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Column 1057would follow other house improvements. But it would be bad news for precisely the people upon whom the future of the Scottish economy most depends--those who are trying to improve themselves as workers, managers and entrepreneurs, who are upwardly mobile and who wish to move, naturally and properly into better housing for themselves and their families. They are classically the people, as well as the elderly, who would be hit by the absurd proposal.
We have heard from the Opposition the usual parroting of doom and gloom. We have heard complaints not solutions, and problems not answers. Yet again, the Labour party has confirmed that it has nothing new to offer. It has forgotten nothing and learnt nothing from its period of power.
I compliment my right hon. and hon. Friends on their common-sense policies, which are steadily turning the Scottish economy round. I wish them every success in continuing with those policies. 6.15 pm
Mr. Harry Ewing (Falkirk, East) : As my old granny would have said, February is always a dull month. That speech fairly shortened the winter, but that is about all it did. The hon. Member for Eastwood (Mr. Stewart) started off not too badly, but he drifted into his usual rambling. If the speech of the hon. Member for Tayside, North (Mr. Walker) was that of a teetotaller, he should try taking a dram now and again.
I want to put on record my thanks to BP, with which I have not always enjoyed the best relationship, for its massive investment in the petrochemical industry at Grangemouth in my constituency. The investment will provide some new jobs, but it will certainly secure existing jobs. I understand the annoyance of the hon. Member for Banff and Buchan (Mr. Salmond) with BP because of its involvement with Britoil. In my defence, I warned the House, on the day of the announcement that BP was being given Britoil, what would happen. The takeover of Britoil has had precisely the outcome I expected. However, on a constituency basis, I record my thanks for that massive investment.
I also want to thank the Secretary of State for Energy. As the House knows, I have been campaigning, sometimes alone, against the application by Shell Exxon to construct a pipeline from Grangemouth to Manchester to pipe all the ethylene manufactured at the most northern plant down to England. I am grateful to the Secretary of State for refusing the application ; he has informed me that he has ordered a public inquiry.
I hope that all the parties will examine carefully the proposal to construct a pipeline. As I have said often, the future of downstream industries in west central Scotland depends on the retention of ethylene. A pipeline from Grangemouth to Manchester would leave only one gap in the ethylene grid. If companies could move ethylene about as if jobs did not matter, they would do so to the detriment of almost every area where petrochemicals are based. Therefore, I am grateful to the Secretary of State for Energy for ordering a public inquiry.
The hon. Member for Eastwood sounded hollow when he talked about the industry's rates and business rates and general rates on people. I live with the abiding memory of
Column 1058when he was a Minister in the Scottish Office. The then Government introduced legislation to derate the plant and machinery outside buildings, which cost Central regional council £8 million of rateable value.
I took a deputation from Central regional council to see the Minister in his ivory tower at Dover house to ask the Government to make good the shortfall that his legislation had caused in rate income for Central regional and Falkirk district councils. The Minister said, "Your rates in Central region are below the national average per head of the population, so I shall not give you any money. The increase in rates for Falkirk district council of 6p in the pound and for Central region of 4p in the pound will only bring you up to the national average." Now the hon. Gentleman has the gall to criticise local authorities for increasing rates.
I wanted to make that point before the Tories in Scotland started an attack on local authorities about rates in the run-up to the regional elections. The hon. Gentleman's expressions of concern about rate levels sounded hollow when set against the background of the Labour party's proposals on what has been described as the roof tax. Last night I made an offer to the hon. Member for Tayside, North that I extend to any Scottish Conservative Member. It will not take me long to go round the Scottish Conservative constituencies. I am not contesting the next election and as we run up to it I shall have time on my hands, so I offer to come to any Conservative seat, providing the sitting Member of Parliament makes the arrangements and debate the merits of the poll tax against the Labour party's proposals. That offer is on the table.
