HC Deb 22 February 1968 vol 759 cc639-40
35. Mr. Dickens

asked the Secretary of State for Economic Affairs what discussions he has now had with the Southern Regional Planning Council about the closure of former Associated Electrical Industries establishments in South-East London.

32. Mr. Mayhew

asked the Secretary of State for Economic Affairs if he will invite the South-East Regional Council to examine the implications for new towns in course of construction of the closure of neighbouring factories, without due warning.

Mr. Shore

The Council is keeping the regional planning implications under review, and it will certainly advise me if it considers such developments are likely to have any serious planning consequences. The Council considered the Woolwich closure yesterday and issued a statement of its views.

Mr. Dickens

Is my right hon. Friend aware that about 6,000 workers at G.E.C. factories in South-East London first heard of these closures over the factory Tannoy systems? Is not this disgraceful? Does not my hon. Friend agree that, as G.E.C. is being paid £400,000 of the taxpayers' money, the very least that we can expect of the company is that it keeps the South-East Regional Planning Council properly informed of its future policy?

Mr. Shore

My hon. Friend is absolutely right to emphasise the importance of giving the maximum possible notice, particularly in the case of large- scale closures and redundancies of this kind. He will recall that this arose out of a very recent merger and it may not have been as easy to deal with it as perhaps is the case where a firm which is already established is making redundancies. I certainly agree that it is a matter which needs further study, and the Government are conducting that study.