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Scotland

Volume 649: debated on Tuesday 21 November 1961

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24.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether, in view of the special difficulties through which the Scottish economy is now going, he will take steps to ease his credit policy in such a way as to take account of those specific difficulties.

In all our economic arrangements we take full account of the special problems of Scotland, and will continue to do so.

The Question was put down precisely because the Government do not do that. Does the hon. Gentleman recollect that in the discussions on the Local Employment Act the point was made by hon. Members on this side of the House that special measures ought to be taken to deal with the particular problems in Scotland and that the Scottish economy was suffering unduly harshly from the present restrictions imposed by the Government? Would not he consider being more discriminatory in the application of this policy?

I understand the point which the hon. Member puts, but my answer is that I do not agree with him. At the present time there are 28,000 new jobs in prospect in Scotland, and of those 24,000 are in the Development Districts. I certainly would not agree with the hon. Gentleman that the Local Employment Act has failed in Scotland.

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that as a result of the "special considerations" given to Scotland there are now more unemployed there than there were in 1951 in spite of the fact that a quarter of a million people have left Scotland?

The hon. Member asks me about 1951. I am simply pointing out that so far the results of the Local Employment Act, which we passed at the end of 1959, have proved decidedly beneficial to Scotland.

Will the hon. Gentleman consult the Prime Minister and the Secretary of State for Scotland? If they cannot agree on anything else, at least they might agree on the figures they publicise. The figures they have given for jobs in the pipe-line have been three different figures from three different Ministers in the same Government.

The hon. Member must recognise that figures for jobs in prospect do not remain constant the whole time. I should have thought that was commonsense.