Rt. Hn. Robert Farr, John
Awdry, Daniel Channon, Paul Fell, Anthony
Baker, Kenneth (St. Marylebone) Chapman, Sydney Fenner, Mrs. Peggy
Baker, W. H. K. (Banff) Chichester-Clark, R. Finsberg, Geoffrey (Hampstead)
Balniel, Rt. fin. Lord Churchill, W. S. Fisher, Nigel (Surblton)
Batstord, Brian Clark, William (Surrey, E.) Fookes, Miss Janet
Beamish, Col. Sir Tufton Clarke, Kenneth (Rushcliffe) Fortescue, Tim
Bell, Ronald Cockeram, Eric Foster, Sir John
Bennett, Dr. Reginald (Gosport) Cooke, Robert Fowler, Norman
Benyon, W. Coombs, Derek Fox, Marcus
Berry, Hn. Anthony Cooper, A. E. Fraser, Rt.Hn.Hugh(St'fford & Stone)
Biffen, John Cordle, John Fry, Peter
Biggs-Davison, John Cormack, Patrick Galbraith, Hn. T. G. D.
Blaker, Peter Costain, A. P. Gardner, Edward
Boardman, Tom (Leicester, S.W.) Critchley, Julian Gibson-Watt, David
Body, Richard Crouch, David Gilmour, Sir John (Fife, E.)
Boscawen, Hn. Robert Crowder, F. P. Glyn, Dr. Alan
Bossom, Sir Clive Davies, Rt. Hn. John (Knutsford) Goodhart, Philip
Bowden, Andrew d'Avigdor-Goldsmid, Sir Henry Gorst, John
Braine, Sir Bernard d'Avigdor-Goldsmid, Maj.-Gen.Jack Gower, Raymond
Bray, Ronald Dean, Paul Grant, Anthony (Harrow, C.)
Brewis, John Deedes, Rt. Hn. W. F. Gray, Hamish
Brinton, Sir Tatton Digby, Simon Wingfield Green, Alan
Brocklebank-Fowler, Christopher Dixon, Piers Grieve, Percy
Brown, Sir Edward (Bath) Dodds-Parker, Sir Douglas Griffiths, Eldon (Bury St. Edmunds)
Pruce-Gardyne, J. Douglas-Home, Rt. Hn. Sir Alec Grylls, Michael
Bryan, Sir Paul Drayson, G. B. Gummer, J. Selwyn
Gurden, Harold McNair-Wilson, Michael Rodgers, Sir John (Sevenoaks)
Hall, Miss Joan (Keighley) McNair-Wilson, Patrick (New Forest) Rossi, Hugh (Hornsey)
Hall, John (Wycombe) Maddan, Martin Rost, Peter
Hall-Davis, A. G. F. Madel, David Russell, Sir Ronald
Hamilton, Michael (Salisbury) Maginnis, John E. St. John-Stevas, Norman
Hannam, John (Exeter) Marples, Rt. Hn. Ernest Sandys, Rt. Hn. D.
Harrison, Brian (Maldon) Marten, Neil Scott, Nicholas
Harrison, Col. Sir Harwood (Eye) Mather, Carol Scott-Hopkins, James
Haselhurst, Alan Maude, Angus Shaw, Michael (Sc'b'gh & Whitby)
Hastings, Stephen Maudling, Rt. Hn. Reginald Shersby, Michael
Havers, Sir Michael Mawby, Ray Simeons, Charles
Hawkins, Paul Meyer, Sir Anthony Sinclair, Sir George
Hay, John Mills, Peter (Torrington) Skeet, T. H. H.
Hayhoe, Barney Miscampbell, Norman Smith, Dudley (W'wick & L'mington)
Heseltine, Michael Mitchell, Lt.-Col.C.(Aberdeenshire, W) Soref, Harold
Hicks, Robert Mitchell, David (Basingstoke) Speed, Keith
Higgins, Terence L. Moate, Roger Spence, John
Hiley, Joseph Molyneaux, James Sproat, Iain
Hill, John E. B. (Norfolk, S.) Money, Ernle Stainton, Keith
Hill, S. James A. (South'pton, Test) Monks, Mrs. Connie Stanbrook, Ivor
Holland, Philip Monro, Hector Stewart-Smith, Geoffrey (Belper)
Holt, Miss Mary More, Jasper Stodart, Anthony (Edinburgh, W.)
