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Salaries and Wages Insurance

Volume 459: debated on Thursday 3 May 2007

4. Whether he has had discussions with (a) ministerial colleagues and (b) companies on the establishment of a national salaries and wages insurance scheme. (135430)

We are grateful for my hon. Friend’s question. No discussions about this issue have been held either between DTI Ministers and their colleagues or by DTI Ministers with companies.

I thank the Minister for that answer, but would he consider meeting the CBI and the trade unions to consider the situation? Many people have been made redundant in manufacturing industries—for example, from Rover, Peugeot in Coventry, and Jaguar—and they lose an average of £3,000 a year because they have to take lower-paid jobs. I hope that my hon. Friend will consider that point.

My hon. Friend raises an important point, but we do not have plans to consider the issue. It is our view that the UK economy is very healthy at present. Redundancies in 1997 were running at around 3 per cent., and that has fallen to some 2 per cent. on average. The Government’s arrangements to deal with people when redundancies occur—including Jobcentre Plus—are appropriate. The economy is healthy and we have more people in work than ever before. I am sorry that I cannot give my hon. Friend a more positive answer.