§ Mr. Robert Kilroy-Silk (Ormskirk)
I beg to ask leave to move the Adjournment of the House, under Standing Order No. 9, for the purpose of discussing a specific and important matter that should have urgent consideration, namely,the threatened closure of the Courtaulds factory at Aintree, with the loss of 1,550 jobs.It is clearly a specific matter. It concerns one factory, which is to be closed not because it has a poor industrial relations record, not because it is producing an inferior product, not even because it is uncompetitive, but simply because it is being crippled by the criminally insane and callous economic policies pursued by probably the most bigoted and callous Government of the past few decades.
656 The closure of the factory and the ending of Courtaulds' Celon production in Britain are extremely important matters, not only because of the impact that that will have on the textile industry in Britain generally—which in itself is crucial and important—but because of the serious impact on my constituents, who live in an area that already suffers from an intolerably high level of unemployment. More than 15 per cent. of people in Merseyside are unemployed. In some estates in my constituency and in inner Liverpool, 40 per cent. of work-people are unemployed. In the county of Merseyside 153,000 people are chasing a mere 2,500 jobs. There have already been 7,000 job losses in only two months this year. This threatened closure follows that of Bowaters and Tate and Lyle.
It is clearly an urgent matter. Given my brief outline of the facts, we cannot afford to lose those jobs or, indeed, any others on Merseyside. It is important also because that factory—and similarly Bowaters and, to some extent, Tate and Lyle—would not have to close if only the Government would see sense and alter their economic policies. Like so many other companies, especially in the textile industry, Courtaulds' problems have been induced by the Government. It has not created the problems for itself. Its problems are those of an artificially high and damaging exchange rate, an arbitrary Government diktat, a lunatic energy policy, and ridiculous and cripplingly high interest rates. The Government are acting complacently in the face of a flood of subsidised imports. Those are matters that neither the work force nor the company can overcome. The problems are directly attributable to the Government, and only the Government can overcome them.
The matter is specific, important and urgent. It should be debated now, so that the Government can be told at first hand about the sort of problems that they are encouraging, and the problems that they are causing my constituents and many thousands of others on Merseyside. They should be told clearly and openly the way in which their dogmatic and bigoted economic policies are destroying both the future of my constituents and the industrial base of Britain. It is an appropriate issue for the House to debate, for which the Government should be held responsible and to which they must answer.
§ Mr. Speaker
The hon. Member for Ormskirk (Mr. Kilroy-Silk) gave me notice this morning before 12 o'clock that he would seek leave to move the Adjournment of the House for the purpose of discussing a specific and important matter that he believes should have urgent consideration, namely,the threatened closure of the Courtaulds factory at Aintree, with the loss of 1,550 jobs.The House listens with anxious care to such applications when they are made. I listened with great care to what the hon. Gentleman said this afternoon. The House knows that it has instructed me to give no reasons for my decisions when I rule on such applications. It knows also that I do not decide whether the matter should be debated. I simply decide whether it should be debated tonight or tomorrow. I have to rule that the hon. Gentleman's submission does not fall within the provisions of the Standing Order and, therefore, I cannot submit his application to the House.