Unemployment (Yorkshire and Humberside)

– in the House of Commons at 6:51 pm on 22nd February 1983.

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Photo of Mr George Thomas Mr George Thomas , Cardiff West 6:51 pm, 22nd February 1983

Before we begin the debate, I must tell the House that it was a great help in the last debate when hon. Members imposed upon themselves a time limit of 10 minutes, which enabled the Chair to call many more hon. Members than would otherwise have been the case.

Photo of Mr Roy Mason Mr Roy Mason , Barnsley 7:13 pm, 22nd February 1983

I beg to move, That this House deplores the policies of Her Majesty's Government which have resulted in distressingly high unemployment in Yorkshire and Humberside, where unemploy-ment is rising faster than the national average; is concerned at the demoralising effects on those unemployed persons who are suffering indignity, misery and family unhappiness as they strive to live; furthermore finds it disturbing that the numbers of unemployed school leavers and long-term unemployed are increasing with no hope and no future; recognises and deplores that the regions' major industries of steel, textiles, fishing and manufacturing have declined disastrously and therefore calls upon Her Majesty's Government to take urgent action to remedy this decline and regenerate the Yorkshire and Humberside Region. No one can doubt the gloom about unemployment that hangs over the nation. Anyone visiting Sheffield, Hull, Mexborough, Scunthorpe or Rotherham will see the rundown, dilapidated industries, the factory shells and the rotting trawlers on Humberside. They will see people of all ages, including able-bodied men, wearily searching for work. More and more of them are poorly dressed. The heart has been knocked out of them because they have no jobs and no hope. A decaying environment is growing in some of the towns.

The national employment picture is the worst in memory, and getting worse. Unemployment jumped again in January by 128,000 —an all-time record. Registered and unregistered unemployed are at least 4 million, and the underlying rise still strong. Unbelievably, the Government's spending plans assume that unemployment will rise by another 350,000 in the next financial year.

Manufacturing output fell last November to its lowest for 16 years —one fifth below what the Government inherited in 1979. Investment in manufacturing is only two thirds of the level of four years ago. Surveys show that businesses plan to cut investment even further. The CBI survey shows that 50 per cent. of firms expect to employ fewer people in the next four months, while only 5 per cent. expect to employ more. Companies are still closing plants and cutting jobs at an alarming rate. Indeed, the CBI estimates that manufacturing employment will continue to fall by 22,000 to 23,000 jobs per month. With the January figures showing such a sharp upturn, that kills any speculation that economic recovery is on the way.

Even the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development has been publicly critical of Government policy, stating that if there were no change in policy there would be continuing weak economic growth during the next 18 months. It advised that there should be some relaxation of fiscal policy by lowering business costs and increasing public capital spending. So much for the gloomy national scene in which we must operate and live as a region.

There is the oft-quoted phrase of the Chancellor of the Exchequer a year ago, that the recession was bottoming out. Some bottom —in Yorkshire and Humberside it is a bottomless pit. We contend that the economic imbalance between the relatively unproductive south and the vast industrial regions of the north must change. The patterns of unemployment and national misery and suffering are not part of a patchwork quilt. It is the north versus the south —the relatively contented south and the discontented north. The regional employment figures prove that, as do the political opinion polls.

It is a tragic reflection on the Government's policies that the Yorkshire and Humberside region—a basically rich region with all the skills of agriculture, fishing, coal, steel and textiles—has been shattered in such a short time. We do not want to languish in the economic slough and ruin of the Government's policies. We want an economically strong region, able to produce the maximum wealth from its resources for the benefit of the nation. Yet only the coal industry has survived with any real strength. Investment has been the key, from which the increases in productivity, output and new pits have helped to keep the industry alive.

Yorkshire would have been in economic ruin if the coal industry had suffered the same fate as the steel industry, bearing in mind the thousands of manufacturing and service jobs dependent on it. Even so, 2,229 jobs have been lost in coal during the past four years in Yorkshire. Goodness knows what will happen if a MacGregor type becomes chairman of the National Coal Board. That will affect not only the pits. There will be a wave of factory closures and redundancies around every coal mine closure, leaving derelict mining communities in its wake. I hope that, for the sake of the industry, the men in it and the many mining villages, that does not come to pass.

