HC Deb 27 March 1973 vol 853 cc1069-70
1. Mr. Skinner

asked the Secretary of State for Employment what redundancies have been notified that are due to take place in the Westhouses area of the Bolsover constituency in the first week of October 1973.

The Under-Secretary of State for Employment (Mr. Dudley Smith)

None, Sir. I understand, however, that British Rail is considering closing the West-houses motive power depot. Staff have been notified informally, but as formal joint consultation has not yet commenced any speculation about redundancies would be premature at this stage.

Mr. Skinner

I hope that they remain premature right through until after 1st October. Is the hon. Gentleman aware that this is an area which has been decimated by temporary closures over the past eight years and that the Blackwell Rural District Council has been painstaking in its efforts to introduce new industries into the area, to service which the depot will be needed? Will the hon. Gentleman consult the East Midlands Planning Council and his right hon. Friends concerned to see to it that this closure is averted?

Mr. Smith

I should like to look at what the hon. Gentleman says. He probably knows that these are not direct matters for me. I emphasise that no final decisison has yet been made to close the depot. But with the continuing buildup of new industry in the area and the increase in notified vacancies, the prospects for alternative employment are reasonable if it should close.

Mr. Jessel

Is it not one of the best ways of promoting employment for the area concerned to have a reputation for good labour relations and a lack of militancy? Might it not be the case that the activities of the hon. Member for Bolsover (Mr. Skinner) and the Clay Cross Council are detrimental in that respect?

Mr. Skinner

The hon. Gentleman should get his geography right. It is not in my constituency.

Mr. Smith

Good labour relations are always helpful to any district.

Mr. Skinner

Silly idiot.

Mr. Concannon

To answer the hon. Member for Twickenham (Mr. Jessel), is the Under-Secretary aware that it is well to point out that when local government elections are held in the constituency of my hon. Friend the Member for Bolsover (Mr. Skinner) there is an 80 per cent. turn-out? A lot of us would like to be able to say the same.

Mr. Smith

That hardly arises on this Question.

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