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Bradford (Industrial Assistance)

Volume 28: debated on Thursday 29 July 1982

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4.31 am

In the past six weeks in Bradford about 1,500 redundancies have been declared in three major engineering enterprises.

Bradford has depended heavily on the textile industry, which has suffered badly from contraction. The number of employees in the industry has fallen remarkably. It is an old industry and some people argued that that was only to be expected. But in recent weeks the malaise has spread in a big way to the engineering industry.

GEC (Large Machines) Ltd. has declared 576 redundancies. Rank Wharfedale, which makes loudspeakers, has closed completely this month, with the loss of 350 jobs. International Harvester, a multinational company making tractors, has announced a closure with the loss of 510 jobs. At its peak the company employed 2,100 people in Bradford. Its tractors were extremely useful to the developing world, and those countries will now be starved of the means to produce more from their soil.

Those three engineering closures follow a major closure of Thorn Consumer Electronics not long ago, with a loss of about 2,000 jobs. The main activity was television manufacture. Only a few years before closure that firm had employed 4,000 people, which was reduced gradually to 2,000, and then there was closure.

Phrases, understandably, have been bandied about Bradford in the past two or three weeks to the effect that it is likely to become an industrial desert. The situation could not be more alarming. There has been the colossal contraction in textile manufacturing followed by the savage body blows in engineering. The local newspaper, the Telegraph & Argus, when it heard of the closure of International Harvester, stated that that was the third 10 inch nail to be driven into the city's coffin within weeks.

A public house licensee said that his sales acted as a barometer of the prosperity of Bradford. His lunchtime trade had gone down eight-fold in the past few years. That showed the amount of money available for purchases. As one goes about Bradford, one sees that there is less money than there once was for the purchase of all sorts of consumer goods.

The CBI, referring to Yorkshire and Humberside, said recently, in contradiction of Government claims to the contrary, that the regional economy showed no improvement and that there was evidence of trading conditions worsening for some companies. The Bradford chamber of commerce president also said recently that for every big firm closing down in the city, 20 smaller ones were going out of business. It is clear that Bradford is no exception within the general rule that family companies in Britain are going down in their thousands.

I do not know what the Government's estimate is of the contraction in the industrial base in Britain since 1979. I think that it is running at about one-fifth. One wonders whether contraction at such speed is ever recoverable. It is certainly not likely to be recovered in the short term.

The unemployment register in the Bradford, Shipley and Bingley employment area shows that 26,000 are unemployed. Between June and July the number of unemployed youngsters in that area jumped by 772. Adult unemployment rose by 407. When one considers that school leavers have yet to come on the market and that the International Harvester closure does not take effect until October, one sees how depressing those figures are. Unfortunately, they are typical. In the University and Little Horton wards in my constituency, as early as April 1981 unemployment was over 20 per cent. The figures for wool textiles in West Yorkshire show that since 1975, output has fallen by 27 per cent. The work force in West Yorkshire in wool textiles and clothing has fallen from 240,0000 in 1961 to 85,00 in 1981. That haemorrhage continues.

The picture is bleak. One does not want to sound too depressing, but it is better to tell the truth than to conceal the reality of what is happening. No one source is responsible for everything that has occurred. There are various contributory factors, including inefficient management, inadequate capital, resistance to change by work forces, overmanning and restrictive practices. It is fair to the Government to point out that there has been an underlying downward tendency for years under successive Governments.

However, this Government decided on a kill or cure approach. I did not believe at the outset that most of British industry was in a condition to be submerged in an ice-cold economic bath for a prolonged period. The past three years have shown that British industry cannot stand such a prolonged immersion. Some parts were too sickly to withstand such a treatment. Far from curing, the treatment is killing, as is clear in Bradford.

Had the Government expected that the results of their policy would be so meagre after three years they would not have embarked on it. I think that they believed that a few months of their policy would start to produce an upturn and that the distasteful medicine would have to be administered for only about six months before monetarism began to produce improvements. After three years, the Government have reduced the rate of inflation to a little below the level that they inherited, but when one sees what is happening to British industry and unemployment it is impossible to say that there have been any major benefits from the Government's policy, However, it has caused considerable harm.