Four years ago our regional unemployment figure was 88,000. Today, including school leavers both registered and unregistered, it stands at nearly 303,000—an unbelievable and colossal increase. What is distressing is that we are outstripping the national average, and the trend is becoming worse. The gap between Yorkshire and the nation is widening still further. Our people are continuing to bear a disproportionate burden of the suffering with each passing day that the Government's policies are in force—another man loses his job; another family is condemned to suffering and indignity; more dreams and aspirations are snuffed out of existence. Despite the great wealth of our natural resources, and the hardy Yorkshire spirit, hope is a commodity in scarce supply. Four years of suffering have taken their toll.

In south Yorkshire, covering the travel-to-work areas of Sheffield, Rotherham, Doncaster and Barnsley, the number of unemployed has risen from 34,367 to 96,380. That is 16·4 per cent., which is well above the national average. It is a threefold increase in four years. I am amazed that our social fabric has withstood such a shuddering fall in employment. The steel industry has borne the brunt—it has suffered nearly 31,000 job losses in four years. Steel towns have been sickened by a series of closures. In the same four-year period, male unemployment has risen from 6·5 per cent. to 17·7 per cent. and female unemployment has risen from 3·8 per cent. to 9·6 per cent. That reflects a serious fall in employment in the textile and allied industries in west Yorkshire. Huddersfield, Halifax, Keighley and Bradford have been crippled.

The fishing industry has suffered, especially Hull but Grimsby too. I refer only to registered fishermen and processors. Since 1979, Hull has lost 4,056 jobs and Grimsby 1,415 jobs. Therefore, 5,471 jobs have been lost in the Humber estuary alone. As yet, there has been no industrial replacement, and so it goes on. There is now only one vacancy for every 85 claimants in south Yorkshire.

The picture is worsened by the fact that regional development grant to Yorkshire and Humberside has declined as a percentage of the total that is awarded to Great Britain. In 1978–79, grant for plant, machinery and buildings represented 13·8 per cent. of Great Britain's total. In 1980–81, it was down to 12·6 per cent. The tale with regional selective assistance to industry has been even worse. In 1977–78, 16 per cent. of Great Britain's total came to Yorkshire and Humberside, whereas in 1980–81 it had come down to 9·8 per cent. Therefore, we have economic starvation, jobless thousands and too many no-hope kids without a future—61,000 of them under 20 years of age. If we do not pick up soon, it could be a county of despair.

There could, however, exist just the boost that we are looking for, in—I hope that the Minister will note this plea—the Japanese Nissan car plant which the Secretary of State said on his return from Japan might still go ahead in the United Kingdom. If that be so, the south Humberside site would be ideal. It would also provide an enormous economic fillip to the region. It would be one of the biggest inward investment projects on Humberside using the steel of Scunthorpe and Sheffield, rectifying job losses in Hull and Grimsby and using the varied skills of the many unemployed people who used to work in the steel and engineering industries. At the same time, the Government can make up for their financial starvation of our industrial development by according the plant equal grant status which may be available in other regions.

We stress that we should like a substantial British content in the product. It should not simply be an assembly plant for foreign imports. Nevertheless, it is a prize worth fighting for. We shall be harnessing our energies to capture it for Yorkshire and Humberside.

The Government's heartless monetary policy has been an abysmal failure for Yorkshire and Humberside. We shall have to change direction substantially if we are to stave off total collapse. What the Government should be doing, and what a future Labour Government will have to do, is take more power of Government industrial intervention and more regional economic planning, expand the public sector and public spending and make a clear commitment to effect a change in the disparities between the regions. Exhortation does not work. We must use the power of public purchasing to stimulate investment in industrial activity in the regions. Where substantial grants are involved, whether investment or capital grants in specific industries, an equity stake for the public must be assured. Privatisation is not the answer. It breeds first and second-class sectors in industry. There is the profit-making sector which survives and the other, which even if in temporary difficulties through the force of market changes, goes to the wall. Some are leaner and fitter, but how much industry is left?

