HC Deb 09 November 1981 vol 12 cc298-9
11. Mr. Charles R. Morris

asked the Secretary of State for Industry what financial support under the Industry Acts has been received by Laurence Scott Ltd. of Openshaw, Manchester.

Mr. MacGregor

None, Sir.

Mr. Morris

If such an application for aid is sought, will the Minister bear in mind that my constituents find great difficulty in understanding the positive eagerness that this company has for closing down a factory that had an order book valued in excess of £2 million? Will the Minister also bear in mind that its mad escapade with helicopters has not endeared it to my constituents?

Mr. MacGregor

The original decision was for the company, in view of all the commercial considerations. Any request for financial assistance will be considered against the usual, standard criteria.

Mr. Eastham

Can the Minister comment on the view held by many people in industry that the Government should re-think their policy towards firms engaged in asset-stripping? Is the Minister aware that the company in question has a deplorable record? Is it not time for the introduction of legislation to impose penalties on companies as well as financial benefits?

Mr. MacGregor

The hon. Gentleman will know that the company was engaged in a rationalisation process and that facilities were transferred to other plants within the company.

Mr. John Garrett

Will the Minister condemn the action of this outrageously bad employer, which has done so much damage to industrial employment in Norwich and Manchester?

Mr. MacGregor

The company is trying, in a difficult market, to pull itself round. I do not think that such remarks help at all.