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Economic Activity

Volume 461: debated on Tuesday 12 June 2007

Central Scotland has benefited from the stability generated by the Government’s management of the economy, which has delivered above trend economic growth and the strongest labour market for decades.

May I associate myself with the remarks about Lord Ewing, who represented Falkirk in this place and will be sadly missed here?

My hon. Friend will be aware of the remarkable and historically high levels of employment in the Falkirk area. Does he agree that the future success of the economy of central Scotland, and particularly the Falkirk economy, will be based in large part on our unrivalled communication links and the intelligent use of land?

My hon. Friend is right. Unemployment in his constituency stands at 2.5 per cent., which is below the Scottish average. I am sure that Lord Ewing would have liked to be able to say that during his time representing that constituency, when throughout long periods of the last Conservative Government places such as Falkirk were severely blighted by high unemployment. Falkirk now has a wonderful opportunity to take advantage of the thriving economy in central Scotland, including the thriving financial services sector and the great improvements that are being made in the manufacturing sector. At the heart of that lie the key transport links. I know that for as long as my hon. Friend is a tireless advocate, the future will be very bright for Falkirk.