To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what studies have been undertaken with regard to transfer of the avionic repair department from RAF Carlisle to RAF Sealand.
This matter is currently under consideration by the chief executive of the maintenance group defence support agency.
During last Thursday's visit to Carlisle, my hon. Friend the Member for Rhondda (Mr. Rogers) and I were very impressed by the quality of the work, and by the efficiency and dedication of the work force at the station. However, there was grave concern about the future of the avionic department there. It is well known that the appraisal has been carried out and that the information is with the Minister. The 100 employees and their families will be disappointed to hear today that the Government are putting off their decision until after the election. The Minister is hiding behind red tape. If he does not take the decision before the election and if the Conservatives are re-elected, I am afraid that we shall lose another 100 jobs in Carlisle.
As I have said, that is all up to the chief executive. We await any proposals to come from him, and we have had no proposals so far. I remind the hon. Gentleman that we are talking about fewer than 100 jobs out of the 1,000 people who are employed at Carlisle.
Will my right hon. Friend confirm that any study of avionic repair facilities does not affect the Royal Naval aircraft yard at Fleetlands in my constituency? Will my right hon. Friend confirm that he recognises the outstanding work done at Fleetlands?
I would, indeed, pay tribute to the work done at Fleetlands, and there is certainly no question of the avionic repairs at Carlisle having any effect on Fleetlands.