asked the Secretary of State for Employment what redundancies in the metropolitan borough of Stockport have been notified to him in the last month.
The number of proposed redundancies notified to my Department in the last month under the redundancy handling provisions of the Employment Protection Act 1975 for the metropolitan borough of Stockport involved 478 employees employed at five firms.During the same period 19 redundancies at one firm were withdrawn.
Is the Minister aware that a recent survey by the Greater Manchester council showed that Stockport was losing more jobs than most boroughs in the Greater Manchester area? Is he aware, further, that a survey of small and medium-size firms shows that the managers of those firms were depressed about employment prospects? Stockport has a large number of medium and small high technology firms which listened to Conservative blandishments, yet they now face 20 per cent. inflation, 17 per cent. MLR, a doubling of VAT and constant interference from the Secretary of State—
Order. Questions should be reasonably brief.
What hope can the Minister give to small and medium-size firms?
Far from being complacent about the position in Stockport, we have visited the area to study the matters raised by the hon. Gentleman. I am pleased to see that the Manchester development corporation, in its traditional way, is setting up a good scheme in which it is buying 77 acres of land in Stockport to encourage the very businesses to which the hon. Gentleman referred.
Order. This question is about the metropolitan borough of Stockport.
Will my hon. Friend say what proportion of notified possible redundancies actually turn out to be redundancies, and how many do not come to anything?
It is difficult to give the overall proportion. The figure for Stockport will require some research.
Does the Minister appreciate that many people in Stockport cannot understand why the firm that has announced most of the redundancies is doing so in order to produce investment in Northern Ireland? Does he not realise that we do not want a Government who simply move unemployment around the country, but rather a Government who create jobs?
This Government, through the changes in their regional policy, are trying very hard to ensure that jobs are created in the areas where unemployment is greatest. We cannot answer for the management decisions in specific companies.