I shall take up two points made by the hon. Member for Tayside, North, possibly the only two serious points in his speech. The first concerns the export of whisky. One decision that has been taken in relation to the construction of the Channel tunnel is that whisky in bulk form--this should be a warning to all of us who enjoy a glass now and then--is so volatile that it will not be allowed to go through the Channel Tunnel. Three commodities will not be allowed through the tunnel : liquid petroleum gas, liquid chemicals, and whisky. Therefore, it is fairly obvious that all the exports of Scottish whisky will have to go by sea. What is the Scottish Office doing to ensure that the exports go through Scottish ports? What is now happening is absolute madness.
The second serious point made by the hon. Member for Tayside, North involved general exports from Scotland. During the past 10 years--and, I admit, just a wee bit longer than that--the volume of exports of manufactured goods originating in Scotland, going out through Scottish ports, has dropped from 75 per cent. to about 18 per cent. That is an absolute disgrace.
The hon. Member for Orkney and Shetland (Mr. Wallace) talked about the closure of the terminal at Leith. It was closed because the shipowners introduced the grid system. Whisky that is manufactured in Perth is taken by road--at no cost to the exporter and manufacturer because it is paid for by the ship owner--to the non-scheme port of Felixstowe, from where it is exported. Of course, they are all non-scheme ports now. That is done on the basis that it is cheaper to take the goods by road than to steam the vessel up to Grangemouth or Glasgow.
That policy is all right until all the Scottish ports are closed down, and we are heading that way. We shall then
Column 1059see what happens to the grid system. It will be abolished overnight. The whisky industry is important and the Government should consider those two aspects of it.
The Scottish economy is fragile, and the Minister would mislead the House if he sought to pretend otherwise. All the surveys to which my hon. Friend the Member for Glasgow, Garscadden (Mr. Dewar) referred prove the validity of that point. Anyone who is complacent about the future of the Scottish economy will have to answer to the people who will lose their jobs as a result of an upturn in unemployment. Like other hon. Members, I speak to industrialists. None of them says that he is confident about the next 18 months or two to three years. They are all looking ahead to difficult times. I was horrified when, over Christmas and the new year, I saw a Minister on Scottish television arguing that high interest rates were good for the Scottish economy because they made us work harder and become more efficient. The Secretary of State hinted at that, too. I have never heard such rubbish in my life.
The Minister should acknowledge that, far from being good, high interest rates are damaging. We need to keep a careful watch on the development of our economy. I look forward to the day, not too far distant, when the responsibility for running the economy is in the hands of my hon. Friend the Member for Garscadden and his colleagues.
Mr. Alex Salmond (Banff and Buchan) : I was going to open my speech by saying that I thought that Labour and Tory Members had a psychological problem when debating the Scottish economy. After listening to the hon. Member for Tayside, North (Mr. Walker), perhaps I should say that they have a geographical problem as well. Labour and Tory Members suffer from the delusion that Scotland is a poor dependent economy that will always rely on the good will of the Westminster Government. I want to make the opposite case in terms of the amendment in the name of my hon. Friends and myself. Scotland is an exceptionally rich country, but its economy is being mismanaged and its assets are being pillaged.
No one, including the present Chancellor, the past Chancellor, and even the Under-Secretary of State, the hon. Member for Stirling (Mr. Forsyth), who was in charge of the Scottish economy, would prescribe the present level of interest rates, given the level of demand in the Scottish economy. I have an impeccable source for this view--no other than the vice-chairman of the Scottish Conservative party, Mr. Bill Hughes, who, with engaging candour, said on 29 June last year on Radio 4 :
"we have to periodically endure the higher interest rates because that is for the better end of the total United Kingdom economy. I think that this is a very fair trade off."
I suspect that Scottish manufacturing industry, which, because of the at least 5 per cent. surcharge in interest rates in the Scottish economy, is facing additional borrowings--that is, taxation--of £200 million, might think differently. Scottish farmers who face additional borrowings of £50 million and the hard-pressed Scottish fishing industry that faces additional borrowings of up to £10 million might also think differently.