Hordern, Peter Morgan, Geraint (Denbigh) Stokes, John
Hornby, Richard Morgan-Giles, Rear-Adm. Stuttaford, Dr. Tom
Howell, David (Gulldford) Morrison, Charles Sutcliffe, John
Howell, Ralph (Norfolk, N.) Mudd, David Tapsell, Peter
Hunt, John Murton, Oscar Taylor, Sir Charles (Eastbourne)
Hutchison, Michael Clark Nabarro, Sir Gerald Taylor, Edward M. (G'gow, Cathcart)
Iremonger, T. L. Neave, Airey Taylor, Frank (Moss Side)
Irvine, Bryant Godman (Rye) Noble, Rt. Hn. Michael Taylor, Robert (Croydon, N.W.)
James, David Normanton, Tom Tebbit, Norman
Jenkin, Patrick (Woodford) Nott, John Temple, John M.
Jennings, J. C. (Burton) Onslow, Cranley Thatcher, Rt. Hn. Mrs. Margaret
Jessel, Toby Oppenheim, Mrs. Sally Thomas, John Stradling (Monmouth)
Johnson Smith, G. (E. Grinstead) Orr, Capt. L. P. S. Thomas, Rt. Hn. Peter (Hendon, S.)
Jones Arthur (Northants S.) Osborn, John Thompson, Sir Richard (Croydon, S.)
Jopling, Michael Owen, Idris (Stockport, N.) Tilney, John
Kaberry, Sir Donald Page, Rt. Hn. Graham (Crosby) Trafford, Dr. Anthony
Kellett-Bowman, Mrs. Elalne Page, John (Harrow, W.) Trew, Peter
Kershaw, Anthony Parkinson, Cecil Tugendhat, Christopher
Kimball, Marcus Peel, Sir John Turton, Rt. Hn. Sir Robin
King, Evelyn (Dorset, S.) Percival, Ian Vaughan, Dr. Gerard
King, Tom (Bridgwater) Peyton, Rt. Hn. John Vickers, Dame Joan
Kinsey, J. R. Pike, Miss Mervyn Waddington, David
Kirk, Peter Pink, R. Bonner Walder, David (Clitheroe)
Kitson, Timothy Pounder, Rafton Walker, Rt. Hn. Peter (Worcester)
Knight, Mrs. Jill Powell, Rt. Hn. J. Enoch Walker-Smith, Rt. Hn. Sir Derek
Knox, David Price, David (Eastleigh) Walters, Dennis
Lamont, Norman Prior, Rt. Hn. J. M. L. Warren, Kenneth
Lane, David Proudfoot, Wilfred Wells, John (Maidstone)
Langford-Holt, Sir John Pym, Rt. Hn. Francis White, Roger (Gravesend)
Le Marchant, Spencer Quennell, Miss J. M. Wiggin, Jerry
Lewis, Kenneth (Rutland) Raison, Timothy Wilkinson, John
Lloyd, Rt.Hn.Geoffrey (Sut'nC'field) Ramsden, Rt. Hn. James Winterton, Nicholas
Lloyd, Ian (P'tsm'th, Langstone) Rawlinson, Rt. Hn. Sir Peter Wolrige-Gordon, Patrick
Longden, Sir Gilbert Redmond, Robert Wood, Rt. Hn. Richard
Loveridge, John Reed, Laurance (Bolton, E.) Woodhouse, Hn. Christopher
Luce, R. N. Rees, Peter (Dover) Woodnutt, Mark
McAdden, Sir Stephen Rees-Davies, W. R. Worsley, Marcus
MacArthur, Ian Renton, Rt. Hn. Sir David Wylie, Rt. Hn. N. R
McCrindle, R. A. Rhys Williams, Sir Brandon Younger, Hn. George
McLaren, Martin Ridley, Hn. Nicholas TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Maclean, Sir Fitzroy Ridsdale, Julian Mr. Walter Clegg and
McMaster, Stanley Rippon, Rt. Hn. Geoffrey Mr. Bernard Weatherill
Macmillan, Rt.Hn.Maurice (Farnham) Roberts, Michael (Cardiff. N.)
Roberts, Wyn (Conway)
Abse, Leo Blenkinsop, Arthur Carter-Jones, Lewis (Eccles)
Allaun, Frank (Salford, E.) Booth, Albert Castle, Rt. Hn. Barbara
Archer, Peter (Rowley Regis) Boothroyd, Miss B. (West Brom.) Clark, David (Colne Valley)
Armstrong, Ernest Bottomley, Rt. Hn. Arthur Cohen, Stanley
Ashley, Jack Boyden, James(Blshop Auckland) Concannon, J. D.