The so-called resolute approach has blinded the Government to the human cost of their policies. They have inflicted the immediate harms of poverty and hardship on millions of our people. They have also spread fear on an unparalleled scale. There is fear of unemployment and fear of nuclear war. That is typical of the Government's callous attitude and their resolute approach. The Prime Minister, with her cold war warrior image of a nuclear striker, has caused vast millions of people to be disturbed and afraid. Fear of unemployment and then of nuclear war has been spread throughout the country. That has been responsible for the rebirth of anti-nuclear weapons demonstrations and the British peace drive.

The Government display the same callous attitude to the unemployed. There are 4 million unemployed people, registered or not registered, more than 300,000 of whom are in Yorkshire. Their husbands, wives, sons, daughters, relatives and even neighbours—untold millions—are directly and indirectly affected. The Government display an unemotional indifference to human suffering, misery, poverty and family strife. They have no concern for the pride of man and the workless who suffer the indignity of the dole queue.

There is a vast reservoir of pent-up emotion against the Government. It is to those millions that we shall appeal. We shall harness them on a theme of jobs and peace, work not war. I prophesy that when the ballot boxes are emptied—the real opinion poll—there will be revealed an avalanche of rejections of this uncaring Government, sufficient to sweep them out of office. We in Yorkshire and Humberside, one of the many regions in the north that are suffering and which still hold the Labour vote, will be ready for the fight whenever it comes. For the sake of the distressed millions, let us hope that it will not be long.

Photo of Mr Michael Alison Mr Michael Alison , Barkston Ash 7:26 pm, 22nd February 1983

The right hon. Member for Barnsley (Mr. Mason) was brief and I shall try to emulate him in that respect. There was a good deal in his speech with which I did not agree. I do not believe that he would expect me to agree with it. The same applies to much of the motion that he moved. Nevertheless, there is one phrase in the motion that rings bells on both sides of the House and with which my party would wish to be fully associated. It is the phrase that expresses concern at the demoralising effects on those unemployed persons who are suffering indignity, misery and family unhappiness as they strive to live. I hope that no one will adopt a holier-than-thou attitude and try to pretend that compassion is a proprietary party possession, whether it be the Labour party, the Social Democratic party or the Liberal party. We fully share and endorse the sentiments that are expressed in that part of the motion. If the Opposition really believe, as is suggested in the motion, that Government policies have inflicted the pain of unemployment, they must share responsibility for that.

The Labour Government formed by the right hon. Member for Huyton (Sir H. Wilson) in the 1960s presided over close on a threefold rise in unemployment in Yorkshire and Humberside—from 23,000-odd in 1966 to 57,000-odd in 1970. I might add that that was before any oil price shock. The next Labour Government, that formed by the right hon. Member for Cardiff, South-East (Mr. Callaghan), presided over a rise in unemployment in Yorkshire and Humberside from 53,650 in 1974 to 121,000-odd in 1979. That, too, occurred in the relatively palmy days before the 1979 oil price shock. If the Opposition point out that unemployment has risen threefold since 1979, they should bear in mind that there was a fivefold rise under the previous two Labour Governments. We should, therefore, deal with something that is rather more cheerful, constructive and forward-looking than what one sees in the rest of the motion.

Photo of Mr Michael Alison Mr Michael Alison , Barkston Ash

No, I shall not give way. I want to emulate the right hon. Member for Barnsley, who was very brief.

I can hardly do better than sound a note of optimism for the Yorkshire and Humberside region by quoting in full the second paragraph of the 1983 "Regional Strategy Review", which has been published by the Yorkshire and Humberside county councils association. It is the yellow document which many of my right hon. and hon. Friends will have seen. The paragraph states: The region faces the 1980s and 1990s with considerable potential to create new jobs and improve the quality of life. It has a large and experienced labour force, attractive serviced industrial land and buildings, assured energy supplies, an established commercial base, a location in the centre of Britain, areas of good living environment, a range of inexpensive housing and a strong cultural and sporting tradition. If the right hon. Member for Barnsley wants Nissan to come to Yorkshire and Humberside, that is the sort of statement that we should be hearing, not the gloom and doom that is spread by partisan speeches from the Labour Benches.

Photo of Mr Bob Cryer Mr Bob Cryer , Keighley

Perhaps the Minister will also read the first paragraph of the review.

