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Toothill Committee (Report)

Volume 654: debated on Wednesday 28 February 1962

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30.

asked the Minister of Labour if he has yet completed his study of the Report of the Toothill Committee on the Scottish economy; and what conclusions he has drawn which will help to alleviate the chronic unemployment problem there.

33.

asked the Minister of Labour what help was given by his Department in Scotland to the Toothill Committee in regard to its Report on the Scottish Economy.

My Controller in Scotland acted as an assessor, and another of my officers served on the Secretariat; in addition my Department gave a great deal of information to the Committee. As my hon. Friend the Joint Under-Secretary of State for Scotland said on 31st January, those of the Committee's recommendations which affect the Government are receiving urgent and careful consideration, and there is nothing I can add to that reply.

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware of some of the quite sharp comments the Toothill Committee made on present Government policy towards the solution of the unemployment problem? When will the Government announce their decision, because there is a good deal of urgency about it?

As I have just said, the Government are considering this matter very urgently. They will certainly make an announcement when they are able to do so.

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that we are very grateful for the co-operation and participation in this work of his Department and other Departments? There were so many civil servants in this that it almost bears the official stamp. Does not this make it all the more desirable that there should be some speedy action as a result of this very comprehensive analysis of the chronic defects in the Scottish economy? When shall we see some Government action as a result of this Government-assisted analysis?

We are studying the Report. As soon as we can, we shall make an announcement. Meanwhile, I hope that the hon. Gentleman is not giving the impression that nothing is being done to provide new jobs in Scotland, because he knows that much is being done.

Is not the right hon. Gentleman aware that the Leader of the House has repudiated responsibility for the Toothill Report? The Secretary of State for Scotland does not seem anxious to assume it. Is the right hon. Gentleman going to answer my debate on the Toothill Report, assuming that I am lucky enough to get it?