HC Deb 22 May 1973 vol 857 cc199-200
11. Sir G. Nabarro

asked the Minister of State for Defence whether he will make a statement concerning the increase in employment at the Royal Radar Establishment at Malvern, consequent upon the closure of the RRE at Pershore; how many Pershore employees are being transferred to Malvern; how many are being transferred to Farnborough and elsewhere; and what are the net redundancies anticipated at Pershore after all re-employment arrangements.

Mr. Ian Gilmour

Until the individuals affected by the rationalisation decisions, including the closure of Pershore to flying, have indicated their intentions by completing a questionnaire, I am unable to improve on the estimates which my hon. Friend has been given. These estimates showed that the total number of new jobs created in the Malvern area will be greater than the number of men likely to be declared redundant.

Sir G. Nabarro

I thank my hon. Friend for that reassuring reply. Will he convey these details to the disquieted persons of Pershore who have been under the impression through the joint consultation machinery that they are about to lose their jobs? Will he emphasise to them that the maximum redundancy which can occur at Pershore and elsewhere in the RREs is of the order of 200 and no more, and that probably Malvern will take up that number and provide a greater number of opportunities in future?

Mr. Gilmour

I am grateful for what my hon. Friend has said. I am sorry that there has been a misunderstanding. As he knows, there was full consideration with the staff side, but there should not be many redundancies. It will be possible to go into greater detail when the questionnaires have been filled in. which should be in a month or so.

Mr. Dalyell

What are the effects on employment at the Royal Radar Establishment of laser weapon development? Are today's Press reports substantially correct?

Mr. Gilmour

I do not think today's Press reports will have any effect on employment at the Royal Radar Establishment.

Mr. Churchill

Will my hon. Friend consider the situation at Farnborough before transferring any flying from Pershore to Farnborough, particularly in view of its situation which is within three miles of the Heathrow control zone and in view of the fact that large numbers of light aircraft are routed between the London zone and Farnborough? This is an area of intense activity in terms of civil, military and general aviation. Surely it is not a satisfactory solution to bring more military aircraft under radar control into this area.

Mr. Gilmour

As my hon. Friend knows, we considered this matter carefully before we went into consultation and then announced our decision. Even after the transfer of any flying from Pershore to Farnborough, the level of flying will still be less than it was five years ago.