HC Deb 14 July 1959 vol 609 cc205-6
42. Sir T. Moore

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he is aware of the discharge of hundreds of skilled craftsmen by Scottish Aviation Limited, Prestwick, during the past year owing to shortage of orders; and what plans he has in mind to encourage some analogous industries to move to the district so as to prevent these craftsmen being lost to Ayrshire and Scotland.

Mr. J. Rodgers

Yes, Sir. I am aware that 180 skilled craftsmen have been discharged by Scottish Aviation Limited, Prestwick, during the past year. I am endeavouring to persuade certain firms to go to Prestwick in order to keep these skilled men in employment.

Sir T. Moore

Has my hon. Friend considered the construction of bus and coach bodies which, to some extent at any rate, would maintain the skill of these men and provide work locally?

Mr. Rodgers

That is a very interesting suggestion which I should like to look into.

Mr. Ross

I am very interested in how the Board of Trade can assist people in this way. Has the President of the Board of Trade any factories available? This is not in a Development Area or a D.A.T.A.C. Area. What exactly is the hon. Gentleman suggesting when he says he is endeavouring to interest people in this part of Prestwick? Would it not be far better if the Government stirred themselves and helped the company in its present difficulties?

Mr. Rodgers

I am prevented by the confidences of companies which I have recently seen from giving a complete answer to the hon. Gentleman. But I can assure him that I have seen at least one firm in the last few days concerned with Prestwick.