asked the Minister for the Co-ordination of Defence whether his attention has been called to the closing down of the foundry department of Messrs. John Brown and Company, Yeovil, with the consequent displacement of some hundreds of skilled and semi-skilled men; and whether, in the light of the urgent need for pushing on with the Government's rearmament programme, and that this firm are doing war work for the Government, he will take steps to keep these works open?
I presume that the hon. Member is referring to the foundry formerly belonging to Petters, Limited, at Yeovil. The Westland Aircraft Company, who are now in association with John Brown and Company, have acquired the premises formerly occupied by Petters, Limited, and these premises will be extended for a greatly enlarged air- craft programme. The foundry, which which was part of Petters, Limited, has become redundant and a great part of the plant has been acquired by the Brush Electric Company and will be transferred to their premises at Loughborough, where some of the foundry workers are likely to find employment. The remainder of the men, if suitable, will have opportunities of employment by the Westland Aircraft Company at Yeovil. I would add that the requirements of cast iron in connection with the rearmament programme are small, and that there is ample foundry capacity available in the country to meet them.