Earlier the Secretary of State for Scotland said that the Scottish economy was not overheating. He did not go on to explain why we should have a level of interest rates that
Column 1060was appropriate only, if at all, for an economy that was overheating. Will Tory Ministers accept that, whatever the present level of activity in the Scottish economy, it would be higher if we had a level of interest rates appropriate to Scottish economic conditions.
When we debate the Scottish economy, the Secretary of State for Scotland always clutches at straws. Last year in the Scottish Grand Committee he clutched at the straw of a Fraser of Allander Institute report that he found sympathetic to his case. However, when we read the report in detail we found that it warned of the damage that would be done to an investment/export economy such as Scotland by higher interest rates.
During Scottish questions in December, the Secretary of State quoted, in glowing terms, a Royal Bank of Scotland report that argued that Scottish growth this year might be marginally higher than that of the United Kingdom as a whole. I took the trouble to examine that economic analysis in detail. The relevant passage reads : "Demand is, consequently, marginally stronger in relative terms and may well result in a better Scottish growth performance in 1990 (perhaps 2 per cent.--2.5 per cent.) than in the UK as a whole--little comfort given that the demand-dampening policies in force just now were aimed at cooling the overheated south-east and will still leave Scottish employment and output levels lagging well behind the national average."
The Secretary of State cited that report favourably. If he cites the forecast favourably, does he accept the analysis that accompanied that report?
There are two reasons why the Secretary of State would be unwise to rely on favourable short-term forecasts for the Scottish economy. The first is obvious. Earlier tonight, the right hon. and learned Gentleman quoted the industrial production figures and said that they showed that the Scottish economy was doing particularly well. However, the index of industrial production, minus class 13--investment in oil and gas--shows a different picture. Minus class 13, the latest figures for industrial production for Scotland show a 10 per cent. increase since 1985. The comparable figures for the United Kingdom show a 19 per cent. increase.
The evidence is clear. There is not a general economic recovery in Scotland, relative even to the modest improvement in the United Kingdom economy. There is an investment surge in the North sea now because of strengthening oil prices, but I doubt whether even the Secretary of State wants to take credit for that.
There is a more serious reason why the right hon. and learned Gentleman would be unwise to rely on short-term forecasts. No economic forecast can cope with the impact of a major industrial collapse, but the Scottish economy now faces at least two clear dangers of collapse in core industries.
The first is the steel industry. From the position of jobs related immediately to steel--that is, people working directly in the steel industry and for the suppliers of steel--it is clear that at least 25, 000 jobs are at stake. Taking a broader picture, and including industries which are dependent on the supply of steel--and are therefore dependent on the pricing and source pricing of steel--that figure could be expanded to well over 100,000.
The second is the fishing industry, on which 30,000 jobs in Scotland depend. The Secretary of State said yesterday that the fishermen were rich and did not need any Government help. Does the right hon. and learned Gentleman have no compassion for family businesses
Column 1061which are caught in a cost-revenue squeeze? A constituent of mine has had his boat sold by the Sea Fish Industry Authority. He got for it one third of the price at which it was valued a few months ago. As a result, he is in danger of losing not only his job, his boat and his livelihood but his home and everything else.
Has the Secretary of State no compassion for fish processing workers earning less than £100 a week who are being offered by their employers a zero per cent. wage round--no increase whatever in their pay? Will the Government not dip into their pocket and provide for the Scottish fishing industry even the same level of support that is available to every other European fishing industry?
I took part in a BBC television programme shortly after the turn of the new year, in which people were asked to comment on Scotland's economic prospects in the 1990s. I was struck by the remarks of David Murray, who the Government will undoubtedly say is a model Scottish business man, and he deserves that title. He did not in that programme speak of some major industrial renaissance for Scotland. He spoke of his real concerns about the level of external ownership in the Scottish economy and about the damage being done to his and other business by high interest rates.