Ashton, Joe Bradley, Tom Conlan, Bernard
Atkinson, Norman Broughton, Sir Alfred Corbet, Mrs. Freda
Bagier, Gordon A. T. Brown, Robert C.(N'c'tle-u-Tyne, W.) Cox, Thomas (Wandsworth, C.)
Barnes, Michael Brown, Hugh D. (G'gow, Proven) Crawshaw, Richard
Barnett, Guy (Greenwich) Brown, Ronald (Shoreditch & F'bury) Cronin, John
Barnett, Joel (Heywood and Royton) Buchan, Norman Crosland, Rt. Hn. Anthony
Baxter, William Buchanan, Richard (G'gow, Sp'burn) Crossman, Rt. Hn. Richard
Beaney, Alan Butler, Mrs. Joyce (Wood Green) Cunningham, G. (Islington, S.W.)
Benn, Rt. Hn. Anthony Wedgwood Campbell, I. (Dunbartonshire, W.) Cunningham, Dr. J. A. (Whitehaven)
Bennett, James(Glasgow, Bridgeton) Cant, R. B. Dalyell, Tam
Bidwell, Sydney Carmichael, Nell Davidson, Arthur
Bishop, E. S. Carter, Ray (Birmingh'm, Northfield) Davies, Denzil (Llanelly)
Davies, G. Elfed (Rhondda E.) Johnson, Walter (Derby, S.) Parker, John (Dagenham)
Davies, Ifor (Gower) Johnston, Russell (Inverness) Parry, Robert (Liverpool, Exchange)
Davis, Clinton (Hackney, C.) Jones, Barry (Flint, E.) Pavitt, Laurie
Davis, Terry (Bromsgrove) Jones, Dan (Burnley) Peart, Rt. Hn. Fred
Deakins, Eric Jones, Rt.Hn.Sir Eiwyn (W.Ham,S.) Pendry, Tom
de Freitas, Rt. Hn. Sir Geoffrey Jones Gwynoro (Carmarthen) Perry, Ernest G.
Delargy, Hugh Jones, T. Alec (Rhondda, W.) Price, William (Rugby)
Dell, Rt. Hn. Edmund Judd, Frank Probert, Arthur
Dempsey, James Kaufman, Gerald Radice, Giles
Doig, Peter Kelley, Richard Reed, D. (Sedgefield)
Dormand, J. D. Kerr, Russell Rhodes, Geoffrey
Douglas, Dick (Stirlingshire, E.) Kinnock, Nell Roberts, Albert (Normanton)
Douglas-Mann, Bruce Lambie, David Roberts, Rt.Hn.Goronwy (Caernarvon)
Driberg, Tom Lamborn, Harry Robertson, John (Paisley)
Dunn, James A. Lamond, James Rodgers, William (Stockton-on-Tees)
Dunnett, Jack Latham, Arthur Roper, John
Eadie, Alex Lawson, George Rose, Paul B.
Edelman, Maurice Leadbitter, Ted Ross, Rt. Hn. William (Kilmarnock)
Edwards, Robert (BiIston) Lee, Rt. Hn. Frederick Rowlands, Ted
Edwards, William (Merioneth) Leonard, Dick Sandelson, Neville
Ellis, Tom Lestor, Miss Joan Sheldon, Robert (Ashton-under-Lyne)
English, Michael Lewis, Arthur (W. Ham, N.) Shore, Rt. Hn. Peter (Stepney)
Evans, Fred Lewis, Ron (Carlisle) Short, Rt.Hn.Edward(N'c'tle-u-Tyne)
Ewing, Harry Lipton, Marcus Short, Mrs. Renée (W'hampton,N.E.)
Faulds, Andrew Lomas, Kenneth Silkin, Hn. S. C. (Dulwich)
Fernyhough, Rt. Hn. E. Loughlin, Charles Sillars, James
Fitch, Alan (Wigan) Lyon, Alexander W. (York) Silverman, Julius
Fletcher, Raymond (Ilkeston) Lyons, Edward (Bradford, E.) Skinner, Dennis
Fletcher, Ted (Darlington) Mabon, Dr. J. Dickson Small, William
Foot, Michael McBride, Neil Smith, John (Lanarkshire. N.)
Ford, Ben McCartney, Hugh Spearing, Nigel
Forrester, John McElhone, Frank Spriggs, Leslie
Fraser, John (Norwood) McGuire, Michael Stallard, A. W.
