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Volume 456: debated on Tuesday 30 January 2007

I beg to ask leave to move the Adjournment of the House, under Standing Order No. 24, to discuss a specific and important matter that should have urgent consideration, namely,

the shutting down of the Ayrshire plants of Simclar in my constituency and that of my hon. Friend the Member for North Ayrshire and Arran (Ms Clark) and, as important, the decimation of the electronics industry in Scotland and throughout the United Kingdom.

I thank you, Mr. Speaker, for allowing me to raise the issue today. Closing the two plants in north Ayrshire has been a body blow to the local area’s employment. We can be sure that it will immediately cost some 500 jobs, and some commentators have estimated that the real effect will raise that figure to 1,000 or even more. That is the equivalent of the loss of 4,000 jobs in Glasgow.

The subject is far from being a local issue. I feel duty bound to point out that it is simply the latest in a line of crushing announcements about the Scottish electronics and manufacturing industry. In recent weeks, the closure of a company in Dundee was announced. Closures have also been announced in places as diverse as Edinburgh, South and Inverclyde. It is a tragedy for such events to happen in silicon glen. The unemployment that that will create is surely important nationally. However, the paramount issue is that common causes are at work.

Scotland’s—and, indeed, the United Kingdom’s—ability to remain competitive in the global market is surely a salient issue that needs to be addressed. The jobs that are to be axed immediately by the company will reputedly be transferred to a location in south America. This latest catastrophe should be the signal not only for action in Ayrshire but for a full debate on the prospects for similar businesses across the whole of the United Kingdom. It is our duty to review the environment that we provide for this crucial sector of business, and to act accordingly or face similar repetitions until there is little left.

As a result of this closure in my constituency, some 420 skilled men and women will be looking for work, with limited options at their disposal and little hope of finding employment in a similar or even related field anywhere in the United Kingdom. Many questions surrounding the closure of Simclar need to be answered, and I believe that the House should have the opportunity to question Ministers on this subject at the earliest possible time.

I have listened carefully to what the hon. Gentleman has said, and I have to give my decision without stating any reasons. I am afraid that I do not consider the matter that he has raised appropriate for discussion under Standing Order No. 24. I cannot therefore submit the application to the House.