The development of the Scottish industrial estates 1936-52
Trotman-Dickenson, Donata Irena
The industrial estates sponsor- ed by the British government are of interest both as novel measures for dealing with unemployment and as tools of econo- mic planning. Their object before the Second World War was primarily to provide employment in regions which had suffered from prolonged unemployment and underemployment . After the war, as Jobs were plentiful, the main emphasis was on the diversification of industry within the areas. It was hoped that future unemployment, which might have arisen from over- dependence of the regions on a small number of industries, would be minimised. Consequently the industrial estates were to play an important role in employment policy and in the planning of industrial location.The survey of the Scottish Industrial Estates is divided into parts dealing in turn with the history, organisation, powers, finance and functions of the Scottish Industrial Estates Ltd., with the Scottish Industrial Estates and their development, and with the firms and labour on the estates. The effectiveness of the Scottish Industrial Estates in reducing unemployment and introducing new industries to Scotland is discussed. The advantages and disadvantages of the industrial estates are examined.In this report an attempt is made to show trends and to draw broad conclusions as information which would have permitted a more detailed study of the Scottish Industrial Estates was not available. The S.I.E.Ltd. and the Treasury have not been in a position to disclose facts about the finance of the company. Such information on this subject, as is presented here, has been extracted from the public records at the office of the Company Registrar, Edinburgh. Data which could be obtained about the firms on the estates from the Board of Trade, or on labour from the Ministry of Labour have been limited by the Factory Statistics Act.This study of the Scottish Industrial Estates Ltd. suggests the conclusion that the 'experiment' of establishing the government sponsored industrial estates was worth making. It does not appear however that the 'experiment' was conducted by the government in such a way that the results could be ascertained in concrete terms. More detailed information on labour and industrial would have been necessary. No information seems to have been collected on the rate of growth of the different industries in the Development Areas and in the country as a whole. it docks not appear that an effort was made to obtain information on such subjects as the production or distribution costs in various locations. Some information which has been gathered has not been released. In particular a comparison of the performance of the four industrial estates estates companies would have been interesting. The government attached great importance to the policy of establishing of the estates. The public was led to expect much of it, but the public has been given insufficient information to judge whether its expectations have been fulfilled. This is all the more regrettable because the information gathered in the course of this research points to the conclusion that the Scottish Industrial -estates have been well managed and successful. They represent a method b: which the government may control the economy without the disadvantages of directives or nationalisatton.