HC Deb 11 March 1957 vol 566 cc801-2
50. Mrs. Castle

asked the Minister of Supply whether, in view of the fact that 322 workers at the Royal Ordnance Factory, Blackburn, have been declared redundant, he will make a statement on the future of this factory.

The Minister of Supply (Mr. Aubrey Jones)

The redundancy of 374 workers recently announced at the Royal Ordnance Factory, Blackburn, has been caused by a fall in the Services' requirements of ammunition. As far as can now be foreseen, the factory should continue to operate at its reduced strength.

Mrs. Castle

Is the Minister aware that the employment exchange at Blackburn has stated that it will be extremely difficult to ensure that these 300 women will be absorbed locally, and that there is great anxiety in the Royal Ordnance Factory about its future? Will he give an undertaking that all munitions work in future will be channelled through the Royal Ordnance factories and not through private factories, and that, in order to keep Royal Ordnance factory workers fully employed, orders for new weapons are placed with them?

Mr. Jones

Yes, Sir. I will gladly give that assurance. I am very conscious of the fact that at the moment when Service requirements have to be contracted, it is highly important to preserve the morale of munitions workers and of the Royal Ordnance factories in general.