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Scott Lithgow Dry Dock,Greenock

Volume 959: debated on Wednesday 29 November 1978

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I beg to ask leave to move the Adjournment of the House, under Standing Order No. 9, for the purpose of discussing a specific and important matter that should have urgent consideration, namely,

" the future of the Scott Lithgow dry dock at Greenock."
It is particularly important that this specific matter be discussed because of the implications for employment opportunities in an area where unemployment is already unacceptably high, not only because of the direct employment prospects involved but because shipbuilding and ship repairing on the lower reaches of the Clyde provide a means by which skilled tradesmen can carry on their trade.

This matter is particularly urgent because, under the Employment Protection Act, 50 days of the compulsory 90 days' redundancy notice has already been served and tomorrow British Shipbuilders will be meeting in Newcastle to decide the immediate fate of this dry dock. It is the wish of the work force, and, indeed, the management at Scott Lithgow, that an independent feasibility study should be undertaken. They wish to see the suspension of the remaining redundancy period so that this study can be conducted.

Already finance has been forthcoming, through SAIMA and Strathclyde regional council, to fund this feasibility study. I believe that it is urgent that the House should debate this matter so that British Shipbuilders, when it meets tomorrow, can be aware of the views of the elected Members of this House.

The hon. Lady gave me notice before 12 o'clock this morning that she would make application under Standing Order No. 9 for the House to debate the future of the Scott Lithgow dry dock.

I have listened carefully to the arguments advanced by the hon. Lady. As the House knows, I am directed to take into account all of the factors set out in the Standing Order but to give no reasons for my decisions. I regret that I cannot accede to the hon. Lady's request.