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Statistics (Committee)

Volume 477: debated on Tuesday 4 July 1950

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1.

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will now announce the membership of the Committee of inquiry into Anglo-Scottish Statistics.

3.

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland whether he will now give the names of the Committee which he is appointing to examine the financial relationship between England and Scotland; and when it will start work.

10.

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he can now give the names of the members of the Committee to be set up to inquire into economic and financial relations between Scotland and the rest of the United Kingdom.

I am glad to say that Lord Catto has agreed to act as Chairman of the Committee. The other members will be:—Mr. James T. Byrne, Secretary, Clyde District Committee of the Confederation of Shipbuilding and Engineering Unions, and Secretary for the Glasgow and the south-west of Scotland area of the Electrical Trades Union; Mr. W. F. Crick, General Manager for Research and Statistics to the Midland Bank; Sir John M. Erskine, General Manager of the Commercial Bank of Scotland; Sir Horace P. Hamilton, lately Permanent Under-Secretary of State for Scotland; Colonel S. J. L. Hardie, Chairman of British Oxygen Company Limited; Sir Hubert D. Henderson, Professor of Political Economy, Oxford University; and Sir John D. Imrie, City Chamberlain, Edinburgh.

If, as no doubt the Minister hopes, this Committee reports favourably on the problem presented to it, should the House then assume that it is the Government's intention, having got an assurance about statistics, to proceed with a full inquiry into Scottish administration and government?

I do not think that I should in any way attempt to prejudge the work of the Committee.

Can the right hon. Gentleman give us any idea when this Committee will start work?

My prediction relating to this matter on a previous occasion was most unfortunate, but I have had a conversation with the Chairman, and I should say that it will start very quickly indeed.

Which of these gentlemen has experience of statistics from the trade union and Co-operative angle.

Mr. J. T. Byrne has had a great deal of experience of this subject, and I should be very surprised if the bankers have not also some experience of trade union banking activities.

Is it possible for the Secretary of State to appoint some member of the agricultural community of Scotland to this Committee?

Again, I should think that the financial and commercial activities of the agricultural world will be quite well handled by the present members of the Committee.

Can the right hon. Gentleman give any indication as to when this Committee is likely to report?

I do not want to be at all evasive about this subject, but I have gone into it as thoroughly as I can and I cannot truthfully give any reliable indication of the scope of the Committee's work and, therefore, when they are likely to report.

I do not think that the right hon. Gentleman quite understood the purport of my supplementary question. Since the purpose of this Committee is to ascertain whether statistics are available, it is surely reasonable to ask the Government, if the Committee report that statistics are available, what the Government intend to do about it, and whether they will proceed with a full investigation into Scottish administration.

The hon. Member is making an assumption which would prejudice the work of the Committee, and I will not associate myself with that assumption.