HC Deb 05 February 1987 vol 109 c1169

5.8 pm

Mr. Martin Flannery (Sheffield, Hillsborough)

I beg to move the Adjournment of the House, under Standing Order No. 20, for the purpose of disc issing a specific and important matter that should have urgent consideration.

Yesterday evening, at about 4 o'clock, in my constituency, the managing director of the Stocksbridge Engineering Steel Works announced that 600 of the work people would be made redundant. This was an appalling blow, as I shall demonstrate. This works has been famous throughout the world for a century or more. It has a work force of approximately 2,400 people and hence the redundancies are 25 per cent. of the people who work there.

This move was unexpected. I had written to the managing director the week before. In his letter back to me, he showed not the slightest sign of doing this, and said that he could not give me a definitive statement about redundancies. I had seen the shop stewards committee, and it did not know anything about it.

When one takes into account the fact that the works is situated in a small town of 10,000 people, about 10 miles from the city of Sheffield, and only came into the Sheffield, Hillsborough constituency on the reorganisation of the boundaries in the last general election, one realises that, in a town of 10,000, to have 2,400 people out of work is a sad blow. I see that my hon. Friend the Member for Barnsley, West and Penistone (Mr. McKay) is sitting here. He knows what this means to his constituency as well as to mine. It is even more appalling because the town, which is rather tenuously stretched out some miles away from Sheffield, has suffered drastically and the east end of Sheffield lies there still and silent as a result of the depredations of the Government.

The steel workers are now in the gravest difficulty. That great works is the life blood of that small town. It has slimmed down, done everything that the Government wanted and got itself moving as well as it could. It would be remiss if, as the parliamentary representative of the area and now closely connected with the area of the factory, I did not do everything in my power to draw the House's attention to what will be a tragedy for the working people of Stocksbridge Engineering, their families and the general area of Sheffield.

Mr. Speaker

The hon. Member asks 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 announcement yesterday by the management of the Stocksbridge steel works that 600 workers are to be made redundant. I have no doubt that the hon. Gentleman was right to raise this matter under Standing Order No. 20, but I regret that I do not consider that it meets the requirements of the Standing Order and I cannot, therefore, submit his application to the House.