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South Yorkshire

Volume 990: debated on Monday 4 August 1980

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asked the Secretary of State for Industry if he will revise the arrangements for the assistance of industrial development in South Yorkshire in general and in the Rother Valley constituency in particular.

I have no plans to reverse the decisions announced in July last year on regional aids in South Yorkshire.

Is the Minister aware that South Yorkshire is not amused at the Government's attitude or at the comments that have just emanated from the Government Front Bench? Will the hon. Gentleman make clear whether any other part of the Western world has experienced the same rate of astonishing and rapid unemployment? Does he consider that our constituents should attribute this situation to economic incompetence, or to sheer political indifference?

I think that the hon. Gentleman will find that Canada has had a similar experience, but none of the other countries in the Western world has suffered the inheritance and the legacy left to us by the previous Government.

Is my hon. Friend aware that we in West Yorkshire are sick of our jobs being drained away to the coal areas of Rotherham, and to the steel areas, where they are subsequently wasted? We should welcome a more even-handed attitude.

I shall keep in mind the points that my hon. Friend has made. The Government care so much about unemployment in the areas where it has been entrenched for years that we have thought it right to give priority to those areas in our assisted area policy.

Is the Minister aware that working people in South Yorkshire have the skill, expertise and desire to co-operate with management, but what they do not have is the backing of the Government? High interest rates, other high charges and the Government's policies are ruining the basic industries of South Yorkshire.

I am not sure whether that was a question or an observation, but if the hon. Gentleman will be patient he will find that the policy of controlling inflation in the way that we are doing will produce the results that he desires.