Freeson, Reginald Machin, George Steel, David
Galpern, Sir Myer Mackenzie, Gregor Stewart, Donald (Western Isles)
Garrett, W. E. Mackie, John Stewart, Rt. Hn. Michael (Fulham)
Gilbert, Dr John Mackintosh, John P. Stoddart, David (Swindon)
Ginsburg, David (Dewsbury) Maclennan, Robert Stonehouse, Rt. Hn. John
Golding, John McMillan, Tom (Glasgow, C.) Stott, Roger (Westhoughton)
Gordon Walker, Rt. Hn. P. C. Mahon, Simon (Bootle) Strang, Gavin
Gourlay, Harry
Grant, George (Morpeth) Mallalleu, J. P. W. (Huddersfield, E.) Strauss, Rt. Hn. G. R.
Grant, John D. (Islington, E.) Marks, Kenneth Summerskill, Hn. Dr. Shirley
Griffiths, Eddie (Brightside) Marquand, David Swain, Thomas
Grimond, Rt. Hn. J. Marsden, F. Thomas, Rt.Hn.George(Cardiff,W.)
Hamilton, William (Fife, W.) Marshall, Dr. Edmund Thomas, Jeffrey (Abertillery)
Hamllng, William Mason, Rt. Hn. Roy Thorpe, Rt. Hn. Jeremy
Hannan, William (G'gow, Maryhill) Mayhew, Christopher Tinn, James
Hardy, Peter Meacher, Michael Tomney, Frank
Harrison, Walter (Wakefield) Mellish, Rt. Hn. Robert Tope, Graham
Hart, Rt. Hn. Judith Mendelson, John Torney, Tom
Hattersley, Roy Mikardo, Ian Tuck, Raphael
Halton, F. Millan, Bruce Urwin, T. W.
Healey, Rt. Hn. Denis Miller, Dr. M. S. Varley, Eric G.
Heffer, Eric S. Milne, Edward Wainwright, Edwin
Hilton, W. S. Mitchell, R. C. (S'hamplon, Itchen) Walker, Harold (Doncaster)
Horam, John Molloy, William Wallace, George
Houghton, Rt. Hn Douglas Morgan, Elysian (Cardiganshire) Watkins, David
Howell, Denis (Small Heath) Morris, Alfred (Wythenshawe) Weitzman, David
Huckfield, Leslie Morris, Charles R. (Openshaw) Wellbeloved, James
Hughes, Rt. Hn. Cledwyn (Anglesey) Morris, Rt. Hn. John (Aberavon) Wells, William (Walsall, N.)
Hughes, Mark (Durham) Moyle, Roland White, James (Glasgow. Pollok)
Huglies, Robert (Aberdeen, N.) Mulley, Rt. Hn. Frederick Whitehead, Phillip
Hughes, Roy (Newport) Murray, Ronald King Whitlock, William
Hunter, Adam Oakes, Gordon Willey, Rt. Hn. Frederick
Ogden, Eric
Irvine, Rt. Hn. Sir Arthur (Edge Hill) O'Halloran, Michael Williams, Alan (Swansea, W.)
Janner, Greville O'Malley, Brian Williams, Mrs. Shirley (Hitchin)
Jay, Rt. Hn. Douglas Oram, Bert Williams, W. T. (Warrington)
Jeger, Mrs. Lena Orbach, Maurice Wilson, Alexander (Hamilton)
Jenkins, Hugh (Putney) Oswald, Thomas Wilson, William (Coventry, S.)
Jenkins, Rt. Hn. Roy (Stechford) Owen, Dr. David (Plymouth, Sutton) Woof, Robert
Johnson, Carol (Lewisham, S.) Padley, Walter TELLERS FOR THE NOES
Johnson, James (K'ston-on-Hull, W.) Paget, R. T. Mr. James Hamilton and
Palmer, Arthur Mr. Donald Coleman.
Pannell, Rt. Hn. Charles

Question accordingly agreed to.

Main Question, as amended, put:

The House divided: Ayes 291, Noes 270.

Division No. 203. AYES [10.12 p.m.
Adley, Robert Finsberg, Geoffrey (Hampstead) Lewis, Kenneth (Rutland)
Alison, Michael (Barkston Ash) Fisher, Nigel (Surbiton) Lloyd, Rt.Hn.Geoffrey(Sut'nC'field)
Allason, James (Hemel Hempstead) Fookes, Miss Janet Lloyd, Ian (P'tsm'th, Langstone)
Amery, Rt. Hn. Julian Fortescue, Tim Longden, Sir Gilbert
Archer, Jeffrey (Louth) Foster, Sir John Loveridge, John
Astor, John Fowler, Norman Luce, R. N.
