On 10th June a debate in Westminster Hall took place on the company Carcraft, which went into administration before the the General Election and saw the loss of 37 jobs at their showroom in Enfield North.
Please find my interventions on the debate below. For the full Hansard report on the debate here: http://goo.gl/DLHL9L
Joan Ryan (Enfield North) (Lab): I, too, congratulate my hon. Friend on securing the debate, which affects people in Enfield North and their work. I have found it very difficult to get any information from anybody—the administrators or the solicitors who seek to bring a group action—about the former employees, and I am concerned about what is happening to them. They were left high and dry and given no information by the company, and they will now need support to find employment. We cannot turn the clock back and bring the company back, but those former employees deserve some support. I have had difficulty finding out the number of people involved and what has happened since in order to be able to give them that support. Does my hon. Friend have any further information? I hope that the Minister will also address the matter.
Joan Ryan (Enfield North) (Lab): I am not sure that this issue would be on the agenda at all if it was not for my hon. Friend the Member for Heywood and Middleton (Liz McInnes) securing this debate, which is a matter of concern. I am keen to hear what the Minister, or her predecessor, knew of this situation. I was not here in the last Parliament, and we only got notice of this closure a week before the general election, so the timing is extremely difficult and it is very hard for anyone to be abreast of this situation.
This issue could have easily just disappeared, and yet we are talking about a big company and a lot of jobs. To echo what my hon. Friend the Member for Rochdale (Simon Danczuk) has said, on behalf of customers and employees of Carcraft, I am very concerned about the points raised by my hon. Friend the Member for Heywood and Middleton about how long it was known that the company was in major financial difficulties, how little notice was given to employees and how little discussion there seems to have been with them. One would have expected the company to feel some smidgen of loyalty to these people; I am quite surprised at how cavalier it seems to have been. I might be harsh in saying that, and I am willing to be corrected, but on the face of it, and given the information we have received, it does not seem that I am being particularly harsh.
I hope that we will get a lot more information to take back to our constituencies, so that our constituents who are customers or employees of this company are not left high and dry. There is some local awareness of this issue, and interest in what is happening, and hopefully customers and employees now feel that there is somewhere that they can raise their issues. However, we need more information.
I pay tribute to BEN; I, too, have also been in touch with it, and I am impressed by its proactive approach and the support it is providing. If it was not for BEN, I am not sure that anybody would be providing any support, and if it was not for my hon. Friend the Member for Heywood and Middleton, I am not sure that anybody would be talking about this issue, which is of real concern.