HC Deb 27 October 1987 vol 121 c202
Mr. Speaker

We now come to an application under Standing Order No. 20.

5.15 pm
Mr. Allen Adams (Paisley, North)

A moment ago I noticed the Secretary of State for Scotland skulking behind your Chair, Mr. Speaker. Tragically, as is so often the case when we discuss Scottish matters, he seems to have disappeared once again.

The company about which I wish to speak is now called FKI, but I would be more readily understood by hon. Members if I referred to it as the Babcock power plant of Renfrew. On Friday the company announced 500 redundancies following on 500 redundancies that were announced only two months ago. That is a total of 1,000 jobs lost within three months and the work force is now reduced to 800 from its capacity at one time of 8,000. As usual, we were met by a stultifying silence from St. Andrew's house. Not a word was spoken by a single Government Minister on this very serious matter. They stood like rabbits mesmerised by a stoat and uttered not a single sound or made a single vibration.

Obviously, this is an important matter for the people who are losing their jobs and for my constituency, but it is also important for the nation as a whole. At Renfrew we had gathered together some of the finest expertise in the world in the field of power station equipment manufacture. We also had some of the finest expertise in the world in X-ray equipment and lifting gear.

My great fear is that once that expertise is dispersed to the four corners of the world—and at the moment many people are being tempted away by Arab and American money—we shall never reassemble it in one place. If that happens a great British skill which brought a considerable amount of money to this country in terms of exports will never be put together again. That is why I bring the matter to the attention of the House. For many years I brought it to the attention of the Prime Minister and the Department of Energy but to no avail. If I am lucky enough to catch your eye on Thursday, Mr. Speaker, during business questions I shall put to the Leader of the House that we should have a debate on this matter within the next week.

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 should have urgent consideration, namely, the announcement by FKI Electrics, Halifax, to render 500 people redundant at their Renfrew plant. I listened with great care to what the hon. Gentleman said and, in particular, to his last comment about business questions on Thursday. I regret that I do not consider the matter that he has raised as appropriate for discussion under Standing Order No. 20 and I cannot therefore submit his application to the House.