The Government have vastly accelerated underlying adverse trends in the economy. Nationally we have 3·2 million unemployed; 28 applicants chasing every vacancy; manufacturing output 15 per cent. down since 1979 and, in the second quarter of this year, the underlying trend of unemployment rising at 30,000 monthly. Profits remain very low for most companies and, according to the National Federation of Building Trades Employers, there is for the industry:
"no sign at the present time of a tangible recovery."
Something must be done to give hope to people and to reverse, or at least stem, the unemployment trend. The Government's policy offers no hope. The unemployment projections are upwards.

There are dangers in what is happening. We see a growing alienation and a deepening of the polarisation in society. If we are to avoid a breakdown in society as we know it, the Government must stop firms going to the wall and stop the horrifying and relentless climb in unemployment.

What should be done? There is no shortage of suggestions. It is sometimes said that Oppositions are good only at screaming about bad news and never make constructive suggestions at least to ameliorate the patient's illness. Therefore, I should like to mention a number of actions that the Government might take—it is by no means an exhaustive list—to ameliorate the situation in places such as Bradford. They cannot alter the situation overnight, but they could give hope and we could see an improvement within a reasonably short period.

I agree with those who say that the Government should move to lower interest rates, that they should abolish the national insurance surcharge, that they should now seriously consider a reduction in the male pension age, that they should examine job-sharing, with a phased withdrawal from jobs by the over-60s pending a reduction in the retirement age, and that there should be substantial increases in capital investment in the public and private sectors, with some assistance from the Government.

I know the arguments about throwing money at problems and the argument that if one causes massive inflation one creates more unemployment and causes more damage. But I agree with all those, including many of those who have hitherto supported the Conservative Government, who say that the economy now needs a stimulus from the Government and that they should not be mesmerised by the principles on which they have so far managed the economy. I believe that privately many Conservative Members would dearly love the Government to give such a stimulus.

There should be a financial inducement to youngsters to stay on at school after the age of 16, since it is among young people in particular that unemployment is so high. We release far too many ill-equipped young people on to the labour market. We should follow the Continental example of seeking to achieve a better education for them before they go onto the labour market.

Women suffer particularly badly in the present climate. We could create perhaps 100,000 jobs for women in the social services—for example, as home helps—at a cost of not much more than £300 million.

Most important of all, since 15 per cent. of our unemployed are construction workers, we should increase public investment in construction, infrastructure and housing schemes of all kinds. There is the opportunity here to employ many semi-skilled and unskilled workers as well as skilled workers. For the money spent we could employ considerable numbers. The economy generally would benefit from more people earning money, and the country would look a better place than it does today environmentally.

There are schemes, such as the proposal to pay a £70-a-week grant for a year to every employer taking on an additional adult worker who has been unemployed for over six months, with the proviso that the jobs would have to be extra and not replacement jobs. It has been estimated that the net cost of such a scheme would be £500 million, and that the scheme alone could generate a quarter of a million jobs.

One could expand the community enterprise programme. One could expand systems for small businesses. They are absolutely crucial as there is little sign of expansion from large businesses. One could set up a Cabinet industrial policy committee, chaired by the Prime Minister and supported by an advisory committee of industrialists and leading economic Ministers to produce a dynamic strategy for reviving the economy. One could revitalise the British technology group to provide equity capital for large scale, high-risk projects in partnership with private industry. One could even return to the concept of a Minister with responsibilities for science—a position that was once filled by the present Lord Chancellor—not just as a name but with power to give priority to scientific innovation and development. There is room for better credit schemes and we could have far better training systems.

There is a suggested scheme whereby one tells employers that a percentage of income should be applied to training schemes for apprentices, for new and existing employees, and that if an employer spends more than that percentage, the Government will pay the balance but that if less is spent, the employer must pay tax equal to the amount by which he has underspent. The effects of such a scheme should be investigated. There may be snags to it but at least it would induce employers to put a high priority on training their employees.

Those are among the steps that the Government could take. If they did all of that together, they could be said to be throwing money at the problem. Curiously, many schemes do not involve such a heavy expenditure as one might think, as one is taking people out of the dole queue. As was pointed out in this week's debate on unemployment, it costs about £5,000 a year in public money to have one person unemployed. There are ways in which the Government could restructure this economic approach to make a real attack on unemployment, to give people hope and to start building Britain's economy so that it is competitive, healthy and expanding.

At the moment, one can see only more contraction of the economy. Members of Parliament for Bradford do not hear people talk optimistically about the city's industrial future. With the Government in the south, there is no confidence that they even understand the growing devastation in the north. That has worrying implications for the social fabric in the long term.

