HC Deb 26 July 1971 vol 822 cc29-30
38. Mr. Charles R. Morris

asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what action he proposes to take to provide alternative employment for redundant steel workers at the British Steel Corporation plant at Openshaw, Manchester.

Mr. John Davies

Problems of redeployment in Openshaw, and Manchester generally, will best be solved in the context of national growth, to which the measures announced last week by my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer are strongly directed.

Mr. Morris

Is the Secretary of State aware that steel workers in Openshaw and people in the City of Manchester took hope and encouragement from a recent reply given by the Under-Scretary of State that the Department was to be much more generous in allocating Industrial development certificates for the City of Manchester? Is he aware that that hope and encouragement has turned to consternation arising from a publication by the Department of Trade and Industry entitled "Guidelines" which indicates that these I.D.C.s for the City of Manchester are to be allocated only to existing companies and firms there? Will he explain this contradiction between the Under-Secretary's reply in an Adjournment debate and the "Guidelines" publication?

Mr. Davies

The operation of the I.D.C. policy is undertaken by the Department with the utmost flexibility, and certainly the particular requirements of the Manchester area are very much taken into account at present and will be in future. However, the hon. Gentleman will realise that, serious as they may be, the problems of Manchester are not as great as those of the development areas, which must have priority.

Sir R. Cary

Is my right hon. Friend aware that the rundown at the Irlam steelworks begins next month with the first 1,750 men? Will he make an early statement about the future of those works?

Mr. Davies

I have said several times—and I have been in contact with the Chairman of the British Steel Corporation before so doing—that the Chairman is prepared to undertake discussions with any interest which may have suggestions to put to him about mitigating the rundown to which my hon. Friend refers.

Mr. Kaufman

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. In view of the unsatisfactory nature of the Minister's reply, I beg to give notice that I will raise the matter on the Adjournment.