Even more disturbing than the present situation is the total lack of vision in Government economic policy to meet the challenges of this decade and those of the next century. The only strategy that this Government have ever had for the Scottish economy has been the attraction of mobile international investment. Yet it is clear that international investment will become tougher to attract because of competition not simply from Ireland and southern Europe but also from eastern Europe. That strategy has only limited potential in the present decade.
We should be moving to a natural resource-based economic policy instead of either demand-managed economy or policies based on attracting international investment. We have not done well so far. In the last decade, £87 billion of oil revenues went straight to the London Exchequer. That represented £17,000 a head for every man, woman and child in Scotland. We should remember that when the hon. Member for Stirling (Mr. Forsyth)-- the Under-Secretary--and his fan club of Sudeten Scots who disrupt Scottish Question Time tell us how lucky Scots are to experience the munificence of the Westminster Exchequer. It would not be so bad if we did not have the knowledge that it is Scottish assets which have bankrolled the Thatcher economic experiment for the past 10 years.
Announcements in recent days show that the great gas robbery planned for the 1990s will be even worse than the great oil robbery of the 1980s. At least the oil was landed in Scotland and we received some direct jobs impact. The gas from the central North sea that Amoco is taking to Teesside will not even touch Scotland. The implications of that are severe. First and obviously, the petrochemical and downstream jobs will go to the north- east of England. They are severe, secondly, because of the plan to construct a 1,750 MW power station at Welton, near Redcar. Perhaps when he replies to the debate the Minister will say how he intends to sell Scottish electricity, generated by coal or nuclear power, twice or, in
Column 1062the case of nuclear, perhaps five times as expensively as gas power over the border when faced with competition from a power station of that magnitude.
There are even more serious implications. What energy intensive industry will locate in central Scotland when it can get more favourable electricity prices by locating in the north-east of England? Labour Members should be able to think of at least one major energy-intensive industry in central Scotland which is currently making the choice between a Scottish and a north-east of England location.
I have no doubt that Labour Front-Bench spokesmen, remembering that the Labour party initiated this debate, will wish to say whether they intend to oppose the plan to send North sea gas from the central North sea to Teesside rather than to a Scottish landfall point. We in Scotland face a basic choice : either we use our immense resources quite literally to power an efficient competitive Scottish economy in Europe, or we continue with a situation, under any Westminster Government, by which our economy is mismanaged, our resources pillaged, our industry decimated and our nation humiliated. If we are prepared to put up with that, we will be what Carlyle once called the English--"a nation of fools."
Mr. Brian Wilson (Cunninghame, North) : On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. I am anxious to raise a point with you now so that the Minister is able to respond when he replies to the debate. In his opening speech, the Secretary of State for Scotland seriously misled the House by claiming that a document to which the shadow Secretary of State, my hon. Friend the Member for Glasgow, Garscadden (Mr. Dewar), referred extensively had been reported in the Glasgow Herald on 12 December. Clearly, that was intended to mislead the House and the Press Gallery. I have with me--
Mr. Wilson : In that case, Mr. Deputy Speaker, he must have done so inadvertently, although the consequence is the same. In advance of the Minister of State replying to the debate, I shall be happy to give him a copy of the newspaper in question so that he may quote the source, because it would be an intolerable abuse of the House if that tactic were used to mislead.
Dr. Norman A. Godman (Greenock and Port Glasgow) : We must remember when we talk about the Scottish economy that it is made up of a conglomeration of local economies. The Minister of State will agree that the retention of profitable firms is as important an object as the creation of jobs.
That being so, I ask the hon. Gentleman to use his good offices to intervene in the dispute between Suter Estates of London and the Drummond Packaging Company of Greenock. Many jobs are at stake. The London company is seeking to remove Drummond Packaging from its premises in Greenock. It would be disastrous if that
Column 1063happened. The Minister is aware of the severity of the unemployment problems of Inverclyde. Will his officials intervene in the matter? The French parent company of Drummond Packaging offered Suter Estates, which owns the land, £1.4 million. That was rejected, and Drummonds entered into discussions with the Inverclyde district council to purchase land on which to build customised premises. The buildings should be completed at the end of November this year, but Suter Estates, the London-based property company, is telling Drummonds to quit by mid-summer. If that happens, several score of my constituents will be put out of work. I hope that the Minister will intervene in that important matter.