Photo of Mr Michael Alison Mr Michael Alison , Barkston Ash

The review shows that there is something on which to build in the region, with a real chance for a better future. I make no apology for showing that there is some good news about even at present. For example, there is the Leeds computer firm, called Systime, which has obtained a £6 million loan from the European Investment Bank to help finance its new £30 million factory which is due to open this year. It could create 800 new jobs, 450 still in Leeds. It is anticipated that during the year Systime will become the largest private employer in Leeds. This is progress in the knowledge-intensive sector in which the Japanese excel. If we can develop in that way, there will be a much better chance of Nissan coming to Yorkshire.

Microvitec of Bradford plans to expand and increase its production of visual display units, which incorporate the latest microelectronic equipment. The company currently employs over 100 people and hopes to increase that to 450 this year and to over 1,000 by 1986.

Work of another sort includes a 600m extension to the main runway of the Leeds-Bradford airport. Work began in June 1982 and is expected to finish in 1984. The project, which includes re-routeing the main Bradford-Harrogate road, is worth about £13 million, and when completed should bring increased foreign business to the region. It is another bait that might help to bring Nissan to Yorkshire.

The Selby coalfield complex—which is in my constituency—is expected to come into full operation in the late 1980s. It will employ about 4,000 men on a three-shift basis. The complex is expected to produce 10 million tonnes of coal a year for 40 years and is the largest integrated coal mining complex currently under construc-tion in Europe. Again, it shows that the Yorkshire and Humberside region is in the van and not at the rear. This is not the gloom and doom of the past. The region is the area to which Nissan might well look with some hope and expectation.

Associated with the coalfield development is the new east coast mainline railway diversion, the first major new high-speed railway trunk route to be built this century. Trains are scheduled to use the whole 14-mile route from October. Let us hope that it will carry plenty of Japanese business men. It will not do so if we continue to hear speeches of the kind that the right hon. Member for Barnsley delivered this evening.

British Steel has an impressive recent record in spite of the gloomy note that the right hon. Member for Barnsley sounded.

Photo of Mr Michael Alison Mr Michael Alison , Barkston Ash

With great respect, I can hardly hear myself speak when the hon. Member for Kingston upon Hull, East (Mr. Prescott) shouts from a sedentary position.

Last spring the BSC just about broke even and the prospect for 1982–83 was for a small profit before interest. However, factors outside the management's control—notably the American protectionist measures and a sharp downturn in world markets, over which the steel industry, the Government and Britain 'lad no control—mean that the corporation is again making heavy losses and is having urgently to reappraise its prospects. In so far as the fate of the steel industry lay in Britain and in British hands, BSC's achievement in reaching profitability was brilliant. In the private sector, a number of rationalisation schemes, involving support under the Government's private sector steel scheme, are currently under consideration.

Photo of Mr Michael Alison Mr Michael Alison , Barkston Ash

The prospects for the fishing industry are good following the new agreement on a European common fisheries policy. The favourable quotas agreed for the United Kingdom, combined with conservation measures and the agreements on effective enforcement, mean a likely increase in fishing stocks over the coming decades, which will give our industry the potentiality at least of growth instead of decline.

Despite the problems, the textile and clothing industries remain of major significance to the United Kingdom economy. Employing, as they do, over 500,000 workers—one-tenth of the manufacturing labour force in the United Kingdom—and having an annual turnover of about £9 billion they account for about 5 per cent. of the gross domestic product.

Every Yorkshire man will agree that the wool industry is to be congratulated on its excellent export record. That is something that will cause everyone in west Yorkshire to be proud. The Government are well aware of concern about the industry's future, but it should not be forgotten that textiles and clothing are already the most protected sectors of British manufacturing. The new multi-fibre arrangement will reinforce this protection.

An attitude of hopelessness or despair where a traditional industry is in decline is not worthy of a country such as Britain, nor of a region such as Yorkshire and Humberside, which led the world into the industrial revolution.

Japanese shipbuilding, for example, managed to become the world's lowest cost producer. As late as the mid-1970s it launched over 50 per cent. of the world's ships and was a major source of Japanese prosperity. Yet cheaper producers have come along and the latest Japanese plans involve incentives to scrap over 25 per cent. of capacity. I am sure that the Japanese will not sit still and bemoan the fact. They will be out to conquer new territory.

