§ Mr. Tony Marlow Northampton, North)
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 be given urgent consideration, namely,the threatened closure of RHP in Northampton with the loss of 340 jobs.That factory is the most productive in its field. It does not pay astronomic wages. It has highly skilled employees and an exemplary record of industrial relations. Until this year it has been profitable. What is so specific and important about this threatened closure when, sadly, factories throughout Europe are closing down daily during the recession? In addition to the £300 million that it will cost the Government in redundancy payments, the probable £400 million that it will cost in unemployment pay, and the additional £¾ million—part of which could be spent on saving the factory—what is the argument for saying that the factory should be saved? It lies in the product—water pump bearings.
This factory is unique. It is the only factory in the country that makes water pump bearings. It is a very special sort of bearing. It has two rows of ball bearings inside and one race on the outside. The product requires special machinery and special skills to manufacture it.
The closure is proposed for two reasons, one of which is the recession. The other is the strength of sterling. One reason may endure, but both will not continue together. In normal circumstances one would expect a company in the private sector to rescue the factory, but there are difficulties now.
Why should we save this factory? I believe that we should do so because if we lose it we shall lose one of the two factories in the whole of Europe that can produce this piece of equipment. It has 30 per cent. of the European market. A factory in Germany has 50 per cent. of the European market. If we lose the factory, the German plant will have the monopoly in Europe. Over half the factory's products are exported—over £3 million a year. There are also severe military implications. This equipment is used in military vehicles, armoured personnel carriers and so on. If we lose the ability to make the equipment in this country, our Armed Forces will be dependent to an extent on companies outside this country. For those reasons, Mr. Speaker, I ask you to consider that we should have an emergency debate.
§ Mr. Speaker
The hon. Member gave me notice before 12 o'clock midday that he would seek leave to move the Adjournment of the House for the purpose of discussing a specific and important matter that he believes should have urgent consideration, namely,the threatened closure of RHP in Northampton with the loss of 340 jobs.626 I listened with care to what the hon. Member said. Whenever jobs are lost it is a matter of deep concern for all hon. Members. However, the House knows that I am directed to give no reasons for my decision. I have listened carefully, but I, have to rule that the hon. Member's submission does not fall within the provisions of the Standing Order and therefore I cannot submit his application to the House.