§ Mr. Adam Ingram (East Kilbride)
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 future of the national engineering laboratory at East Kilbride.The Government announced today in a written answer that they propose to restructure and privatise one of the world's foremost research establishments. That will mean more than 200 jobs being lost in a key area of innovative industrial and engineering research. Employees remaining in the restructured organisation will be compulsorily transferred out of the Civil Service, with a loss of pension rights and certain conditions of service.
The national engineering laboratory is a world leader in future developments such as alternative energy, biotechnology and robotics—and every area of industry has gained from its work. Vehicles, ships, construction, manufacturing, new materials, oil rigs, pumps, fans and even sports equipment have all been improved by the laboratory's innovative and speculative research, which will all be put at risk by the Government's decision.
Instead of having dynamic, self-motivating research teams working at the forefront of technological change, research will be undertaken only on the basis of what profit there is in it. The overall good done to British industry by the laboratory's work will no longer be an overriding feature.
The national engineering laboratory is an important public resource established to benefit all of British industry. That resource is destroyed by the Government's announcement, which was sneaked through on the back of a written answer—showing contempt for the NEL's work force and complete disregard for the future of this country's manufacturing industry.
§ Mr. Speaker
The hon. Gentleman 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 future of the national engineering laboratory at East Kilbride.I listened with care to what the hon. Gentleman said, but, as he knows, my sole duty in considering an application under Standing Order No. 20 is to decide whether it should be given priority over the business set down for this evening or for tomorrow. I regret that I do not consider that the matter that he has raised is appropriate for discussion under Standing Order No. 20 and I cannot, therefore, submit his application to the House. I hope that he will find other means of bringing the matter before the House.