I know that many other city areas have serious problems. Although I belong to one party I appeal, on behalf of all Members of Parliament for Bradford and the people of Bradford, to the Government to do something. I am not just saying "Do something"—that is easy—I have given some idea of what can be done. I am sure that the Government have schemes in hand that have not been put into practice. They could act on them if they had the will to do so and realised the seriousness of the problem.

I see no possibility of an improvement in the situation in my area in the next year or two if the Government continue in the way that they are doing. I see only further damage, further closures, further redundancies, further contractions, more people on the dole and more youngsters with nothing to do. It is absolutely terrifying. I hope that the Minister will be able to say something to cheer up the people in that city.

4.55 am

I in no way underestimate the seriousness of the situation in Bradford and I sympathise with all those who have been or are about to be made redundant and with their families.

I suspect, as the hon. and learned Member for Bradford, West (Mr. Lyons) said, that the contraction is a good deal faster in Bradford than in the United Kingdom as a whole. This graphically illustrates some of the structural, technological and market—including international market—changes that our own and all advanced economies face.

The hon. and learned Gentleman very fairly pointed out some of the factors that had led to the present situation in companies and industries in his area. He said that when the Government came to power British industry was too sickly to withstand the policies that we have pursued. I believe that he is half right in that. It is always dangerous to generalise about British industry as a whole, but for a number of reasons much of British industry had not been in a competitive state for a considerable period and it was too sickly to withstand the gales of international recession that have occurred since 1979. The problems with which we have had to deal include all the factors that the hon. and learned Gentleman mentioned, but especially the uncompetitive nature of so much of British industry compared with more successful companies and countries overseas at a time of world recession, caused in large part by the oil crisis, and of very fast-moving technological change.

The examples that the hon. and learned Gentleman gave of companies that have recently got into difficulties and of industries such as the wool textile industry illustrate the international nature of the problem for many of these companies and the fact that so often at present lack of orders is a feature of international markets and the companies' traditional export markets as much as of the domestic market. The problem is no longer really because of the overvaluation of the pound last year—as was then argued, although I shall not go into that argument—but because all too often the orders are not there in international markets.

The industries that the hon. and learned Gentleman mentioned in the first part of his speech illustrate my point. He referred to the problems of the wool textile industry. As he rightly recognised, there has been a decline in employment in the industry as a whole for many years. He gave figures from 1961 until the present. There has been a steady decline. Again, as the hon. and learned Gentleman will know, that was caused by international factors and by technological change and change in the demand for individual products as much as by anything else.

The Government appreciate the seriousness of the problems that have faced and continue to face the textile and clothing industries. We have debated this frequently in the House and we are doing all that we can in the framework of our domestic economic policies and international obligations to create the right environment in the longer term for an efficient economy in which the industry can compete.

In particular, the hon. and learned Gentleman will know of all the efforts that have been made in relation to the multi-fibre arrangement. This industry has the greatest battery of protection available to any industry. We believe that the Community mandate for the negotiation of the bilateral agreement on the framework of the renewed MFA gives us the possibility of renewed restraints on the supplying countries a good deal tougher than those which at present exist. I shall not enter into a long debate on the textile industry, but this is an attempt to give some temporary protection to an industry that is going through substantial change.

Of the individual companies involved, the hon. and learned Gentleman referred first to the redundancies at GEC (Large Machines) Ltd., at Thornbury. He will know, as the company made clear, that those redundancies were due to the worsening demand for its electric motors. The Government are naturally concerned about those who lost their jobs, and the services of the Manpower Services Commission have been made available. The decision to reduce the work force was, as it had to be, for the judgment of the company in the light of the management's assessment of the market.

The company considered the total closure of the site, but retained 350 jobs at Thornbury because it was aware of the employment problem in that area. The company talked to officials in my Department and I understand that the decision is irreversible. It was taken in the full knowledge of current Government assistance schemes, but the market no longer existed for that product.

Rank Wharfedale, and the closure of its factory in Idle, is a graphic illustration of these problems. I regret the demise of such a long established and well-known manufacturer, and I have sympathy for those who have lost their jobs. Unfortunately, Rank Wharfedale had been making losses for some time. The recession and the changes in the audio market resulted in a sharp drop in sales. The company had been working a two or three day week and at only 25 per cent. of capacity for some months. This was partly responsible for the substantial loss of £3·75 million incurred by the industrial division in 1981. The change in world markets for that product is significant.

