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Irvine New Town

Volume 884: debated on Wednesday 22 January 1975

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4.

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will pay an official visit to Irvine New Town.

I have no immediate plans to do so, but look forward to the possibility at a convenient future date.

When my right hon. Friend decides to visit Irvine New Town, will he remember that his Minister of State and the Under-Secretary of State for Energy got lost several times when they last visited North Ayrshire, and that on the next day, again because of the bad roads in North Ayrshire, 14 Labour Members of Parliament took an hour and 40 minutes to go from Cambuslang to Largs, and missed an important appointment? When will the Secretary of State start the motorway link, from North Ayrshire to the M74 and the M8 to serve Hunterston and Irvine New Town, which was promised by both Conservative and Labour Governments? It is especially important now that oil-related developments are going to the area.

If and when I visit the new town officially, my hon. Friend may take it that I shall not get lost. He probably knows my familiarity with the area. For my hon. Friend's information, I shall be there unofficially in a fortnight's time. Not everyone in Ayrshire is entirely agreed on the line which the motorway should take.

My hon. Friend has been in communication with my noble Friend the Minister of State on this subject, and he will be aware that we require much more hard information about the generation of traffic—it will not all be going from Irvine to Cambuslang—before we can embark on a massive project of this nature.

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware of the tremendous damage caused by heavy wagons which have to use the old coastal road on their journey to Hunterston, and of the danger caused by the excessive speed of lorries going through West Kilbride? Will the right hon. Gentleman look into that?

I am aware of the difficulties. There are always difficulties when a major project causes roads to be used for purposes for which they were never designed. This matter must be considered in future.

After the Secretary of State has visited Irvine New Town I shall be delighted if he will visit Cumbernauld New Town. I should like to discuss with him the question of employment for our young people—

Order. The hon. Lady may make statements to the Secretary of State on that occasion. Today she must ask a question.

Is the Secretary of State aware that in Cumbernauld young people have great difficulty in securing employment? There is only one job for every 40 girls leaving school, and one job for every 16 boys leaving school. The development corporation, the town council and I would welcome the opportunity to discuss this matter with him.

I should be glad if the hon. Lady would put down a Question on that subject, but she had better be careful. She asked me to visit Cumbernauld after I had visited Irvine. I make no commitment, but I might visit Cumbernauld before visiting Irvine.