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Productivity

Volume 979: debated on Monday 25 February 1980

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17

asked the Secretary of State for Industry whether he is satisfied with the level of productivity in manufacturing industry.

As my right hon. Friend already awards export industry with certificates to show that it has improved its export potential, would not it be a good idea to have a national award for local productivity agreements in individual factories so that some form of competitiveness could apply throughout the United Kingdom?

That is a very interesting suggestion. It underlines that productivity is the key issue and one of the basic fundamental questions behind the steel strike.

Is the Minister aware that the Secretary of State in a speech in Leeds over the weekend discussed "patchy management" as the cause of poor productivity? What is his team doing about patchy management and what positive steps are they taking to improve management?

We are providing greater incentives and tax reductions. That is one of the genuine ways in which I hope the hon. Member will join us in seeking to get better pay for a better job of work done.

Will my hon. Friend assure the Secretary of State that even those of us who belong to what the press call the compassionate wing of the Conservative Party are sadly but totally in support of his policy of obliging British industry to become competitive'? Is he aware that we sadly reject the idea that thousands of jobs can be saved at the cost of taxpayers' money which, in turn, will put many other jobs at peril?

I am sure that my right hon. Friend will appreciate those remarks. They show that this great Party is united on this issue, as on all else.