Scotland in the World: A New Perspective

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Mr. Weir: I want to make a point that is not specifically about Grangemouth but about the whole of Scottish industry. In my constituency, Glaxo is selling off a factory and running down the work force. Does the Minister have anything to say about the problems faced by Scottish industry? It is not only Grangemouth that is shedding labour.

Mr. Foulkes: I do, but it would be inappropriate and difficult to do so in the last three minutes that remain to me. The hon. Gentleman and I had a roustabout earlier, but if he has genuine points to make and wants to talk to me privately about a particular industry, as did my hon. Friend the Member for Falkirk, East, I would welcome that.

I assure my hon. Friend that the Government and the Scottish Executive will continue to promote activities in partnership to support Grangemouth. We are working very closely with our colleagues in the Executive, as he is working closely with his MSP, Cathy Peattie.

Mr. Connarty: I am grateful to my hon. Friend. His reply was excellent and thorough and gives cause for hope. However, I hear alarm bells ringing in the work force, because the promised partnership and consultation are not as good as they need to be. Can he use the good offices of the Department for Work and Pensions to bring the sides closer together and facilitate more open revelation of the plans by the management team?

Mr. Foulkes: I certainly undertake to discuss that further with my hon. Friend outside the Committee. In the meantime, I assure him that activities on the site will focus on the continuing safety of the operation and the needs of the work force, their families and the surrounding community, all of whom are likely to be affected by the redundancies.

I am convinced that the necessary plans are in place to ensure that the operations at Grangemouth can continue within a safe environment and create the maximum benefit for the local communities. As my hon. Friend knows, I plan to visit the site in the near future. I look forward to him joining me on that occasion, and assure him that I will continue to work closely with him, his colleague Cathy Peattie and the Scottish Executive to ensure that his concerns are dealt with.

Question put and agreed to.

Adjourned accordingly at twenty-nine minutes past One o'clock.

The following Members attended the Committee:
Adams, Mrs. Irene (Chairman)
Barrett, John
Begg, Miss
Bruce, Malcolm
Cairns, David
Carmichael, Mr.
Clark, Dr. Lynda
Clarke, Mr. Tom
Connarty, Mr.
Dalyell, Mr.
Donohoe, Mr.
Doran, Mr.
Duncan, Mr. Peter
Ewing, Annabelle
Foulkes, Mr.
Joyce, Mr.
Kirkwood, Mr.
Lazarowicz, Mr.
Liddell, Mrs.
Lyons, Mr.
McAvoy, Mr.
MacDougall, Mr.
McFall, Mr.
McGuire, Mrs.
McKechin, Ann
McKenna, Rosemary
Moonie, Dr.
Moore, Mr.
Murphy, Mr. Jim
Osborne, Sandra
Reid, Mr. Alan
Robertson, Angus
Robertson, John
Ross, Mr.
Salmond, Mr.
Savidge, Mr.
Sheridan, Jim
Smith, Sir Robert
Stewart, Mr. David
Thurso, John
Tynan, Mr.
Weir, Mr.
Wishart, Pete

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Prepared 28 November 2001