Since the Prime Minister does not intend to dismiss the Under-Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, may we take it that he endorses the specific undertaking given by—[HON. MEMBERS: "Reading."]—I am not reading at all. May we take it that the right hon. Gentleman endorses the specific undertaking given by the Under-Secretary, the hon. Member for Harrow, Central (Mr. Anthony Grant), at the Dispatch Box on 7th December that unemployment under this Government would not rise to 1,158,000?
The Prime Minister has just referred to Manchester. Is he aware that there are many hon. Members on this side of the House who are deeply concerned about the doubling of unemployment during the last 12 months in the travel-to-work area, about the recent redundancies announced at Hawker-Siddeley and about the threatened closure of the Churchill machine tool factory, a firm of great repute in the North-West? What do the Prime Minister and his Government intend to do to preserve the skills that have been created in this industrial area and to give full employment to the people who need it?
I should have thought that the hon. Gentleman would recognise that this was one of the specific problems with which I dealt yesterday in my speech. I pointed out to some of his hon. Friends, who expect every development in industry to go either to Scotland or to the North-East, that there are now equal problems in Manchester and the North-West.
Is the Prime Minister aware that, up the road in North-East Lancashire, he is not so warmly regarded, and that one of his Government's most remarkable achievements has been to produce a staggeringly high rate of unemployment in an area where previously unemployment was well below the national average? Should not the Prime Minister admit that his capricious abandonment of investment grants was a ghastly mistake for which the people of Lancashire are paying?