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Industrial Policy

Volume 201: debated on Wednesday 15 January 1992

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To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry when he next plans to meet representatives of the Association of British Chambers of Commerce to discuss industrial policy.

From time to time I meet representatives of the Association of British Chambers of Commerce, or of individual chambers of commerce, to discuss industrial and trade policy.

Is the Minister aware that after two years of deep recession, 200,000 companies have gone under? As Britain entered 1992 with falling investment, rising unemployment, with the highest number of bankruptcies in western Europe, will the Government finally admit that manufacturing matters, and implement an industrial policy which will lift the United Kingdom from the bottom of the manufacturing league table?

The House will be interested to hear from another Scottish Labour Member of Parliament who will not tell us about the Labour party's policy on Ravenscraig. I made clear in my answer to my hon. Friend the Member for Macclesfield (Mr. Winterton) the importance that we attach to manufacturing and the success, which was acknowledged by the CBI, in bringing about the resurgence and renaissance in manufacturing. The fact is that manufacturing output fell under Labour. It is now up a quarter on what it was 10 years ago, investments are up a third, productivity is up by a half and exports are up by three quarters. We shall build upon that achievement in the 1990s.