§ 4.9 pm
§ Mr. Donald Dewar (Glasgow, Garscadden)
I beg to ask leave to move the Adjournment of the House, under Standing Order No. 10, for the purpose of discussing a specific and important matter that should have urgent consideration, namely,the future of British Steel's Gartcosh works following the decision of the Select Committee on Scottish Affairs not to make any report on the threatened closure of the plant.I need hardly delay the House by establishing the importance of the issue. The steel industry is a fundamental bulwark of Scotland's economy. We believe that the closure of Gartcosh would seriously damage the future of that industry and leave Ravenscraig weakened and exposed. If Gartcosh were to close, there would be a direct and immediate loss of more than 700 jobs in the constituency of my hon. Friend the Member for Monklands, West (Mr. Clarke) who has fought hard and valiantly on this issue.
The wider implications for the Scottish economy and the steel industry would be frightening. I submit that this matter is specific because the threat to Gartcosh is naked and real. It has been sharpened by yesterday's unfortunate events in the Scottish Affairs Select Committee. To the dismay of almost everyone in Scotland, a draft report positively recommending a new lease of life for the plant was suddenly wrecked by an apparent U-turn by certain Conservative Members.
The matter is urgent because there was an understanding on both sides of the House that the Select Committee report would be taken into account and be an important influence on the Government's decision whether Gartcosh should be linked with Ravenscraig and be covered by the admittedly short-term, but still important, guarantee given to the main plant.
The Select Committee's decision not to report may encourage British Steel management to take steps over Christmas which could bury all hope for the plant.
I appreciate that there are opportunities to raise these questions on the Floor of the House next week but it is essential that the House has a chance to express its views on this matter in the Lobby. This is a vital matter—not just what happened in the Select Committee yesterday, although that is important. It is essentially about the future of the steel industry in Scotland. We face a massive unemployment problem today and we are determined to continue the fight for jobs in Scotland.
§ Mr. Speaker
The hon. Member for Glasgow, Garscadden (Mr. Dewar) asks leave to move the Adjournment of the House for the purpose of discussing a specific and important matter that he thinks should have urgent consideration, namely,the future of British Steel's Gartcosh works following the decision of the Select Committee on Scottish Affairs not to make any report on the threatened closure of the plant.I listened yesterday and today with great care to the exchanges across the Chamber, but I regret that I do not consider the matter which the hon. Gentleman has raised is appropriate for discussion under Standing Order No. 10 and therefore I cannot submit his application to the House.