Atkins, Humphrey Fox, Marcus McAdden, Sir Stephen
Awdry, Daniel Fraser, Rt.Hn.Hugh(St'fford & Stone) MacArthur, Ian
Baker, Kenneth (St. Marylebone) Fry, Peter McCrindle, R. A.
Baker, W. H. K. (Banff) Galbraith, Hn. T. G. D. McLaren, Martin
Balniel, Rt. Hn. Lord Gardner, Edward Maclean, Sir Fitzroy
Batstord, Brian Gibson-Watt, David McMaster, Stanley
Beamish, Col. Sir Tufton Gilmour, Sir John (Fife, E.) Macmillan, Rt.Hn.Maurice(Farnham)
Bell, Ronald Glyn, Dr. Alan McNair-Wilson, Michael
Bennett, Dr. Reginald (Gosport) Goodhart, Philip McNair-Wilson, Patrick (New Forest)
Benyon, W. Gorst, John Maddan, Martin
Berry, Hn. Anthony Gower, Raymond Madel, David
Biffen, John Grant, Anthony (Harrow, C.) Maginnis, John E.
Biggs-Davison, John Gray, Hamish Marples, Rt. Hn. Ernest
Blaker, Peter Green, Alan Marten, Neil
Boardman, Tom (Leicester, S.W.) Grieve, Percy Mather, Carol
Body, Richard Griffiths, Eldon (Bury St. Edmunds) Maude, Angus
Boscawen, Hn. Robert Grylls, Michael Maudling, Rt. Hn. Reginald
Bossom, Sir Clive Gummer, J. Selwyn Mawby, Ray
Bowden, Andrew Gurden, Harold Meyer, Sir Anthony
Braine, Sir Bernard Hall, Miss Joan (Keighley) Mills, Peter (Torrington)
Bray, Ronald Hall, Sir John (Wycombe) Miscampbell, Norman
Brewis, John Hall-Davis, A. G. F. Mitchell, Lt.-Col.C.(Aberdeenshire, W)
Brinton, Sir Tatton Hamilton, Michael (Salisbury) Mitchell, David (Basingstoke)
Brocklebank-Fowler, Christopher Hannam, John (Exeter) Moate, Roger
Brown, Sir Edward (Bath) Harrison, Brian (Maldon) Molyneaux, James
Bruce-Gardyne, J. Harrison, Col. Sir Harwood (Eye) Money, Ernie
Bryan, Sir Paul Haselhurst, Alan Monks, Mrs. Connie
Buchanan-Smith, Alick(Angus, N & M) Hastings, Stephen Monro, Hector
Bullus, Sir Eric Havers, Sir Michael More, Jasper
Burden, F. A. Hawkins, Paul Morgan, Geraint (Denbigh)
Butler, Adam (Bosworth) Hay, John Morgan-Giles, Rear-Adm.
Campbell, Rt.Hn.G.(Moray & Nairn) Hayhoe, Barney Morrison, Charles
Carlisle, Mark Heseltine, Michael Mudd, David
Carr, Rt. Hn. Robert Hicks, Robert Murton, Oscar
Channon, Paul Higgins, Terence L. Nabarro, Sir Gerald
Chapman, Sydney Hiley, Joseph Neave, Airey
Chichester-Clark, R. Hill, John E. B. (Norfolk, S.) Noble, Rt. Hn. Michael
Churchill, W. S. Hill, S. James A. (South'pton, Test) Normanton, Tom
Clark, William (Surrey, E.) Holland, Philip Nott, John
Clarke, Kenneth (Rushcliffe) Holt, Miss Mary Onslow, Cranley
Cockeram, Eric Hordern, Peter Oppenheim, Mrs. Sally
Cooke, Robert Hornby, Richard Orr, Capt. L. P. S.
Coombs, Derek Howell, David (Guildford) Osborn, John
Cooper, A. E. Howell, Ralph (Norfolk, N.) Owen, Idris (Stockport, N.)
Cordle, John Hunt, John Page, Rt. Hn. Graham (Crosby)
Cormack, Patrick Hutchison, Michael Clark Page, John (Harrow, W.)
