§ 14. Mr. Graham
To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland when he last met the Scottish Trades Union Congress to discuss the Scottish economy.
§ Mr. Graham
When will the Secretary of State stop squirming in Cabinet and fight for the steel industry of Scotland and for new investment? Will the Secretary of State assure the House and Scotland that he will fight for the jobs at Bishopton Royal Ordnance factory which the Government propose to move from Bishopton to another part of the country, involving the loss of 26 invaluable, highly skilled jobs in my constituency? The workers in that factory fought hard for their jobs and the Secretary of State should stand by them. If he is not prepared to fight for Scotland, I am.
§ Mr. Dewar
Will the Minister discuss with the STUC the report prepared for the European Commission by the university of Louvain, which looks specifically at Strathclyde, among other areas, and which condemns the Government's lack of preparation for 1992 and draws attention in particular to our inadequate technological base? Against that background what possible defence is there for the ruthless cutting of regional preferential assistance for industry in Scotland, which, under the 308 Government, has fallen in real terms from £350 million to £150 million, a damaging decline which yesterday's public expenditure White Paper confirmed will continue?
§ Mr. Lang
As usual, the Labour party judges the success of a policy simply by how much taxpayers' money is thrown at it. The reality is that Scottish industry is preparing for the single European market. Our exports into Europe have been increasing substantially. West Germany has now overtaken the United States as our biggest export market. Over half of Scottish exports go to Europe, and Scottish manufacturing exports per head exceed those of the rest of the United Kingdom by 28 per cent.
§ Mr. Allan Stewart
Will my hon. Friend tell the STUC when he next meets it that self-employment in Scotland has risen by 50 per cent. since 1981? Does not that figure give the lie to much of the nonsense that we hear from Opposition Members?