HC Deb 07 February 1956 vol 548 cc1489-90
25. Mr. G. Jeger

asked the President of the Board of Trade when he proposes to close down the Sussex flax mill; what plans he has for the future use of the building; and how many workers will then be employed there.

Mr. Walker-Smith

My right hon. Friend expects the flax mill at Five Ash Down, Uckfield, Sussex, to close not later than 30th June, 1956. Discussions are in progress on the disposal of the property. I am not yet in a position to say to what use it will be put or how many workers will be employed there after the work of processing flax has ceased.

Mr. Jeger

Will the hon. and learned Gentleman bear in mind that the employment difficulty in rural areas as these mills close down might occasion difficulty to the workers who are displaced? Will he ensure that adequate notice is given of the Government's intention to close down the mill so that the workers can look elsewhere for other jobs?

Mr. Walker-Smith

As I think the hon. Member knows, notice was given as long ago as 31st August, 1954, in regard to the closing of this and other flax mills. With regard to the employment position in this area, my hon. Friend the Member for East Grinstead (Mrs. Emmet), who is the Member for the constituency in which the mill is situated, has already made a constructive and practical approach in regard to this matter.