Yorkshire should not be too dazed by Japanese manufacturing potential. In spite of the decline in employment in manufacturing, to which the right hon. Member for Barnsley referred, Britain still has a greater percentage of employment in manufacturing than Japan. Japanese success is due entirely to the extraordinary productivity of the smaller labour force.

Photo of John Prescott John Prescott , Kingston upon Hull East

And the role of the Government.

Photo of Mr Michael Alison Mr Michael Alison , Barkston Ash

Japan has nearly four times as many employees engaged in agriculture as Britain and has nothing like our regional or national productivity. If we want to welcome the Japanese, and especially Nissan, to Yorkshire, we want to tell the world what Yorkshire is capable of doing. It is capable of doing at least as well in manufacturing as the Japanese, in the same way as we do better than them when the two agriculture industries' productivity figures are compared.

When the Government took office, 44 per cent. of Britain's working population lived in areas benefiting from regional aid. When we have reviewed regional policy, it has been our intention to concentrate regional aid on the areas of greatest need. It was against that background that the Government considered that assisted area status was no longer appropriate for much of Yorkshire and Humberside, which has a varied industrial base, good communications and a skilled work force.

Photo of Mr Bob Cryer Mr Bob Cryer , Keighley

And high unemployment.

Photo of Mr Michael Alison Mr Michael Alison , Barkston Ash

We realise that there are particular problems in certain parts of the region—for example, in Mexborough, Hull and Scunthorpe. About 40 per cent. of the working population remain in assisted areas in the Yorkshire and Humberside region compared with a national average of only 27 per cent.

I shall emphasise what has been done for the region since the Government took office. It has received over £180 million-worth of regional development grants and about £40 million-worth of selective assistance. The Government have recognised that parts of the region suffer from serious urban deprivation. Nearly £90 million has been allocated for 1982–83 to Bradford, Hull, Leeds, Sheffield, Barnsley, Doncaster and Rotherham under the urban programme. These are large sums.

In common with the rest of Britain, the region benefits from many other support schemes generally. Under the Department of Industry's loan guarantee scheme, 557 guarantees have been issued since June 1981 covering loans totalling £16·1 million. I should also mention the aid that is being given to help new technology—this is particularly relevant if we wish to encourage Japanese inward investment—including the microprocessor applications, project and robotic schemes. Under these headings, nearly £15 million of assistance has been offered or paid to 176 firms in the region. There are now enterprise zones at Wakefield, Rotherham and Scunthorpe.

The Government recognise the vital role that small firms can play in the economy and, as my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary of State for Industry reminded the House, over the past three years we have introduced 98 schemes or measures to help small business men. We certainly need entrepreneurs, and a region which includes Leeds, Bradford, Barnsley and Rotherham and many other industrial power houses, must be full of risk-takers and innovators ready to take on the market. It is profitable business, not the Government, which in the end creates worthwhile permanent jobs. What the Government can do is to pursue policies which help to create the right environment in which firms are able to prosper.

It is also worth pointing out to the House that quite unprecedented levels of Government spending on special support measures have been introduced, designed to protect both jobs and the jobless. These are having a big impact in Yorkshire and Humberside. For example, about 39,000 people in the region are benefiting from the temporary short-time working compensation scheme, the job release scheme, the community programme, community industry and the young workers scheme. In addition, 55,000 young people started courses under the youth opportunities programme in 1981–82 and more than 44,000 have started courses since 1 April 1982.

The Manpower Services Commission plans to provide 63,100 youth opportunity programme places in 1982–83 in Yorkshire and Humberside, of which 9,700 will be the new one-year training places under the youth training scheme. The right hon. Member for Barnsley made a big point of the prospects for our youth in Yorkshire. I should remind the House, and my right hon. and hon. Friends in particular, that for every 10 school leavers who come forward at present, three stay on at school or go on to further education, three find jobs, and for the remaining four we shall now be offering a guaranteed place in our one-year youth training scheme this year of whom at least 50 per cent. will get jobs at the end of it.

