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Scottish Development Agency

Volume 887: debated on Wednesday 5 March 1975

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asked the Secretary of State for Scotland when he expects to finalise his consultations on the setting up of the Scottish Development Agency.

Does my hon. Friend recognise that the principle of the agency has been widely welcomed throughout Scotland? Will he give an assurance that there will be adequate finance for it from oil and other resources in Scotland and from the United Kingdom budget? Is my right hon. Friend satisfied that the policy proposals which are likely to be enunciated by the development agency will be in no way in conflict with what happens within the EEC?

I do not think they will. The agency has not yet been established, and there is some way to go before we shall know the final results of the EEC renegotiations. On the financial matter, I can give the assurance that there will be adequate finance to do the important job we want the agency to do.

Will the hon. Gentleman answer the specific point made by the hon. Member for Fife, Central (Mr. Hamilton) who mentioned the question of oil? Is it the intention that any kind of assured share of oil revenue will be available to the agency? Will the Minister do a little speculation, which his right hon. Friend was reluctant to do, and say whether, when the Scottish Assembly is established, it is expected or hoped that the development agency will be responsible to it?

I have nothing to add to what my right hon. Friend said on the latter point. As for the financing of the agency, it has already been made clear that this is not to be done by a specific allocation of oil revenue.