HC Deb 01 July 1971 vol 820 cc562-3
11. Mr. Tilney

asked the Secretary of State for Employment what estimate he has made of the effect on employment in the sugar refineries on Merseyside should the United Kingdom join the Common Market.

Mr. David Howell

It would be difficult to make a precise estimate but it seems likely that entry into the Common Market will not adversely affect the employment position in British refineries.

Mr. Tilney

Is my hon. Friend aware that six trade unions are much worried at possible redundancies in the sugar cane refineries? If there is to be any redundancy, will he see that it is in the rich South-East and not in the development areas of Merseyside and Scotland?

Mr. Howell

I am aware of the worries about this matter, but the settlement on Commonwealth sugar as a result of the negotiations will largely safeguard refinery supplies of raw sugar, and I assure my hon. Friend that these fears are unfounded.

Mr. Heffer

As the hon. Member for Liverpool, Wavertree (Mr. Tilney) said, the workers, particularly those in Tate and Lyle, Liverpool, are concerned about the future of their employment. Incidentally, they are not in favour of any sugar refinery workers being sacked, either in the South-East or in Liverpool. Will the hon. Gentleman give a firm assurance that there will not be any redundancies as a result of Britain's entry into the E.E.C.?

Mr. Howell

I can assure the hon. Gentleman that from the point of view of refinery supplies of sugar there is no need for concern. Supplies will be assured under the Commonwealth Sugar Agreement up to 1974, and after that will be safeguarded by negotiation and by undertakings. From that point of view there should be no need for worry.