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Craigen's dismay at Metal Box closure

AS the recession of the early 1980s hit and jobs were lost all over Scotland, tempers were at times understandably frayed.

The closure with the loss of 215 jobs at Metal Box's Glasgow beer can factory due to increased competition, particularly from America, led local Labour MP Jim Craigen to have a meeting with the Prime Minister at Westminster.

Downing Street explained in a note to the Scottish Office how Mrs Thatcher explained to Mr Craigen that the company felt its Glasgow factory would never be profitable and costs were lower at its Carlisle site.

Even with Government assistance, it would not be possible for Metal Box to make a profit in Glasgow, she said.

Mr Craigen forcefully pointed out that male unemployment in his constituency was running at 30%, which was causing social problems, with crime on the up. He told the PM how many of his constituents were even contemplating emigrating to Canada and Australia.

"Before Mr Craigen left," the note said, "the PM emphasised she did not want to raise any false hopes ... she could give no promise of a happy outcome."

To which Mr Craigen replied that he was "not wheeled up the Clyde in a barrow" and he was "no daft".

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