GOVERNMENT officials are investigating the closure of two Huddersfield area textile firms.
Department of Trade and Industry officials are probing the shutting down of Globe Worsted at Slaithwaite and Huddersfield Fine Worsted, of Kirkheaton.
Both firms were put into voluntary administration last August by the parent group, Leeds-based Hartley Investment Trust.
The move shocked employees as both firms were trading profitably and had strong orders.
Globe Worsted later closed - with the loss of all 120 jobs - after administrators failed to find a buyer.
Most of HFW's 140-strong workforce were also made redundant after administrators sold its sales arm, but could not sell its manufacturing operation.
The department's decision was welcomed by Colne Valley MP Kali Mountford, who has already called on Hartley to provide a "proper explanation" for its "baffling" decision to put Globe and HFW into administration.
Ms Mountford and Huddersfield MP Barry Sheerman met Trade and Industry Minister Gerry Sutcliffe this week to underline their concerns.
They were joined by Tom Levitt, MP for High Peak in Derbyshire, where another Hartley subsidiary, Dorma Kaledioscope Colouration, was put into administration.
The MPs have also tabled an Early Day Motion in the Commons to voice their worries about company closures, redundancies and "the appearance of asset-stripping" in the textile industry.
Mr Sheerman said: "I have serious concerns about companies entering voluntary liquidation and retaining their principal assets.
"Sacked workers are then forced to make an application for redundancy to the Department of Trade and Industry. The taxpayers end up picking up the bill."
Peter Booth, textile organiser for the Transport and General Workers' Union, backed the MPs.
He said: "In the past few years, we have seen a growing number of companies going into voluntary administration, particularly in textiles.
"People have been made redundant in situations where a company appeared to be trading well and with full order books, a good-quality product and a secure place in the market."
Mr Booth said some employers seemed to be using administration as a way to realise assets - such as machinery and buildings - while leaving the taxpayer to pick up redundancy costs.
Hartley company secretary Alan Murray refused to comment on the developments today.
In a statement last August, Hartley said it had called in administrators after a breakdown in talks between the group and the Inland Revenue and Customs and Excise over payments of previously deferred PAYE and VAT.
That deferral was agreed from 2001 to early 2003 after the group was badly hit by the foot-and-mouth crisis of 2001.
It said payments of VAT and PAYE resumed from early 2003 and had continued since then.