§ 2. Mr. Swingler
asked the Minister of Supply what steps have been taken by his Department for the benefit of workers of the Royal Ordnance factories at Radway Green and Swynnerton to organise the production of civil goods.
§ Mr. Aubrey Jones
The suitability of the equipment at Radway Green for civil work is very limited, but some orders have been obtained and I have every prospect of being able to maintain employment there. As I explained in reply to the hon. Member's Question on 15th July, the Swynnerton Factory is no longer needed for defence purposes and is being closed.
§ Mr. Swingler
Though good work has been done in finding alternative jobs for 811 many Swynnerton workers, is the Minister aware that many workers in Swynnerton, which we know is being closed down, and Radway Green remain redundant and unable to find jobs, which is causing tension, and will he pursue vigorously, as he promised to do, the placing of contracts by British Railways for Radway Green?
§ Sir A. V. Harvey
As an alternative, would my right hon. Friend consider letting out part of the factory to private firms, if they were interested to take up such accommodation, in which to manufacture civil goods?
§ 4. Mr. Callaghan
asked the Minister of Supply what was the cost of installing the facilities for machining graphite blocks at the Royal Ordnance Factory, Cardiff; to what extent the machines are now idle; and what efforts have been made to ensure that the four groups now constructing nuclear power stations use these facilities.
§ Mr. Aubrey Jones
The answers to the first two parts of the Question are £32,000 and about 40 per cent., respectively. The expenditure was largely incurred in transferring and adapting machinery which the Department already possessed. The military demand for this work is a fluctuating one and it is desirable to even out the fluctuations with civil work. To this end, my Department is trying to secure orders from the industrial groups to which the hon. Member refers.
§ Mr. Callaghan
Can the Minister say why these groups have refused to use these facilities? Is it true that they themselves are duplicating facilities? Is the Minister aware that because of this 812 situation a very strong report was circulating in Cardiff at the weekend that the Royal Ordnance Factory there is to be closed down? Will he please reassure us about this and indicate once again that there is no intention of closing down this factory?
§ Mr. Jones
I do not think it is right to say that the industrial consortia have refused all offers in this respect. Negotiations are still in progress. For my part, I should welcome the placing of orders here, and I should certainly deprecate the duplication of facilities which are already in existence.