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Irvine New Town

Volume 98: debated on Wednesday 4 June 1986

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asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will make an official visit to Irvine new town.

That answer will be a disappointment to my constituents, who had hoped that the Secretary of State would visit Irvine to look into the affairs of Co-Star Ltd., a computer company which has three directors, one Scot and two Americans, one of whom, according to a Sunday newspaper, is on the run from the FBI in the United States.

Is the Minister aware that Co-Star Ltd. disappeared after receiving a financial package to set up in Irvine, and that two of the directors formed a new company called Muir-Anderson Associates Ltd., which received help from a local enterprise trust, Asset, to set up another company in Stevenson? Is the Minister further aware that these two directors have now formed a new company which has moved to Cumnock, where they are receiving a further financial package prepared by the local enterprise trust, Cadet, NCB (Enterprises) Ltd. and the Scottish Development Agency under the new name of Comerbeams? When will the Minister——

When will the Minister investigate the affairs of this company and ensure that the grants are withdrawn and that those responsible are prosecuted?

I appreciate that the people of Irvine will be disappointed that my right hon. and learned Friend is not to visit them, as are communites in other parts of Scotland which my right hon. and learned Friend has not yet been able to visit. As for the hon. Gentleman's supplementary question, I can say that grant was paid and that first steps have already been taken towards recovering the full amount of grant from Co-Star. In view of what has happened, the new company will be subject to particularly careful scrutiny.