asked the President of the Board of Trade when work will begin on the erection of the advance factory at Shotts.
As soon as we have acquired a suitable site.
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that it is over a year since the announcement was made that an advance factory was to be built in Shotts? Is he aware that since that time a private firm, without any aid from the Board of Trade, found a site there and erected a small factory, where girls have been working for months, while the Board of Trade could find no site? Is it that the trustees of the Robert Sneddon Estate are holding back the acquiring of a site? What compulsory purchase measures can the right hon. Gentleman take to bring work to an area which only this year had its eleventh pit closed?
One of the difficulties of building advance factories is to know in advance what is the most suitable size. The factory to which the hon. Lady refers is very small, and I do not think it would please her or her constituents if we put up a small one. I regret the delay as much as anybody does. The hon. Lady knows the difficulty. The people to whom she has referred are the people who caused the difficulties, but I do not think that it would be right to use compulsory powers to acquire land for a factory which will not necessarily be occupied immediately.
Can the right hon. Gentleman tell me of any advance factory built which has not been occupied? When a Government-owned factory became vacant in Shotts there were a number of people who wished to have it. Surely the right hon. Gentleman knows that there would be no delay in having such a factory occupied. Is he not aware of the great need for it?
It is not necessarily so. An advance factory at Jarrow still remains unoccupied.
Is the right hon. Gentleman saying that he is not prepared to use compulsory powers in respect of any advance factory? If so, this would be a policy quite different from that followed up to now.