§ Mr. Allen McKay (Barnsley, West and Penistone)
I beg to ask leave to move the Adjournment of the House. under Standing Order No. 20, for the purpose of discussing a specific and important matter that should have urgent consideration, namely,the proposed closure of Redbrook-Woolley collieries complex.The matter is specific because it relates to British Coal in general and to my area in particular. It is urgent because of the loss of 1,300 jobs.
The complex came into being during the past six years. North Gawber colliery disappeared. Levels of management were placed at either end of the complex. Woolley colliery is in the constituency of my hon. Friend the Member for Wakefield (Mr. Hinchliffe), who will make his maiden speech today if he catches your eye, Mr. Speaker, and will probably refer to it in more detail than I can in my application.
While the complex was coming into being, manpower was run down, surface installations were closed, and Dodworth colliery was closed. The men travelled via Redbrook. Almost 1,000 jobs were taken out and £20.;million was spent in Redbrook on deepening, sinking and widening shafts. Surface installations, showers and lockers, car parks and lamp rooms were built. The trade unions co-operated fully with the management in that. The material travelled underground to a new huge washer that cost £46 million.
Originally, the collieries of Caphouse, Emley Moor, Dodworth, Newmillerdam, North Gawber, and Bullcliffe Wood were included in the project. However, I accept that orders change as do systems, but it must be asked why, after six and a half years, when the paint is hardly dry, this has come about. We now have only three collieries in the area, Denby Grange, Calder and Park Mill. The total cost of refurbishment was about £150 million. We have the best mining engineers and the best miners in the world and we have to ask why this has happened. More importantly, what will happen to the capital cost of the project? Will it be spent on the existing collieries, because if it is not they will close.
I am seeking the debate so that we can look at the area, consider the capital cost and examine how, by working with the board and the union in a positive way, we can save the collieries under threat of closure and ensure that all existing collieries survive.
§ Mr. Speaker
The hon. Member for Barnsley, West and Penistone (Mr. McKay) asks leave to move the Adjournment of the House, under Standing Order No. 20, for the purpose of discussing a specific and important matter that he believes should have urgent consideration, namely,the proposed closure of Redbrook-Woolley collieries complex with the loss of 1,300 jobs.I can well understand the impact that the closure will have on the hon. Gentleman's constituency, but I regret that the matter he has raised is not appropriate for discussion under Standing Order No. 20 and that I cannot submit his application to the House.