Costain, A. P. Iremonger, T. L. Parkinson, Cecil
Critchley, Julian Irvine, Bryant Godman (Rye) Peel, Sir John
Crouch, David James, David Percival, Ian
Crowder, F. P. Jenkin, Patrick (Woodford) Peyton, Rt. Hn. John
Davies, Rt. Hn. John (Knutsford) Jennings, J. C. (Burton) Pike, Miss Mervyn
d'Avigdor-Goldsmid, Sir Henry Jessel, Toby Pink, R. Bonner
d'Avigdor-Goldsmid,Maj.-Gen.Jack Johnson Smith, G. (E. Grinstead) Pounder, Rafton
Dean, Paul Jones Arthur (Northants S.) Powell, Rt. Hn. J. Enoch
Deedes, Rt. Hn. W. F. Jopling, Michael Price, David (Eastleigh)
Digby, Simon Wingfield Kaberry, Sir Donald Prior, Rt. Hn. J. M. L.
Dixon, Piers Kellett-Bowman. Mrs. Elaine Proudfoot, Wilfred
Dodds-Parker, Sir Douglas Kershaw, Anthony Pym, Rt. Hn. Francis
Douglas-Home, Rt. Hn. Sir Alec Kimball, Marcus Quennell, Miss J. M.
Drayson, G. B. King, Evelyn (Dorset, S.) Raison, Timothy
du Cann, Rt. Hn. Edward King, Tom (Bridgwater) Ramsden, Rt. Hn. James
Dykes, Hugh Kinsey, J. R. Rawlinson, Rt. Hn. Sir Peter
Eden, Rt. Hn. Sir John Kirk, Peter Redmond, Robert
Elliot, Capt. Walter (Carshalton) Kitson, Timothy Reed, Laurance (Bolton, E.)
Elliott, R. W. (N'c'tle-upon-Tyne,N.) Knight, Mrs. Jill Rees, Peter (Dover)
Eyre, Reginald Knox, David Rees-Davies, W. R.
Farr, John Lamont, Norman Renton, Rt. Hn. Sir David
Fell, Anthony Lane, David Rhys Williams, Sir Brandon
Fenner, Mrs. Peggy Langford-Holt, Sir John Ridley, Hn. Nicholas
Le Merchant, Spencer Ridsdale, Julian
Rippon, Rt. Hn. Geoffrey Stewart-Smith, Geoffrey (Belper) Waddington, David
Roberts, Michael (Cardiff. N.) Stodart, Anthony (Edinburgh, W.) Welder, David (Clitheroe)
Roberts, Wyn (Conway) Stokes, John Walker, Rt. Hn. Peter (Worcester)
Rodgers, Sir John (Sevenoaks) Stuttaford, Dr. Tom Walker-Smith, Rt. Hn. Sir Derek
Rossi, Hugh (Hornsey) Sutcliffe, John Walters, Dennis
Rost, Peter Tapsell, Peter Warren, Kenneth
Russell, Sir Ronald Taylor, Sir Charles (Eastbourne) Wells, John (Maidstone)
St. John-Stevas, Norman Taylor,Edward M. (G'gow,Cathcart) White, Roger (Gravesend)
Sandys, Rt. Hn. D. Taylor, Frank (Moss Side) Wiggin, Jerry
Scott, Nicholas Taylor, Robert (Croydon, N.W.) Wilkinson, John
Scott-Hopkins, James Tebbit, Norman Winterton, Nicholas
Shaw, Michael (Sc'b'gh & Whitby) Temple, John M. Woirige-Gordon, Patrick
Shersby, Michael Thatcher, Rt. Hn. Mrs. Margaret Wood, Rt. Hn. Richard
Simeons, Charles Thomas, Jchn Stradling (Monmouth) Woodhouse, Hn. Christopher
Sinclair, Sir George Thomas, Rt. Hn. Peter (Hendon, S.) Woodnutt, Mark
Skeet, T. H. H. Thompson, Sir Richard (Croydon, S.) Worsley, Marcus
Smith, Dudley (W'wick & L'mington) Tilney, John Wylie, Rt. Hn. N. R
Soref, Harold Trafford, Dr. Anthony Younger, Hn. George
Speed, Keith Trew, Peter TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Spence, John Tugendhat, Christopher Mr. Walter Clegg and
Sproat, Iain Turton, Rt. Hn. Sir Robin Mr. Bernard Weatherill.
