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Moderna (Witney) Ltd, Mytholmroyd

Volume 927: debated on Monday 7 March 1977

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asked the Secretary of State for Industry if he has received an application from Sona Consultants Ltd. for financial assistance for a manufacturing project at Moderna, Mytholmroyd, West Yorkshire.

Yes, Sir. I am pleased to inform my hon. Friend that an application has been submitted to my regional office in Leeds this morning. This application does not, however, contain all the detailed forward trading forecasts which the Department will require to process it. The company has told the Department that it expects to be able to provide the additional information in about three weeks.

In view of the most unfortunate circumstances surrounding this takeover, will my hon. Friend give an assurance that the application will be considered by his Department as a matter of urgency? Secondly, can he say how many jobs will be provided under this proposal and by when? If this proposal is supported, will he also impose a condition to maintain production and employment at this factory? Does he not also agree that these circumstances highlight the need for a revival of Labour's proposals to introduce official trustees in situations of this kind?

Will the Minister bear in mind that if he answers two out of four questions the House will be satisfied?

I shall be as helpful as I can, Mr. Speaker. The Department will consider as speedily as it can what my hon. Friend has said, but it is a complicated application and it is for a considerable sum. Therefore, we shall need to examine the viability and funding completely. The projected employment is 150 persons by 1980, and the total project cost, including working capital, will be just over £4 million. The answer to my hon. Friend's last point about official trustees is that the powers were envisaged in Labour's programme for 1973. We shall have a further look at that.