HC Deb 12 July 1983 vol 45 cc757-8
18. Mr. Eggar

asked the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the future of the royal ordnance factories.

Mr. Pattie

It remains the Government's firm intention to introduce private capital into the operation of the royal ordnance factories, as Sir John Nott explained to the House on 8 May 1982. We hope to introduce legislation after Parliament reassembles in the autumn which will allow the ROFs to operate in a more commercial environment according to the provisions of the Companies Acts, rather than under the Trading Funds Act 1973 as at present.

Mr. Eggar

Did my hon. Friend see the scurrilous and wholly misleading pamphlets issued by the unions at the ROFs during the election campaign? Will he condemn them out of hand? Will he go further and say publicly to the work force that there is no doubt that the moves announced today, and previously by Sir John Nott, will be in their interests because they will open up new markets for them?

Mr. Pattie

I will gladly say from the Dispatch Box what my hon. Friend has requested. The employment of my hon. Friend's constituents will be better safeguarded on the new basis than it has been hitherto.