I said that I would be brief and I shall be. However, I should like to speak for two minutes on that once magnificent industry, which is now but a remnant of its former glory--the shipbuildng and marine engineering industry.
What recent discussions have the Minister or his officials had with their colleagues at the Department of Trade and Industry about the European Community directive on the shipbuilding intervention fund? That is an important form of aid to shipyards. Will the Minister say how many Scottish shipyards have access to that form of European Community subsidy? I make a plea on behalf of Scott Lithgow--a company which, until now, has been denied access to that form of subsidy--that it be given sympathetic consideration because what we are seeing Europewide, and it is a welcome development, is a full capacity of berths in shipyards.
Some experts estimate that, within the next two or three years, European yards will be short of between 35 and 50 berths to build vessels. I know of European shipping lines that are now seeking tenders from British shipyards, but in some cases those shipyards--and Scott Lithgow is one of them--have had to turn away those notifications of interest because they do not have access to that type of subsidy. That is a disgrace if there is a European Communitywide subsidy for the shipbuilding industry. Firms such as Scott Lithgow and Fergussons are denied the opportunity of recruiting, selecting and employing highly skilled adult males. There are too many such men on the dole in my constituency.
I understand that Caledonian MacBrayne will have to replace up to four major and four minor passenger ferry vessels over the next five years. That figure was given to me in an answer by the
Under-Secretary some days ago. I make a plea for those orders to go to Scottish yards. It does not embarras me to say that some of those orders should come to Fergussons in Port Glasgow. It is a first-class, small ship, specialist yard. Some of the Scottish orders that the Secretary of State now signs because, in essence, he is Mr. Caledonian MacBrayne should be built in Aberdeen and in Port Glasgow.
Kvaerner of Govan, Yarrow, Hall Russell, Fergussons and Kincaids are the remnants of this once great industry. The shipbuilding industry uses modern electronics and employs highly skilled labour. Over the next two years, the Government should seek to defend the interests of those employed in that industry or who could find employment in it.
Column 10646.44 pm
Mrs. Maria Fyfe (Glasgow, Maryhill) : Anyone listening to the speech of the Secretary of State could be forgiven for thinking that the production of candy floss was a major growth industry in the Scottish office--it was bright and cheerful but when you bite into it you find it lacks substance and nourishment. Anyone sitting at home watching this debate on television, who used to work a Caterpillar, at Linwood, at one of the shipyards, or anywhere else that has lost jobs, and who is eking out his unemployment benefit, must be sick to the back teeth by what we have heard from Scottish Office Ministers today.
It is not good enough to respond to this serious matter by bandying statistics about the 1960s and 1970s and who was responsible for what and when. The truth is that there has been a long-term decline in Scottish industry for more than a century, as other industrial nations have equalled and surpassed our output and brought in orders in sectors where we have formerly had an unrivalled lead. There is no point in ignoring that fact-- it is the future that matters, so let us concentrate on that.
My hon. Friend the Member for Glasgow, Garscadden (Mr. Dewar) referred to the unpublished reports written by the university of Louvain, which forecast a sharp decline in Britain's industrial areas and a massive increase in job losses as a result of the introduction of the European single market. The report specifically mentions Strathclyde as one of the areas for which it forecasts dire results. It pointed out that coal and steel-producing areas would suffer from competition.
The Government have asked what answers the Opposition have. The Louvain report came up with some of the answers, but we have heard nothing about that from the Government today. The report says that the problems are related to insufficient investment in railways, to widespread dereliction, to the dearth of investment and to a shortage of professional expertise-- the report calls it an "exodus of grey matter" to the south-east, where clearly jobs and promotions exist. Business men and local authorities are pessimistic about the single market because they fear that American and Japanese companies will move to the continent, with a consequent loss of orders for suppliers and a loss of customers for small businesses in the surrounding areas.
