To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster how many company liquidations there were in Derbyshire in the years 1983 to date.
Company liquidations are not analysed by county, but Derbyshire is part of the area administered by the Official Receiver's office in Leicester, which processed an estimated 415 compulsory liquidations in the years 1983 to 1987. During this period compulsory company insolvencies fell by 27 per cent. No regional analysis is available of creditors' voluntary liquidations.
Has there not been a substantial net increase in business activity in the area over the past five years? Has not that increase, which is very welcome, also gone hand in hand with a fall in unemployment, and has that not occurred despite the lack of regional assistance in the county of Derbyshire and the fact that many jobs have been lost in the coal industry, not just over the past few years but over the past 20 or 30 years? What conclusions does my hon. Friend draw from those facts?
I suspect that I draw the same conclusion as my hon. Friend—that industry in Derbyshire is very buoyant—and the fall in unemployment to which he refers is mirrored throughout the country. It is worth pointing out that between 1983 and the last year for which figures are available the number of new company registrations in Derbyshire rose by no less than 81 per cent.
Is it not true that, in Derbyshire, company liquidations from 1983 until the year of the election—when some special measures were introduced by the Government for electoral reasons—were at an all-time record, along with company bankruptcies; that half the north Derbyshire coalfield has been closed; and that, if the Government remain in office, there will be not 4 million people unemployed, as was the case a couple of years ago, but top side of 5 million? Derbyshire will suffer, and the hon. Member for Amber Valley (Mr. Oppenheim) will be part and parcel of it.
The short answer to that is no, Sir.