The world market for audio equipment has suffered a decline since the peak levels attained in 1979–80. That is due to the world decline in economic activity and to increased competition for consumers' discretionary expenditure represented, for example, by video cassette recorders, sales of which have rapidly expanded in the United Kingdom. There is a much greater concentration in that area of consumer expenditure than on the products manufactured by Rank Wharfedale. Moreover, there is the increased, highly efficient and advanced competition from Far East countries.

Selective financial assistance under section 7 of the Industry Act 1972 is available to any parties interested in taking over any of the company's assests and restoring some employment. My Department is open to discussions on that possibility with anyone who is interested. The worrying aspect of the situation is that it is again international and modern trends that have brought about a complete change in the market.

The hon. and learned Gentleman referred to the closure of the International Harvester plant at Idle. Hon. Members will be aware of the continuing depression of agricultural machinery and tractor markets in nearly all countries. International Harvester is an international company. We know that other international companies in the same sphere have also faced an extremely difficult time.

The world depression is a significant factor in this respect. Tractor manufacturers in the United Kingdom, including International Harvester, have traditionally sold a high percentage of their output overseas. The factors contributing to the world depression show no signs of alleviation. The hon. and learned Gentleman must accept that we can do nothing substantially to alter the orders from other countries for those products. No general improvement in demand is forecast for the near future—although in certain areas such as the United Kingdom a small growth may take place this year—and consequently all manufacturers in the industry are operating substantially below capacity. Naturally, manufacturers are looking for ways of rationalising their operations.

The world-wide lack of demand has meant curtailing production by short-time working, which has resulted in redundancies. The decision announced last Friday by International Harvester to close the tractor component factory led to 500 job losses.

Only in March the American parent group took the exceptional step of temporarily halting all tractor production in the United States at its Illinois plant in an effort to rationalise. The Department's ability to influence international markets and the operational pattern of international companies is relatively limited. I listened carefully to everything suggested tonight, but there was nothing that could affect the position of Rank Wharfedale or of International Harvester. Officials in my Department are in close touch with International Harvester and have been made aware by the company of the group's deep difficulties and the impact that that has on its United Kingdom operations.

A number of alternatives to closing the Bradford factory have been carefully considered by the company, but unfortunately it is not possible to avoid the decision to close. We hope that the company can maintain its important manufacturing base in Britain. The full range of Government financial incentives is available to help with capital or development projects.

I shall now consider what can be done and examine the hon. and learned Gentleman's prescription. We have recently had both a debate and a statement about assisted area status, so it is not necessary to go over the Government's regional policy or the changes made to bring assisted areas down from covering 44 per cent. of the working population to 27 per cent. The main objective is to ensure that regional aid is concentrated on the areas of greatest need. The evidence, such as it is, indicates that that is the most effective way of carrying out regional policy.

Bradford is to retain intermediate area status. Like the other areas which will continue to be assisted after 31 July, that status will be enhanced because the coverage of assisted areas generally is to be reduced. That means that places with a form of assisted area status will be better placed in terms of regional policy. That is especially so in Bradford, since Bradford will be the only assisted travel-to-work area in West Yorkshire.

The July level of unemployment is 15·3 per cent. That compares with a development area rate for June of 16 per cent. We have to take a number of other factors into account when assessing the status of a travel-to-work area. There is no evidence of a necessity to change Bradford's status. But from 1 August, Bradford will be relatively well placed.

The hon. and learned Gentleman referred to the loss of jobs in the pipeline and to International Harvester in particular. I recognise that there will be a change in the percentage, but it is difficult to conclude from any projection that a change in assisted status should be made. We must look for evidence of permanent structural change relative to other parts of the country. Our pledge remains, if there is clear evidence of permanent structural change relative to other areas. We shall consider any individual travel-to-work area in which it is clear, for whatever reason, that that is about to happen. There is not that evidence at present.

No, I shall not give way. In fairness to other hon. Members who have been sitting up all night, I shall concentrate on the debate. Intermediate area status is not the only benefit that has been given to the city. By virtue of its status as a programme area under the Inner Urban Areas Act 1978, Bradford has been recognised as having serious inner city problems and so qualifies for help under the urban programme towards the cost of projects aimed at regenerating its inner area. Slightly less than £4 million has been allocated in 1982–83 for that programme.