Stainton, Keith Vaughan, Dr. Gerard
Stanbrook, Ivor Vickers. Dame Joan
Abse, Leo Dell, Rt. Hn. Edmund Irvine, Rt.Hn. Sir Arthur (Edge Hill)
Allaun, Frank (Salford, E.) Dempsey, James Janner, Greville
Archer, Peter (Rowley Regis) Doig, Peter Jay. Rt. Hn. Douglas
Ashley, Jack Gormand, J. D. Jeger, Mrs. Lena
Ashton, Joe Douglas, Dick (Stirlingshire, E.) Jenkins, Hugh (Putney)
Atkinson, Norman Douglas-Mann, Bruce Jenkins, Rt. Hn. Roy (Stechford)
Bagier, Gordon A. T. Driberg, Tom Johnson, Carol (Lewisham, S.)
Barnes, Michael Dunn, James A. Johnson, James (K'ston-on-Hull. W.)
Barnett, Guy (Greenwich) Dunnett, Jack Johnson, Walter (Derby, S.)
Barnett, Joel (Heywood and Royton) Eadie, Alex Johnston, Russell (Inverness)
Baxter, William Edelman, Maurice Jones, Barry (Flint, E.)
Beaney, Alan Edwards, Robert (BiIston) Jones, Dan (Burnley)
Benn, Rt. Hn. Anthony Wedgwood Edwards, William (Merioneth) Jones,Rt.Hn.Sir Eiwyn(W.Ham,S.)
Bennett, James (Glasgow, Bridgeton) Ellis, Tom Jones Gwynoro (Carmarthen)
Bidwell, Sydney English, Michael Jones, T. Aleo (Rhondda, W.)
Bishop, E. S. Evans, Fred Judd, Frank
Blenkinsop, Arthur Ewing, Harry Kaufman, Gerald
Boardman, H. (Leigh) Faulds, Andrew Kelley, Richard
Booth, Albert Fernyhough, Rt. Hn. E. Kerr, Russell
Boothroyd, Miss B. (West Brom.) Fitch, Alan (Wigan) Kinnock, Nell
Bottomley, Rt. Hn. Arthur Fletcher, Raymond (Ilkeston) Lambie, David
Boyden, James (Bishop Auckland) Fletcher, Ted (Darlington) Lamborn, Harry
Bradley, Tom Foot, Michael Lamond, James
Broughton, Sir Alfred Ford, Ben Latham, Arthur
Brown, Robert C.(N'c'tle-u-Tyne, W.) Forrester, John Lawson, George
Brown, Hugh D. (G'gow, Proven) Fraser, John (Norwood) Leadbitter, Ted
Brown, Ronald (Shoreditch & F'bury) Freeson, Reglnald Lee, Rt. Hn. Frederick
Buchan, Norman Gaipern, Sir Myer Leonard, Dick
Buchanan, Richard (G'gow, Sp'burn) Garrett, W. E. Lestor, Miss Joan
Butler, Mrs. Joyce (Wood Green) Gilbert, Dr John Lewis, Arthur (W. Ham, N.)
Campbell. I. (Dunbartonshire, W.) Ginsburg, David (Dewsbury) Lewis, Ron (Carlisle)
Cant, R. B. Golding, John Lipton, Marcus
Carmichael, Nell Gordon Walker, Rt. Hn. P. C. Lomas, Kenneth
Carter, Ray (Birmingh'm, Northfield) Gourley, Harry Loughlin, Charles
Carter-Jones, Lewis (Eccles) Grant, George (Morpeth) Lyon, Alexander W. (York)
Castle, Rt. Hn. Barbara Grant, John D. (Islington, E.) Lyons, Edward (Bradford, E.)
Clark, David (Colne Valley) Griffiths, Eddie (Brightside) Mabon, Dr. J. Dickson
Cohen, Stanley Grimond, Rt. Hn. J. McBride, Neil
Concannon, J. D. Hamilton, William (Fife, W.) McCartney, Hugh
Cohen, Bernard Hamling, William McElhone, Frank
Corbet, Mrs. Freda Hannan, William (G'gow, Maryhill) McGuire, Michael
Cox, Thomas (Wandsworth, C.) Hardy, Peter Machin, George
Crawshaw, Richard Harrison, Walter (Wakefield) Mackenzie, Gregor
Cronin, John Hart, Rt. Hn. Judith Mackie, John
Crosland, Rt. Hn. Anthony Hattersley, Roy Mackintosh, John P.
Crossman, Rt. Hn. Richard Halton, F. Maclennan, Robert
Cunningham, G. (Islington, S.W.) Healey, Rt. Hn. Denis McMillan, Tom (Glasgow, C.)