The absence of regional government in Britain is an extremely important aspect of the debate, and Louvain also mentioned it as something which has hindered progress in Scotland. In North Rhine Westphalia the Government provide up to 10 times as much money for research and development in industry as the Department of Trade and Industry does in England. Whatever the figures may be for Scotland, it is certainly not as good as 10 times that of England.
Firms in my constituency have expressed anxiety about the future. Some of the construction firms are steady at present, but they are faced with Europewide competition for orders of quite modest value. How can that contribute to forward planning and job security for the work forces?
A clothing manufacturer in Maryhill sees the dangers of competition from Germany ; West German manufacturers have already obtained supplies from East German sources at a lower cost than can be obtained here. The textile industry has already had a series of redundancies in the Borders and elsewhere as a result of decreased orders and falling sales.
Column 1065I thank my hon. Friend the Member for Glasgow, Cathcart (Mr. Maxton) for standing back and allowing me to speak. His attitude is a contrast to that of the Secretary of State, who has the habit of constantly referring to "hon. Gentlemen opposite". He does not seem to notice that Scotland has three women Members of Parliament. We are sitting here, but we seem to be invisible. I have often seen reports that refer to women as an under-used resource. Women are also described as an invisible resource. I thought that that was an exaggerated description until I entered the House a couple of years ago and observed the conduct of Conservative Members such as the Secretary of State, who do not even recognise our existence. Although female unemployment is approximately one third of male unemployment, far too many women are in low-paid or part-time jobs with no prospects or training opportunities. Women need not only training schemes but time off to take part in them, and we need far more child care provision. If Britain could provide child care on the scale that it did during the second world war, when we were fighting an enemy for our very existence, surely we can provide child care when we are fighting for our economic existence.
The Minister of State, Scottish Office (Mr. Ian Lang) : My hon. Friend the Member for Eastwood (Mr. Stewart) in his excellent speech asked why the Labour party had chosen to have this debate on the Scottish economy. Having listened to it, I share his curiosity, because nothing that has emerged has in any way advanced its cause one bit.
With policy documents falling thick and fast from the Labour party, rather like leaves in autumn and with roughly the same life expectancy, it occurred to me that, when the hon. Member for Glasgow, Garscadden (Mr. Dewar) referred to a genuine and authoritative document, he was referring to the industry policy document that the Labour party published this week entitled "Fulfilling our future : Industry 2000". But when I looked through it and found almost nothing of policy but rather a lot of wind and verbiage, I realised that he could not have that in mind.
I am not surprised that such a vacuous document has been presented this week. The Labour party may want to conceal the fact that its industrial policy in "Meet the Challenge, Make the Change", which was published last year and ratified by the 1989 Labour party conference, contains such policies as a payroll tax on all Scottish business based on turnover, or a commitment to renationalise British Telecom, British Gas and the water and electricity industries, or the plan to legalise secondary picketing and to allow unions to call strikes before a ballot has been called. No wonder it is not keen to draw attention to that. Perhaps the next policy document will be called "Back to the Drawing Board".
After the Labour party's drubbing over its proposals for a roof tax from every commentator throughout Scotland, after the revelation of its jobs tax, to which my right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State drew attention in his opening speech, whereby already an extra £130 million would have been taken out of Scottish businesses, after its earlier commitment to a payroll tax,
Column 1066after the revelation in its local government finance document of its intention to put the Scottish Enterprise initiative into the hands of the local authorities, and after its already well-known plans to introduce a tax-raising assembly in Scotland, it is not surprising that the hon. Member for Garscadden should fall back on selective quotations from a discussion paper of no status whatever, the substance of which was reported in an article by Alastair Balfour in the Glasgow Herald in December. [ Hon. Members-- : "What date?"] I think that it was 30 December--at the end of last year.