Bradford has also been given powers under the Inner Urban Areas Act to enable it to participate more effectively in the economic development of its area. It is one of the areas from which applications for the new urban development grant, aimed at stimulating economic regeneration in urban areas, have been invited by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Environment. As for advance factories and the programme of the English Industrial Estates Corporation, the EIEC currently has 11 factory units available for occupation in Bradford, ranging from 500 to 2,700 sq ft. These are relevant to small businesses, to which the hon. and learned Gentleman referred. The EIEC plans also to build 45,000 sq ft of advance factory floor space suitable for use by high technology industries. This will form part of a development programme in Bradford for which the Government have allocated £5·2 million to April 1986, including £1·1 million in 1982–83.

Bradford is an intermediate area in regional aid terms and will remain so when many other areas lose their assisted area status in two days' time. This means that selective financial assistance under section 7 of the Industry Act 1972 is available to companies which are locating or expanding in Bradford. For example, Microvitec, a manufacturer of television terminals, has been given help that is expected to result in the creation by the company of over 400 jobs by the end of the year. This is only one of many examples. Since May 1979, 67 offers of section 7 selective financial assistance have been made to firms in the area, worth in all £4·3 million. This assistance is expected to help the creation of nearly 2,500 new jobs and the safeguarding of a further 4,000.

This is one illustration of the way in which we attempt to have policies that will assist in the structural change in a local economy, which is so clearly required in the Bradford area. But beyond this regional assistance there is the European regional development fund and the European Investment Bank facilities, which come with intermediate area status and will still be available to Bradford.

Beyond the regional assistance, firms in Bradford have benefited from the national schemes. There are many Department of Employment schemes which it would not be right for me to mention because I do not have departmental responsibilities in that area. However, since May 1979 there have been 39 offers of assistance under section 8 of the Industry Act. That is national selective assistance as distinct from the section 7 regional selective assistance. That is valued at £0·7 million for projects worth £4·7 million in the Bradford area. To the end of last year 15 firms in the Bradford travel-to-work area applied for product and process development scheme assistance, resulting in offers totalling £214,000 being made. Four firms were offered microprocessor application project assistance valued at £272,000, and 30 applications have been received under the MAPCON scheme.

I give these figures because they illustrate the importance of assisting firms to move into the new high technologies and because there is still a great lack of awareness among industries of the potential availability of assistance under these schemes. That is sometimes because there has been so much concentration on the regionally oriented development grants and schemes that national schemes have been overlooked. I hope that the hon. and learned Gentleman will do all that he can to bring those schemes to the attention of companies in the area.

The hon. and learned Gentleman also talked about the importance of small firms. He will know that the Government have introduced a wide battery of schemes, including the pilot loan guarantee scheme and the business start-up scheme. I accept—

The hon. Gentleman is not up to date. In 1981 many more small firms started up than went into liquidation.

I have been describing the background and I am trying to deal constructively with the problems of Bradford.

I accept that, when larger international companies get into such difficulties, it has an impact on small firms. However, the encouragement that the Government are giving for the expansion of small firms and the start-up of businesses is an important ingredient in the creation of a wider, different and more modern economic base. The concentration of measures in that area will, over some time—there is bound to be a transitional period while structural changes take place—make a substantial difference.

I examined carefully what the hon. and learned Gentleman and his party mean by small firms policies. It is significant that all that they are saying is that the Government are on the right track but that they wish to have more.

I turn to the hon. and learned Gentleman's prescriptions for what should be done. The most striking thing was the emphasis that he placed on the need for lower interest rates and lower inflation. I entirely agree with that, and the vast majority of firms regard it as the key priority. The reason why we do not hear much now about the impact of inflation on businesses is that it has reduced substantially and the reason why industry is not giving sc much attention to interest rates is that it agrees with the Government's policy.

The hon. and learned Gentleman called for lower interest rates and lower inflation and then advanced an enormous list of measures that would have precisely the reverse effect, because they would all require greatly increased Government spending and a much higher public sector borrowing requirement. That would undoubtedly mean a sharp and immediate increase in interest rates and an upward spiralling of inflation.

The hon. and learned Gentleman talked about the need to abolish the national insurance surcharge. He will know that, as from next month, the 1½ per cent. reduction for this year will come into operation, which will make a substantial difference to the cash flows of companies. But to ask now for a complete abolition would have required more than £2 billion that could come only from higher taxation—which would have an effect on the consumer market—or through higher Government borrowing, which would have the immediate effect of increasing interest rates again.

