§ Mr. Dennis Canavan (Falkirk, West)
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 SBG Engineering Ltd. workshops in Falkirk in my constituency.The matter is obviously specific and it is important because it involves 150 skilled jobs in Falkirk district where about 10,000 people are already out of work. The matter deserves parliamentary attention because SBG Engineering Ltd. is a publicly owned company. It is part of the Scottish Transport group, which is accountable to the Secretary of State for Scotland who, in turn, is supposed to be accountable to the House. Furthermore, the reason for the proposed closure is the failure of the Government policies on public transport, particularly inadequate Government support, the deregulation of bus services and the threat of privatisation.
A couple of years ago I led a delegation to Michael Ancram, alias the Earl of Ancram, who was then the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Scotland. We warned him then that the Government's policies would lead to a disastrous reduction in public transport services and a disastrous reduction in job opportunities within public transport. However, he would not listen to us. [Interruption.] He lost his job at the general election but, more tragically, his policies are threatening the jobs of 150 of my constituents.
Deregulation and the threat of privatisation have meant masses of cutbacks in the size of the Scottish Bus group fleet and, therefore, an alleged over-capacity in the engineering operations that service that fleet. For some 754 inexplicable reason, SBG Engineering Ltd. has picked on the Falkirk workshops for closure despite the fact that I have been given evidence that the Falkirk operation is the most profitable of all the SBG Engineering Ltd. workshops in Scotland. I have been given important information today showing that the Scottish Bus group has been giving engineering work to the private sector. That work could have been done adequately by SBG Engineering Ltd., which is its sister company in the public sector.
I have taken up the matter with the Secretary of State for Scotland but, so far, he has failed to reply to my letter. I have also taken the matter up with Mr. Ian Irwin, the chairman of the Scottish Transport group. He has failed to answer some of the pertinent questions I put to him about the proposed closure. That information is vital to the work force in its battle to save jobs. I tried every means at my disposal to pursue the matter during the parliamentary recess, but without success. Therefore, on behalf of my constituents, I urge you, Mr. Speaker, to allow this important matter to be debated on the Floor of the House.
§ Mr. Speaker
The hon. Member for Falkirk, West (Mr. Canavan) 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 SBG Engineering Ltd, workshops in Falkirk.I have listened with concern to what the hon. Gentleman has said about the proposal to close the workshops in Falkirk. Now that the House has resumed I hope that the hon. Gentleman will find other methods of raising the matter, but I regret that it is not appropriate for discussion under Standing Order No. 20, and I cannot submit his application to the House.