asked the Secretary of State for Industry whether, in view of the effect of present levels of value added tax on the confectionery industry, he will seek to introduce a scheme to provide additional financial support for the industry.
The Government have no plans to introduce a scheme to provide additional financial assistance to the confectionery industry. This industry is eligible for the same range of Government support measures as the generality of manufacturing industry.
Will the Minister bear in mind that Rowntree Mackintosh, which is the largest employer in Halifax, and which has a proud reputation nationally and internationally, has been severely hit by value added tax and that, without urgent financial help, hundreds of jobs will be lost as a result of the Government's industrial and economic policies?
I shall certainly bear in mind what the hon. Lady said, but there is no evidence to suggest that the confectionery industry faces difficulties greater than those that the recession has caused for many industries. Obviously, regional grants in assisted areas and the normal sectoral schemes—product and process development schemes, and Science and Technology Act 1965 assistance—are available for that industry.