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Orders of the Day — Regional Policy

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 5:35 pm on 8th July 1981.

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Photo of Mr John Evans Mr John Evans , Newton 5:35 pm, 8th July 1981

I hope that the Secretary of State notes that in giving way to him I showed him more courtesy than he showed me. Unlike Conservative Members, I spent considerable periods out of work in my native Tyneside. It is nonsense for the Secretary of State to accuse working people of being opposed to change, indulging in restrictive practices and pursuing policies that restrict new investment and new industry. This shows that the Secretary of State has not even studied the history of British working people since the war.

The right hon. Gentleman has only to see areas like the North-West and the North-East, where whole stretches of industry—shipbuilding, the coal industry and the textile industry—have been removed due to the change in world demand, to realise how the work forces in those areas cooperated with new employers to introduce new industry and new technology. Working people have always been prepared to change. They have had to change throughout their lives. It is disgraceful for the Secretary of State to stand at the Dispatch Box and make that statement repeatedly.

I make no complaint that the Secretary of State has left the Chamber. I recognise that the right hon. Gentleman is a busy man and that he has important functions to fulfil. I only hope that he got my message before leaving the Chamber.