The hon. and learned Gentleman called for a reduction in the male pensionable age. He will know of the larger programmes on the job release scheme that go some way to meet that for which he asked, especially as they are linked with replacement by someone from the unemployment register. But to call for a reduction now would also require large increases in Government expenditure—from memory, the figure is £2½ billion—that would come on top of what he has already asked for on the national insurance surcharge.

I thought that I had made it clear that I was saying that all the measures that I had suggested did not have to be brought in simultaneously. I suggested that the Government looked at them, brought in some of them, and some of them were not all that expensive in net terms as they take people off the unemployment register. I am not suggesting that the Government can do everything at once—no Government have ever been able to do that.

That is fair, but the hon. and learned Gentleman tried to have it both ways by suggesting that we should continue to aim for lower interest rates, and then gave a list that gave the impression that these were the things that he would like to see done quickly. He included the abolition of national insurance surcharge and the reduction in the male pension age. I have just explained how extremely expensive these would be

One of the hon. and learned Gentleman's other points was about a job-sharing scheme. He will know of the announcement that my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Employment made on the scheme that he is introducing and which, if it succeeds, will have the effect that the hon. and learned Gentleman describes of not having any net increase in Government expenditure.

The hon. and learned Gentleman called for a substantial increase in the capital programme. That gives the impression that he would like to see a substantial increase across a wide range soon. He again ignored the fact that in a number of parts of the nationalised industries there has been a substantial increase in capital expenditure programmes in real terms this year. It is easy to go on demanding more and more, but it is a question of getting the priorities right and balancing the amount of extra expenditure that can be incurred on the capital programmes. I should like to see more on capital rather than on current. That is the importance, therefore, of all that we are trying to do to contain current expenditure in central Government. It is a question of balancing this against the other economic objectives that he has already shown that he shares.

The hon. and learned Gentleman called for a further Government stimulus to the economy through capital programmes and in other ways. He should reflect that during the period 1970–80 there was substantial stimulus from Governments in one way or another, especially through an increase in the money supply that was injected into the economy. The net effect of that was that we saw little real increase in production, much higher inflation and a great decrease in our competitiveness. All these things should give the hon. and learned Gentleman pause to think that the programmes that the Government are now pursuing to improve the competitiveness of British industry are the correct ones.

The hon. and learned Gentleman called for a financial inducement for youngsters to stay on beyond 16 and he will know of the extra expenditure that my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Education and Science has introduced for this year to assist in that. He will know of the new training initiative on which considerable sums of additional public expenditure are being spent.

So often, one of the problems of recent years has been that the starting levels of young people's wages have been too high for employers to employ them. The hon. and learned Gentleman referred to the Continent in this regard, which is relevant. That is the significance of the young workers scheme, which has been in existence for almost half a year now, and which has had a substantial take-up.

The hon. and learned Gentleman called for the expansion of the community enterprise programme, and went on, calling for the expansion of more and more, and much of what we are already doing. He has to take into account that the major priority of getting the inflation rate down is still the key one that British industry wants us to pursue.

Finally, the hon. and learned Gentleman called for a dynamic and powerful economic strategy. Those are fine words, but when one actually looked at his list of measures, so many were the tried and failed policies of the Labour Government to whom he gave his support. He talked about greater expenditure for the British technology group. He should look at the record of the National Enterprise Board during his years in Government. The economic strategy committee that he suggested reminded me of the old Department of Economic Affairs in 1965 which produced a great blueprint that was not followed.

Many of the prescriptions that the hon. and learned Gentleman called for are either more and more of the same, or much higher Government spending on more of the failed Government strategies of the past.

I listened carefully to what the hon. and learned Gentleman said, but I did not think that there was much in it that bit on the problem that I began with—the problem that the three factors to which he referred, international competition, technological change and change in markets, are the factors that have caused the loss in jobs.

I hope that I have demonstrated that the Government are very aware of and concerned about the industrial situation in Bradford and understand what is happening there, but the combination of nationally available policies towards industry and Bradford's status as an intermediate area means that a whole battery of measures is available to encourage industrial development there. I accept that it will take time, but I believe that the strategies that we are pursuing are the right way to bring about that industrial restructuring.