§ 26. Mr. Burke
asked the Minister of Aircraft Production what was the cost to the Government of the M.E.L. factory built in the North-West area for the manufacture of magnesium, now discontinued; how long was production maintained; what interest have I.C.I. in the factory; and what does the Government propose to do with the buildings and the machinery.
§ The Minister of Aircraft Production (Sir Stafford Cripps)
The factory to which my hon. Friend refers is State-owned, and cost £4,350,000. Production commenced in April, 1943, and was discontinued at the end of 1944. The factory was managed, on an agency basis, by Magnesium Elektron, Limited, whose shares are partly held by I.C.I., Limited; but neither company has any direct interest in the factory. As regards the last part of the Question, consideration is being given to possible uses for this factory; at present it is being retained on a care and maintenance basis, as stand-by capacity to be used in an emergency.
§ Mr. Burke
Will the Minister bear in mind that the local authority is very anxious to attract industries to this part of the country, where they are very much needed, and will he allow the town clerk to have some particulars about the factory, so that industrialists may have a chance to consider the place?
§ Sir S. Cripps
I have no objection to certain particulars going to the town clerk. That will be a matter, I think, for the President of the Board of Trade.
§ Mr. Kirkwood
What provision is the Minister making for the workers when they are shut out of a factory such as this? I have to deal at the moment with a factory where 1,700 workers have been put off.
§ Sir S. Cripps
My hon. Friend should address that question to my right hon. Friend the Minister of Labour.
§ Mr. Speaker
The right hon. and learned Gentleman said that the question should be addressed to the Minister of Labour.