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Volume 21: debated on Tuesday 30 March 1982

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asked the Secretary of State for Employment what initiatives he has in mind which will promote jobs in the Preston travel-to-work area.

Jobs in Preston and elsewhere depend upon the ability of producers to meet the needs of customers. The Government will continue their successful policy of reducing inflation and encouraging increased productivity towards that objective.

As the customers in Preston in the instance that I have in mind are homeless people, will the Minister arrange for one of his "oppos" in the Department of the Environment to bring building trade workers and building materials together in Preston to produce much-needed houses?

The hon. Gentleman should have addressed that question originally to the Department of the Environment and he will no doubt now do so.

Does my right hon. Friend not agree that Preston, with its motorway and rail connections, is well placed to benefit to an even greater extent when the recession ends than it is now doing? Does he agree that the development of the dock site, originally planned by the Conservative-controlled council in Preston, will go a long way towards providing new jobs and new hope to people who would otherwise not have a chance?

Yes. I take my hon. Friend's point. The positive emphasis that he puts on the prospects for Preston is the right kind of psychological and practical impression that one should convey to give people hope for the future. It also tends to increase job opportunities.