I would prefer to rely on some of the surveys that have been coming out from responsible and recognised bodies such as the Fraser of Allander survey which referred to growth continuing over the next five years, a survey which prompted The Scotsman to headline an article
"Outlook brightens for Scots economy in 1990s".
Who am I to argue with The Scotsman ?
Mr. Kirkwood : As the Minister is busy talking about surveys, has he undertaken any surveys of the state of the Scottish fishing industry? Is he aware that earlier this week 130 jobs were lost in Holmac Seafoods in my constituency? If he undertook such a survey, he would get some fairly dire results.
The survey by Cambridge Econometrics suggested that the Scottish economy grew more rapidly than that of the United Kingdom last year and will do so this year. The CBI survey suggested that output would rise faster in the United Kingdom, and there was more optimism about exports and employment increasing in Scotland in the year ahead while it is falling in the United Kingdom. There was similar optimism in the business strategy survey and the Building Employers Confederation survey.
My hon. Friend the Member for Tayside, North (Mr. Walker) recounted the successful growth of most of Scotland's major industrial companies. No wonder the Labour party is forced to talk about relative decline when there has been so much growth and increased prosperity, with the average income of Scots rising by a third over the past decade, compared with absolute decline under the previous Labour Government.
It is interesting to reflect that, between the mid-1960s and the mid-1980s, manufacturing industry declined more steeply in the United Kingdom than in Scotland. Today, Scottish manufacturing output and GDP are at their highest ever levels. The latest figures show GDP per head in Scotland to be some 3 per cent. above the United Kingdom average, excluding the south-east. That is hardly symptomatic of an economy in relative decline.
The hon. Member for Garscadden referred to the Louvain report, as did the hon. Member for Glasgow, Maryhill (Mrs. Fyfe). It was originally prepared in French and it may have lost something in translation, but the hon. Gentleman seems to have accorded the opposite view of the state of Strathclyde, as summarised in the report, to the
Column 1067reality. For greater accuracy, I have obtained a translation. Referring to Strathclyde and its technological position, the report said :
"Strathclyde is, in fact distinguished from all other regions studied by a distinctly weaker presence of traditional sectors ... and in comparison with other regions of Europe which are characterised with traditional industries has a better representation of advanced technology activities in its territories."
That is the opposite of the point that the hon. Gentleman was seeking to make.
The hon. Member for Dundee, East (Mr. McAllion), referred to expenditure in docklands and sought to compare that adversely with--
Mr. Wilson : On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. The House was misled earlier and I have drawn attention to that. The Secretary of State, having looked for a reference to cancel out my point, came back with another reference to the article. In doing so, he sought, for the benefit of the press, to devalue the report to which my hon. Friend the Member for Glasgow, Garscadden (Mr. Dewar) referred. I have now found the article which the Secretary of State claimed establishes his case, but it made no reference to the report. Let me quote the last paragraph.
"The State of our Nation in this last decade of the century is poor, and getting worse. The pity is that so few recognise it and fewer still are ready to address it."
Mr. Deputy Speaker : Order. That is a point for debate, not a point of order.
Mr. Dewar : I have not had time to study the article, but I want to be clear what the Minister of State is saying. Is he telling me that the article of 30 December by Alastair Balfour specifically referred to the document from which I was quoting and deals with its contents?
Mr. Lang : My right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State said that the substance of the article-- [Interruption.] The hon. Gentleman may check that in Hansard. But as the substance of the report is incorrect, and as it was not accepted by the Scottish Development Agency-- [Interruption.]
Sir Hector Monro (Dumfries) : On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. Are you not going to reprimand the hon. Member for Cunninghame, North (Mr. Wilson) for throwing a newspaper across the Dispatch Box?
Mr. Deputy Speaker : I am sure that the hon. Member for Cunninghame, North (Mr. Wilson) regrets the action that he has just taken and I hope that he will feel it appropriate to apologise to the House.