Archive : Parliament debates the Bathgate closure

Parliament debates the Bathgate closure

Mr Peter Shore, chief Opposition spokesman on trade and industry, said in opening the emergency debate. He said the decision meant not only the abandonment of vehicle manufacturing in Scotland, but of all efforts to reinstate BL as a major manufacturer of commercial vehicles. So long as BL remained as a group, surpluses from one part of the business could be used to help to finance the deficits of other parts.

But the Government intended to deny Bathgate and BL Trucks any extra resources and to sell off this year the jewel in its crown, Jaguar, to private enterprise. It is this decision (he said) which has inevitably posed a major crisis for BL and decisively tipped the scale against any efforts by the company, from its own resources, to continue with the Bathgate operation. That is the direct responsibility of the Government and of the Secretary of State.

There was still sufficient time before the closure of Bathgate for an independent reappraisal of the markets at home and abroad. To put BL trucks back on the road their market share should be increased by reactivating the Model 211 project and introducing new models and engines. There was still a gap in the market for a replacement for a light van and there should be a new British-built vehicle in precisely this range of commercial vehicles at Bathgate.

Keith Adams

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