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Indigenous Industries (Grampian Region)

Volume 22: debated on Wednesday 28 April 1982

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asked the Secretary of State for Scotland whether, in the review of areas eligible for assisted status, he will give particular attention to indigenous industries in the Grampian region which have been disadvantaged by the advent of the oil industry.

The report which we commissioned on industrial performance and prospects in the oil-affected areas paid particular attention to the needs of the indigenous industries in the areas concerned, including Grampian. The findings of the report and the comments received on it from local authorities and others are being taken into account in the current review.

Does my hon. Friend recall his meeting with representatives of six local authorities in Edinburgh on 15 March, especially the points made by Banff and Buchan district and Moray district about the difficulties of areas squeezed between oil-rich Aberdeen and the much aided Highlands and Islands Development Board area.

Yes. These points were made strongly by the local authorities when they came to see me in Edinburgh. I assured them, as I assure my hon. Friend, that we take careful note of these matters.

Will the Minister give a straight answer to a straight question? Is Aberdeen included in the review that is taking place? If not, why did he agree to meet representatives of the city council on 15 March?

We meet various bodies and local authorities on this and other matters. The straight answer that the hon. Gentleman wants is "No". In 1979 we said that in this review we would reconsider local authorities that had been downgraded by more than one step.