HC Deb 30 April 1969 vol 782 cc1416-7
13. Mr. Gordon Campbell

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he will take further action to alleviate the effects of the decision now made to close, before the end of the year, the locomotive works at Inverurie.

Mrs. Gwyneth Dunwoody

I would refer the hon. Member to the reply to his similar Question given by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Scotland on 21st April, 1969.—[Vol. 782, c. 35.]

Mr. Gordon Campbell

Does the hon. Lady realise that the announcement of the complete closure in so short a time, resulting in the loss of a great many jobs, is contrary to what many of those concerned in the area had been led by the Government to expect? Why have the Government not decided to designate this area as a special development area?

Mrs. Dunwoody

We are very sympathetic to the problem of everyone in Inverurie. That is why there has been a very special publicity campaign carried out in order to find suitable firms which could possibly take up the skilled workers. This is, I think, the important thing, and we are very encouraged by the sort of replies we have got. I think that this is the practical way of dealing with the situation at the moment, and far better than talking about designating the area as a special development area.

Mr. Simon Mahon

Is the hon. Lady aware that in a case like this men are treated as economic ciphers and units of production, and that they are getting very tired of it? Will she instruct the authorities concerned to treat these people, who have given a lifetime to industry, with more sympathy, and human dignity?

Mrs. Dunwoody

I can assure my hon. Friend that we have the interests of the people of Inverurie very much at heart. We recognise that this is a very specific and difficult problem. We are undertaking unusual methods to try to deal with it, and we hope very soon to see a complete change in the situation.