Black Country

Oral Answers to Questions — Oral Answers to Questions – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 12th November 1979.

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Photo of David Winnick David Winnick , Walsall North 12:00 am, 12th November 1979

asked the Secretary of State for Industry whether he will take action concerning further closures and redundancies in the Black Country district of the West Midlands.

Photo of Mr David Mitchell Mr David Mitchell , Basingstoke

The Government's policies are designed to encourage industrial expansion and employment throughout the country.

Photo of David Winnick David Winnick , Walsall North

In view of the widespread anxiety over recent closures and redundancies in the Black Country, will the Minister give a firm undertaking today that his Department will consult the authorities in the area to ascertain what can be done to bring jobs to the region?

Photo of Mr David Mitchell Mr David Mitchell , Basingstoke

We are always prepared to consult those concerned on the ground whenever that sort of problem arises.

Photo of Mr John Stokes Mr John Stokes , Halesowen and Stourbridge

Is my hon. Friend aware that the Black Country and its independent people do not wish for any special help? They are against handouts, especially those that have to be paid for by us all, including those living in the Black Country.

Photo of Mr David Mitchell Mr David Mitchell , Basingstoke

I do not disagree with my hon. Friend. The number of factory closures and redundancies will depend upon the success or otherwise of management and men producing the goods that the customer requires at the price that he is prepared to pay. The customer is king, and the Government do not control the customer.

Photo of Mr Robert Edwards Mr Robert Edwards , Wolverhampton South East

Is the Minister aware that in Wolverhampton and West Mould in the Black Country 200 factories have been closed during the past decade? The Black Country desperately needs special help. Does the hon. Gentleman agree that it would be better to allow capital investments into the Black Country than to permit flight capital to be invested in Switzerland in trustee and bank accounts?

Photo of Mr David Mitchell Mr David Mitchell , Basingstoke

The change in the regional development grant system has been much called for in that part of the country. It will help to prevent industries that might be attracted to the area from being dragged away to others.