In spite of his confident reply, is not the hon. Gentleman aware that unemployment in Birmingham continues to rise and is now at its highest level for 35 years? Apart from the many suggestions which have been made today about the West Midlands, will the hon. Gentleman seriously consider expanding the ordering programme of the public sector for capital goods which could rapidly stimulate the economy of the engineering industry in the West Midlands?
I share the hon. Gentleman's concern about the figures for the West Midlands, but I point out that they include nearly 8,000 temporarily stopped, of whom half are on strike, which is rather a different matter. The Government have already brought forward a considerable amount of nationalised industry investment which, I hope, will have the desired effect.
I appreciate what my hon. Friend has said, but does he not recognise that part of the argument about Government interference in industry is that moving industry into other areas only depresses Birmingham? Would he consider improving the position of small businesses, which are Birmingham's backbone? When will he move in that direction?
I agree that there is a great potential in the small business sector, and we have already announced many measures which are helping to allow small firms to expand. We are considering the remaining recommendations of the Bolton Committee to that end.
Is my hon. Friend aware that notwithstanding the 45 per cent. increase in sales of motor cars—and the motor industry is based fundamentally on Birmingham—since the July measures by the Chancellor of the Exchequer unemployment has gone up? How does my hon. Friend explain this extraordinary paradox?
There are many factors at work. I draw my hon. Friend's attention to the fact that the recession in the engineering industry is not confined to Birmingham, or even to the country as a whole.