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Departmental Staff (Dispersal)

Volume 932: debated on Monday 16 May 1977

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asked the Minister of Overseas Development when she now expects the plans to relocate her Department in Scotland to be finally implemented.

My hon. Friend the Minister of State, Civil Service Department, said in reply to a Question by the hon. Member for Glasgow, Cathcart (Mr. Taylor) on 25th April that he would announce a revised timetable as soon as possible. I am unable to give further information at present.

Will my right hon. Friend confirm that in addition to the new Department in East Kilbride, the Ministry of Overseas Development is still considering alternative office development in Scotland to provide several hundred extra jobs? Is she aware that the Central Regional Council, in my area, has proposed several sites of office development, which I should be delighted to show to her on her next visit to Scotland?

I shall be happy to take up my hon. Friend's invitation. The location for the major part of the Ministry of Overseas Development dispersal has already been settled. We are now waiting for plans. There are a number of real problems concerning the second element of the dispersal. I welcome my hon. Friend's proposition.

Is the Minister aware that the slippage in this timetable is causing concern, because people in Scotland feel that fraudulent claims have been made about jobs being redistributed to Scotland? Since part of the Ministry is to move to East Kilbride, and since Stone-house no longer exists—knowing that the Minister shares my interest in new towns—will she consider the good claims for the cartography section to be established in Cumbernauld?

I appreciate the feelings of the hon. Lady. The East Kilbride part of the dispersal is now settled. The other element is causing genuine problems. The question of siting is open to consideration.