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Ferrous Foundry Scheme

Volume 927: debated on Monday 7 March 1977

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asked the Secretary of State for Industry how much money has now been given out in aid under the ferrous foundry scheme to date in each of the development areas.

Up to the end of February the following amounts, to the nearest £1,000, had been offered to companies in development—including special development—areas:

Northern Region3,149,000
North-West Region31,000
South-West Region57,000
A total of £7¼ million has also been offered to companies in intermediate areas. Actual payments so far have been quite small since they are made only when expenditure has taken place.

In view of the large number of foundry workers who are either unemployed or on short-time working in places such as Denny, Dunipace, Dennyloanhead and Bonnybridge and elsewhere in my constituency, and as this situation is likely to deteriorate with the withdrawal of regional employment premium and the cuts in public expenditure, which will cause the loss of local government contracts, will my hon. Friend consider extending the ferrous foundry scheme to give help to these workers, particularly those in smaller foundries?

The scheme closed on 31st December. Certainly we think that it is a massive scheme of assistance. The fact that expenditure has started only in a very small sort of way and that there is considerable expenditure yet to come would, I should have thought, be an indication of considerable help to the foundry industry.

With regard to the ending of REP, as my right hon. Friend the Chancellor announced, there has been a further expenditure of £80 million on forms of selective assistance. We hope that this selective assistance will make up for and be more effective than the general across-the-board allocation of REP. I recognise and acknowledge the great concern that my hon. Friend has shown, but the foundry scheme has been aimed selectively at improving the efficiency of the foundry industry.