I could elaborate on some of the commendable local efforts that are being made by local authorities and private individuals to help us under these various support measures, but I wish to be brief, to enable as many Members as possible to contribute to the debate. It is clear to all but the blind that Britain cannot be isolated from, and has been severely battered by, some economic fire storms, which have laid bare much of the terrain of the Western world's trade and employment.

I shall not repeat and weary the House with figures showing how our neighbours across the Atlantic and the Channel are suffering, as we are, from import penetration, over-capacity in certain areas of production and, in consequence, rising unemployment. The facts are too widely known and appreciated both at home and abroad for repetition to be necessary.

There are, however, some indications that the tide is changing for the West's economy, and the real question is whether Britain will share in any steady upturn in world trade. Here, competitiveness is generally acknowledged to be the key. For example, a 1 per cent. increase in Britain's share in the world export of manufactures is worth 250,000 jobs. Surely a great opportunity is there to be grasped. The key to competitiveness is, in turn, low inflation, low interest rates and low unit labour costs. In all these areas our performance is moving steadily and persistently in the right direction.

Photo of Mr Michael Alison Mr Michael Alison , Barkston Ash

The hon. Gentleman says "down". If our unit labour costs are going down, the House may be sure that they consistently went up under the Labour Government.

For example, the percentage rise in manufacturing unit labour costs in 1982 was only 4·9 per cent. That was just 1 per cent. more than Japan's or Germany's and half the rate of increase of the United States. When one contrasts that with the 32·6 per cent. increase in unit labour costs in 1975 alone, one can understand why high unemployment has hit Britain and why we have a chance of reversing that malign post-war trend under the present Government's policy. I therefore urge my right hon. and hon. Friends to resist the motion.

Photo of Mr Benjamin Ford Mr Benjamin Ford , Bradford North 7:44 pm, 22nd February 1983

A British Prime Minister once said that in order to produce a solution one should understand the problem. The Minister has not demonstrated to the people of Yorkshire that he understands the problem.

As is natural, I intend to speak about the area that I represent, but I wish to make it plain that I do so in a regional context, and that I and my Bradford colleagues are ready to help any of our colleagues in the Yorkshire and Humberside regions to obtain employment for their areas. That is one of the reasons why we have supported the Nissan project for south Humberside.

One of the great problems that Bradford has suffered over the past 10 years has been the loss of a number of major items normally associated with large cities and the type of area in which Bradford exists. What is most disappointing is that decisions by successive national Governments and bodies associated with them in one way or another have made matters move from bad to worse.

There is no doubt that there is a lack of institutional investment confidence in Bradford at present. The reasons cannot be due to local factors. The area has a good industrial relations record. Despite the national image, it has a good local and surrounding environment. House prices and construction costs are as cheap as anywhere else in the country. The area has innovative skills, and initiatives by both the local authority and private sources have done their best to cope with the problems of industrial decline.

The development of Bradford as a tourist centre, Microvitec, to which the Minister referred, the Saltaire Microfirms project, the revitalisation of Listers and Illingworth Morris, the council's benefit shops and its response to the youth training scheme, which the Government have not encouraged, and programme area status are examples of the council endeavouring to help itself. In addition, an industrial museum and the national museum of photography, film and television are sited in Bradford. These are all initiatives taken by the people of Bradford to try to arrest the decline that has been taking place.

The lack of confidence of institutional investors is probably the most serious outcome of the spiral of decline. This factor more than any other is holding Bradford back. What are the reasons for this lack of institutional confidence? Bradford is the largest city in the country which does not have its own vehicle licensing centre. It was removed after local government reorganisation in 1974. That is symptomatic of the decisions of national bodies in the past nine years.

British Rail seems determined to obliterate Bradford from the railway map. In the 1950s Bradford had good, fast direct rail links to all parts of the country for both passengers and freight. Over the years the service has deteriorated. In the latter part of 1982 a party of British Rail's own Golden Rail officials were to travel to Bradford for a promotion event for holidays in Bradford. The train was withdrawn—nobody told them—and they were late for the promotion. Bradford is becoming a ghost city for inter-city rail travel. Good rail communication is vital for things such as the national museum of photography, film and television, to which I have referred.

