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West Stirlingshire

Volume 890: debated on Monday 21 April 1975

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asked the Secretary of State for Industry what steps he is taking to locate industry in West Stirlingshire.

Since I met my hon. Frend in February to discuss the problems arising from textile industry closures in his constituency, my officials have continued their efforts to find new occupants for the factory space which has become available. I am glad to say that a tenant has been found for half of the Kilsyth factory

I thank my hon. Friend for his efforts. Will he continue to give urgent attention to the need to attract industries to West Stirlingshire, particularly to the advance factories which are lying empty in Denny and Kilsyth, because unemployment figures there are abnormally high even by Scotland's standards? Will he also comment on the claim by John Collier Limited that it had to close its Denny factory because it could not afford to keep it going, and yet it has opened up business in West Germany? Is not that a clear case of Common Market membership acting against the best interests of workers in this country?

I know that arrangements are being made for a meeting between officials of my Department and the town clerk of Denny to discuss unemployment in the Denny area. I hope that my hon. Friend will be able to take part in those discussions.

The second part of my hon. Friend's supplementary question is another question altogether.

Does the hon. Gentleman agree that the Budget introduced last week will do nothing to help industrial expansion in West Stirlingshire in particular and in Scotland in general and that the only way that industry can be expanded is by the creation of a Scottish Government which will set in train plans for industrial expansion in Scotland and reduce unemployment to Norwegian levels —that is, to less than 1 per cent.?

I would rather have the present Chancellor of the Exchequer looking after Scotland's affairs than the hon. Gentleman and some of his hon. Friends. During the last year we have doubled regional employment premiums and given specific help by way of controlled IDCs. In my view, the NEB will help throughout the country as a whole, and the Scottish Development Agency will be a great spur to Scottish industry.