HC Deb 16 October 2001 vol 372 c1051 3.34 pm
Mr. Peter Pike (Burnley)

I beg to ask leave to move the Adjournment of the House, under Standing Order No. 24, for the purpose of discussing a specific and important matter that should have urgent consideration, namely, the major announcement, made within the past two hours by the Michelin management, that production will cease at their Burnley factory in March next year, with the effect of causing 452 people to lose their employment in Burnley. Patrick Lepercq, Michelin Tyre managing director, and John Lancaster, manager at the Burnley factory, broke that serious and tragic news in Burnley today. Michelin opened its factory in Burnley in 1960; it was the company's second tyre factory in the United Kingdom, the first being the Stoke factory, which opened in the 1920s. Stoke has ceased tyre production—the announcement was made last year—but is to lose another 280 jobs as a result of the latest announcement. The factory in Burnley produced smaller truck tyres.

The news is a major blow to the area, and it is a sad blow to John Lancaster, who has been in touch with me for some time and trying to find a solution to the problems in the tyre industry. He would be the first to say that had it not been for the co-operation of the work force and the unions on site, production would have ceased some years ago. However, that is no consolation to those in Burnley who face the loss of their job, or to their families.

The problem in Burnley is made worse by the fact that it is heavily dependent on the manufacturing sector and aerospace, which are dominant local industries. Other redundancies have already been announced this week at Hurel Hispano and, as we all know, the future looks grim in the aerospace industry at present. Those issues are crucial to Michelin workers, the people of Burnley and the whole manufacturing sector, which is vital to the United Kingdom economy. A debate on the implications of the announcement and the way forward for manufacturing is urgently needed.

Mr. Speaker

I have listened carefully to the hon. Gentleman, and have to give my decision without stating any reasons. I am afraid that I do not consider that the matter that he raised is appropriate for discussion under Standing Order No. 24. I cannot, therefore, submit his application to the House.