British Rail, in a letter to the leader of the council dated 20 December 1982, accepts that 20 per cent. of inter-city services to Bradford were cancelled, terminated at Leeds, or more than 15 minutes late. Is it surprising that people outside Bradford lose confidence in the service and that those who live in Bradford use other stations? The consequence is a decline in service.

The original alignment for the A 1 -M1 link—the Pudsey-Dishforth Spur—was to the west of Leeds. That was logical on traffic and on regional policy grounds, because it opened up the region from north to south. Decision-makers consider how far a place is from the major route to London. This theory may not fit all the statistics produced at public inquiries, but the point is usually made to us by developers and chartered surveyors. Unfortunately, an east of Leeds alignment is now proposed, and it is the subject of a long public inquiry. The change is again symptomatic of the recent major strategic decisions that affect west Yorkshire. It makes sense to see road decisions as part of regional policy. A west of Leeds route helps the most disadvantaged parts of west Yorkshire, but an east of Leeds route makes the differences in the county worse.

Bradford university is suffering from cuts as severe as any other university in Britain, bar one. A university is important to the image and perception of an area by decision-makers. Bradford university has a good tradition of co-operation with local and national industry. It is a modern, technological university that is more geared to the 1980s and 1990s than many other more academic institutions, yet it suffers more than most.

Those are a few examples of decisions that have operated against Bradford and against Government regional policy. It is no good giving grants to organisations to establish themselves in an area if other decisions that are taken put off those same organisations. The spiral of decline spreads in many minor ways when institutional confidence leaves an area. Specialist stores and services move out. They are minor decisions in themselves, but they build up and become the death of a thousand cuts.

Bradford has many problems and many advantages. It would help the area most if the Government gave a sign that they believed in it. A better rail service and more support for the technological university would be a good start. More help should be given by a Government decision to locate regional government offices in Bradford and in Yorkshire. I understand the Department of Transport offices in Harrogate are to be amalgamated with the Department of the Environment offices in Leeds. We should put the new office in Bradford and give the city some encouragement. Rates are cheaper, house prices are cheaper and the environment is better in Bradford. Government costs could be reduced and institutional investors would see that the Government have confidence in Bradford. It would not solve all our problems at a stroke, but it would demonstrate Government confidence in the future of the region. It would be the best form of regional policy decision. Grants to organisations will not help a city much if investors lack confidence. Investors will lack confidence if the Government fail to show confidence. Therefore, I invite the Government to make their actions suit their words.

Photo of Mr Donald Kaberry Mr Donald Kaberry , Leeds North West 7:53 pm, 22nd February 1983

I shall not follow the hon. Member for Bradford, North (Mr. Ford) into the merits and charms of living and working in Bradford. I shall leave him to his pleasures there, because I represent part of a larger city nearby. We still have the greatest respect for all those who move in and around Bradford. I wish to spread the debate a little wider. Time is short and many hon. Members wish to speak. I shall make about five general points that affect the development of trade and industry in Yorkshire and Humberside.

The speech of the right hon. Member for Barnsley (Mr. Mason)—as we know, everything happens in Barnsley from time to time—reminded me of a phrase used by a former Minister of Labour in a Socialist Government, who, when replying to a similiar debate, said that the speech that he had just heard was not founded on any substance and that the Member concerned had overegged the pudding and found himself out on a limb. That describes the extravagant language of the right hon. Gentleman, especially when he advocated that we should do what we could to bring the Nissan car factory to Yorkshire and Humberside. We all cheered, but if I were to be used as an advocate to visit the management of Nissan and to urge them to come here, I should hide every copy of the right hon. Gentleman's speech.

I disagree with most of the motion, except for the last two lines, which state: And therefore calls upon Her Majesty's Government to take urgent action to remedy this decline and regenerate the Yorkshire and Humberside region. I agree with that in principle. All hon. Members who represent Yorkshire, especially those of us who are Yorkshiremen, want the best that is going. We want every possible assistance from the Government on the same terms as other regions. However, we do not hold out a begging bowl. We have the merit of our capacity to stand on our own feet, but we want our fair share. I welcome this debate not for the content of the motion but for the opportunity to express a few thoughts about where we are going and to wonder how we can guide our future steps.

