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Factory Closure (Moreton)

Business of the House – in the House of Commons at 11:23 am on 13th January 2011.

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Application for emergency debate (Standing Order No. 24 )

Photo of Angela Eagle Angela Eagle Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury 12:19 pm, 13th January 2011

I beg to ask leave to move the Adjournment of the House under Standing Order No. 24 in order to debate a matter that requires specific and urgent consideration: the decision announced yesterday by Burton's Foods to end production of biscuits at its Moreton site, with the loss of 342 jobs.

The biscuit factory in Moreton is the largest private sector employer in my constituency. For well over half a century that factory has provided employment and security for many of my constituents living in Moreton and Leasowe. Entire families work there, often with more than one generation on the production line. The company has been the beneficiary of millions of pounds of regional selective assistance from the national Government, and of rates rebates from the local authority for the Moreton plant.

The company had announced a supply chain review last year, but just days into what we all know will be a very difficult year it has dropped a bombshell on Moreton. Despite an agreement to guarantee work until 2012 and develop the factory into a flagship site, and despite years of the work force delivering productivity increases and accepting pay freezes and new working practices, the company has abandoned its Moreton work force. It plans to implement the first job losses in May and to close the entire plant by the end of the year.

It would be an understatement if I were to say that my constituents feel betrayed by that decision. I entirely associate myself with their emotions, because I share them, and I urge the company to think again. In November, there were 16 people chasing every job vacancy in Wallasey. Since then, the local authority has announced 371 job losses, with 764 more under active consideration this year alone. The private sector is clearly not leading the revival, and I should welcome the opportunity to discuss those issues further in the House.

Photo of John Bercow John Bercow Chair, Speaker's Committee for the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority, Chair, Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, Speaker of the House of Commons, Speaker of the House of Commons

I have listened carefully to the hon. Lady's application. As she knows and the House will appreciate, I am required to state my decision without giving reasons. I am not satisfied that this matter should be the subject of an emergency debate.