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Volume 928: debated on Wednesday 23 March 1977

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asked the Secretary of State for Scotland when he next intends to visit Perth.

I was in Perth recently and have no present plans for a further visit.

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that Perth has been a graveyard following several declarations of intent by both Labour and Conservative spokesmen about the future of self-government in Scotland? Does he agree that the only way in which self-government for Scotland can be obtained is via the SNP and no other group of whatever kind?

I do not agree with the hon. Gentleman. I think that meaningful devolution for Scotland can come only from a Labour Government.

Does my right hon. Friend not remember that on the last occasion he visited Perth to attend a Scottish Labour Party conference he gave sustenance and considerable help to the people of Scotland, to the tune of £35 million in assistance to the coal industry? Is he aware that the SNP has at no time displayed any interest in the coal industry or in the working class in Scotland?

I was glad to make that statement in Perth because it was the means of saving several thousand jobs for Scottish coal miners.

When the Secretary of State visits Perth, will he call in at the headquarters of the outstanding Scottish insurance company, the General Accident Company, and also at the offices of the chamber of comercc and ask representatives of industry and commerce in Perth whether jobs—[Interruption.]

Will he ask representatives of industry and commerce whether they feel that jobs will be more or less secure for their employees if Scotland breaks away from England?

I do not think that I need answer that question. We all know the answer. Clearly a Government in Scotland composed of the SNP would be disastrous for the Scottish economy.