HC Deb 01 July 1997 vol 297 c74W
Mr. Burns

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what help he will make available to defence-related companies in the Chelmsford area to diversify into non-military activities to offset redundancies in the defence industry; [3784]

(2) what help his Department will make available to employees of Marconi Communications in Chelmsford who have been made redundant to help them retrain and get back into work; and if he will make a statement. [3786]

Mr. Spellar

[holding answer 16 June 1997]: I have met with the hon. Member to discuss this matter. I understand that he has also raised with the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Small Business, Trade and Industry the question of what help can be made available in the fields of retraining and assistance. The Ministry of Defence does not currently have a role in such measures. However, I hope that in the future our developing policy towards defence diversification will offer some help in similar situations. As I told the House on 16 June, the Government will be making proposals in the autumn on how best to give effect to the objectives for defence diversification as outlined in our manifesto.