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Job Creation (Glasgow)

Volume 22: debated on Wednesday 28 April 1982

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asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what action he is taking to promote new employment in the Glasgow area.

As a special development area, Glasgow qualifies for maximum Government financial assistance and my right hon. Friend recently announced plans for a Scottish industrial exhibition centre on the Queen's Dock. The Scottish Development Agency is also proposing a major redevelopment of the St. Enoch's site. These initiatives should do a great deal to promote new employment. In addition, the Glasgow eastern area renewal initiative is expected to stimulate over 5,000 new jobs, and the Government remain committed to the dispersal of 1,400 Ministry of Defence posts from South-East England to Glasgow.

Is the Minister satisfied with the sufficiency of that answer? I am not. Does he not realise that, since he came to office, the city has lost over 20,000 jobs? Will he have urgent talks with the local authorities at district and regional level, and also with the SDA, with a view to trying to work out some means of arresting the continuing decline in manufacturing within the city? Will he try to promote a more positive approach to providing jobs within the city? Will he also keep his eye on the situation at the British Rail engineering workshops in Glasgow, in view of the decision on the electrification of the Ayr-Glasgow line?

The points made by the hon. Gentleman are very much in our mind. We are considering a number of initiatives to assist in dealing with the problems in Glasgow to which the hon. Gentleman correctly referred. The list that I have mentioned could be added to. There are other investments, job prospects and projects to which I could refer. These contain encouraging signs not simply for public expenditure but for increased private investment in Scotland, as shown by the opening of the new Holiday Inn last week, another large hotel project that is currently taking place, and the proposals for the Buchanan Street station site.

Is the Minister aware that hotels, while welcome, have nothing to do with manufacturing industry? As unemployment has increased beyond 3 million, and with yesterday's figures showing a further increase in the underlying trend in Scotland, will the hon. Gentleman tell us when all these new permanent jobs about which he and his right hon. and hon. Friends keep boasting will reduce unemployment in Glasgow?

No one is boasting about anything. The right hon. Gentleman's constituents would, I think, be amazed that he should scoff at service jobs, which are just as important to people as manufacturing jobs.