§ Mr. Matthew Taylor (Truro)
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 withdrawal of Government support for Carnon Consolidated.The Government are ending their financial support to Cornwall's last tin mines, Wheal Jane and South Crofty, which will mean 415 redundancies and the end of tin mining in Cornwall. The decision of the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry—it is his personal decision—to cut the lifeline to the tin mines is appalling. It comes as a tragic blow to all those concerned about the mines, and in particular to those who will lose their jobs.
The Government had promised a further £4 million loan to the mines, but suddenly broke the commitment unexpectedly late last Friday. As they had invested £23 million in the mines so far, to pull out now just to save £4 million is senseless and, considering the social security benefits and redundancy payments that will flow from this, it is hard to see any logic in it.
Tin is at its lowest price ever, and the position can only improve. As a result of the Secretary of State's decision, the mines will not be given a chance. Wheal Jane will be flooded, which will make it unopenable, and South Crofty will go on a care and maintenance basis, which will leave none of the existing employees with an outlook for secure employment. Those job losses are especially tragic because they are unnecessary and come at a time when job prospects in Cornwall are extremely bad. It is a sad day for those who will be made redundant, and my sympathy goes to them and their families.
The Government have behaved disgracefully and irresponsibly. For more than a year, they have engaged in discussions with the management of the mines about how to keep the mines open. Suddenly and unexpectedly to withdraw support, late on a Friday afternoon when no representations could be made and without notice, can be described only as disgusting. The Government deserve to be held in contempt. They should have to come to the House to explain their action. I would have expected them to make a statement, but as they will not do so, I hope that you, Mr. Speaker, will bring them to the Dispatch Box to justify their decision.
§ Mr. Speaker
The hon. Member for Truro (Mr. Taylor) 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 withdrawal of Government support for Carnon Consolidated.Again, I regret that I must give the hon. Member the same answer that I gave the hon. Member for Motherwell, South (Dr. Bray). I regret that the matter does not meet the requirements of the Standing Order, so I cannot submit his application to the House. In the light of what he said, I hope that he will have other opportunities to bring the matter before the House.