Cunningham, Dr. J. A. (Whitehaven) Heffer, Eric S. Mahon, Simon (Bootle)
Dalyell, Tam Hilton, W. S. Manelieu, J. P. W. (Huddersfield, E.)
Davidson, Arthur Horam, John Marks, Kenneth
Davies, Denzil (Llanelly) Houghton, Rt. Hn Douglas Marquand, David
Davies, G. Eifed (Rhondda, E.) Howell, Denis (Small Heath) Marsden, F.
Davies, Ifor (Gower) Huckfield, Leslie Marshall, Dr. Edmund
Davis, Clinton (Hackney, C.) Hughes, Rt. Hn. Cledwyn (Anglesey) Mason, Rt. Hn. Roy
Davis, Terry (Bromsgrove) Hughes, Mark (Durham) Mayhew, Christopher
Deakins, Eric Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen, N.) Meacher, Michael
de Freitas, Rt. Hn. Sir Geoffrey Hughes, Roy (Newport) Mellish, Rt. Hn. Robert
Delargy, Hugh Hunter, Adam Mendelson, John
Mikardo, Ian
Millan, Bruce Reed, D. (Sedgefield) Swain, Thomas
Miller, Dr. M. S. Rhodes, Geoffrey Thomas, Rt.Hn.George (Cardiff, W.)
Milne, Edward Roberts, Albert (Normanton) Thomas, Jeffrey (Abertillery)
Mitchell, R. C. (S'hamplon, Itchen) Roberts, Rt.Hn.Goronwy(Caernarvon) Thorpe, Rt. Hn. Jeremy
Molloy, William Robertson, John (Paisley) Tinn, James
Morgan, Elystan (Cardiganshire) Rodgers, William (Stockton-on-Tees) Tomney, Frank
Morris, Alfred (Wythenshawe) Roper, John. Tope, Graham
Morris, Charles R. (Openshaw) Rose, Paul B. Torney, Tom
Morris, Rt. Hn. John (Aberavon) Ross, Rt. Hn. William (Kilmarnock) Tuck, Raphael
Moyle, Roland Rowlands, Ted Urwin, T. W.
Mulley, Rt. Hn. Frederick Sandelson, Neville Vartey, Eric G.
Murray, Ronald King Sheldon, Robert (Ashton-under-Lyne) Wainwright, Edwin
Oakes, Gordon Shore, Rt. Hn. Peter (Stepney) Walker, Harold (Doncaster)
Ogden, Eric Short, Rt.Hn.Edward(N'c'tle-u-Tyne) Wallace, George
O'Halloran, Michael Short, Mrs. Renée (W'hampton,N.E.) Watkins, David
O'Malley, Brian Silkin, Hn. S. C. (Dulwich) Weitzman, David
Orem, Bert Sillars, James Wellbeloved, James
Orbach, Maurice Silverman, Julius Wells, William (Walsall, N.)
Oswald, Thomas Skinner, Dennis White, James (Glasgow. Pollok)
Owen, Dr. David (Plymouth, Sutton) Small, William Whitehead, Phillip
Padley, Walter Smith, John (Lanarkshire. N.) Whitlock, William
Paget, R. T. Spearing, Nigel Willey, Rt. Hn. Frederick
Palmer, Arthur Spriggs, Leslie Williams, Alan (Swansea, W.)
Pannell, Rt. Hn. Charles Stallard, A. W. Williams, Mrs. Shirley (Hitchin)
Parker, John (Dagenham) Steel, David Williams, W. T. (Warrington)
Parry, Robert (Liverpool, Exchange) Stewart, Donald (Western Isles) Wilson, Alexander (Hamilton)
Pavitt, Laurie Stewart, Rt. Hn. Michael (Fulham) Wilson, William (Coventry, S.)
Peart, Rt. Hn. Fred Stoddart, David (Swindon) Woof, Robert
Fendry, Tom Stonehouse, Rt. Hn. John
Perry, Ernest G. Stott, Roger (Westhoughton)
Price, William (Rugby) Strang, Gavin TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Probert, Arthur Strauss, Rt. Hn. G. R. Mr. James Hamilton and
Radice, Giles Summerskill, Hn. Dr. Shirley Mr. Donald Coleman.

Question accordingly agreed to. Resolved,

That this House supports Her Majesty's Government in achieving and sustaining the present high rate of growth in the economy, notes the beneficial effects this is having in realising Scotland's potential, and welcomes the fall in Scottish unemployment of 56,000 over the past 15 months.