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Light Industry, Midlothian

Volume 529: debated on Tuesday 29 June 1954

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asked the President of the Board of Trade if his attention has been called to the last Report of the Census of Population in the county of Midlothian and if his Department will vow steer light industry to the county

I have seen this Report. The Government will certainly bear in mind the position in the developing coalfield area of Midlothian, but the hon. Member will appreciate that there are other areas, particularly Development Areas, where the immediate needs are greater.

Is the Minister aware that since that Report was published in 1951, the Midlothian County Council and the small burghs have built a large number of houses in order to rehouse redundant miners and their families from Lanarkshire, and that no attempt has been made to provide alternative industry for the women? Is he also aware that this policy has discouraged the transfer of miners from Lanarkshire and militates against the production of coal in Scotland?

I think that the hon. Member will agree that the unemployment rate in this area is less than that in Scotland as a whole. I assure him that we shall consider sympathetically applications for industrial development certificates in suitable cases.