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Unemployment

Volume 14: debated on Thursday 3 December 1981

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4.

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland whether he has any further plans for reducing unemployment in the Province.

We shall continue to pursue our regional industrial development policies, which are set out in the document "Framework for Action". Essentially these involve support for established industries, the development of small businesses and the promotion of inward investment. Success in reducing unemployment can come about only by creating real and lasting jobs, and our national and regional policies are aimed at achieving that goal.

I do not wish to belittle the efforts of the Northern Ireland Development Corporation or any other bodies that are doing their best to attract new industries to Northern Ireland, but will the Minister direct his attention to the Mondragon experiment, in Northern Spain's Basque province, which contains answers for small businesses in Northern Ireland? Will he encourage the establishment of co-operatives, particularly in places such as Londonderry?

I have answered that question before in the House. The Government are not averse to the establishment of co-operatives in Northern Ireland and the rest of the United Kingdom, provided that they have a chance of viability. We can learn from the experiment to which the hon. Gentleman referred.