HC Deb 01 February 1977 vol 925 cc205-6
2. Mr. Madden

asked the Secretary of State for Employment what discussions have taken place between representatives of his Department and representatives of Sona Consultants Limited, new owners of the Moderna plant in West Yorkshire, who have declared its closure and the redundancy of its 332 employees.

The Under-Secretary of State for Employment (Mr. John Golding)

Officials from my Department's regional office met representatives of Sona Consultants Ltd. on 15th December and were contacted by them on 18th January. The matters discussed on these occasions included the assistance available under the temporary employment subsidy scheme, the provisions of the Employment Protection Act relating to the handling of redundancies, the implications of the Redundancy Payments Act and the services available from the Employment Services Agency and the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service. In addition, officials of my Department arranged for ACAS to contact Sona Consultants to explain the requirements of the Contracts of Employment Act. I also met, together with Ministers of the Department of Industry, this morning, a very useful deputation led by my hon. Friend the Member for Sowerby (Mr. Madden), which included Mr. Bowe from Sona Consultants.

Mr. Madden

Does my hon. Friend agree that if this closure occurs unemployment in the locality will increase to above 20 per cent.? Is he satisfied with the co-ordination of Government Departments in this matter, and does he agree that, as this area has borne the redundancy brunt of the wool textile scheme, there is a positive need for job creation in West Yorkshire to take account of the redundancies that have resulted directly from that scheme?

Mr. Golding

We cannot quantify precisely the levels of unemployment that would be reached, although I certainly agree that there would be a substantial increase in the level. Certainly my Department will do all it can to ensure, through the Manpower Services Commission, that job training is provided for those declared redundant.