No hon. Member welcomes redundancies or the closure of factories. Every redundancy is a human tragedy, and the closure of every factory is a disaster. Who knows when it may be used again, especially after the liquidators and the flesh pickers have left only the bare bones of an organisation that will never again have sinews.

My favourite phrase, which has been used recently by many people, is, "Give us the orders and we shall produce the finest products in the world." That is the underlying spirit of all those who live in Yorkshire.

Photo of Mr Donald Kaberry Mr Donald Kaberry , Leeds North West

I am trying to be extremely brief. I hope that the hon. Gentleman has the opportunity to speak later.

Orders can be won, not only in Yorkshire but in the United Kingdom, only in the face of keen world competition. Price, quality and delivery must all be right.

Many of us have complained about, and tried to highlight, the image of the British working population. Our capacity is easily discounted. Foreign competitors also want orders and they will use any weapon to beat us. Some of us have complained bitterly about adverse publicity of minor incidents in industrial life. Minor strikes are blown up out of proportion on television and radio and in the daily papers. Each such strike is disproportionate to the remainder of that industry, but it is used by our competitors to show would-be providers of orders that it is no good sending orders to Britain because the workers are always on strike. We must stress, more than ever, the unity of our people, especially the unity of those who live in Yorkshire. I say that in the light not only of the recent world recession but of the world population explosion that has happened in the wrong countries for our business prospects. During the past 20 years the population of the East has increased by more than 700 million. There has been a vast explosion in China, India and Japan. We are courting Japan, but the Japanese are all busy at work and there are now 23 million more of them than there were in 1961.

Time is not on our side, if our industries are to be put right. I hope, therefore, that the Government will move quickly—or, as the motion suggests, urgently—and let us know that they are anxious to back the efficiency, skill and price-cutting efforts of the Yorkshire people to get orders not only in this country, but particularly abroad.

There are three ways in which we suffer in Yorkshire. It is a rarity abroad to see a British motor car, yet many of the parts are made in Yorkshire. There are foundries in Yorkshire that make parts for well-known motor cars in the United Kingdom. There are engineering shops which do the fettling and rough machining before the car is assembled. Thus, the continued loss of the world car market reflects badly on Yorkshire's foundries and workshops.

Similarly, the lack of attention to retooling in engineering workshops is a matter on which the Government can help, because it prevented orders from being placed in west Yorkshire, which has many renowned machine tool factories. Those factories are suffering as a result. The loss of our textile trade means that our Yorkshire chemical companies and dyestuff companies lack orders because of the recession in textiles. So there is an effect right across the manufacturing and selling process.

I shall give a few quick headlines to highlight the ways in which I think the Government can urgently step in to help us to develop our way of life in manufacturing in Yorkshire. The first—I accept that it is a matter of controversy—is the control of inflation. So far, the Government are succeeding in controlling inflation. Certainly, there are prophets of doom who say that as the rate has gone down it is bound to go up. However, it is the Government's task to seek to keep inflation down. The second involves energy costs. This is a matter that has concerned us all very much. If the European Community means anything at all—certainly this is a matter of great controversy—harmonisation should become a reality, and this country should not suffer at the expense of French, German and Italian companies which have subsidised energy in gas, electricity or transport. We know that that exists, and I urge the Government not only to do something, but to be seen to be doing something about harmonisation of energy costs.

Then there is the small but important matter of overheads in factories. The heaviest local charge is rating. I want non-rating of mothballed factories. I do not want roofs to be stripped, but I want to be able to certify that part of a large building is not being used for manufacturing purposes, even though the machine tools are still there. That can be done simply by certificates and declarations. However, I am told in a letter from the Minister of State that it would require primary legislation. So what? It is an urgent matter, so let us have primary legislation, and let us get down to the non-rating of mothballed factories.

I finish on a strong note that I hope will get a reaction from the Minister. I hope that the Government will seek to concentrate on new industries, electronics, machine tools, robotics, and methods of communication. Under the Science and Technology Act 1965, the Government have wide powers to insist on retooling and to give grants for innovation. They already give money in support of innovation, but it is essential that the Government set a lead to give that drive, certainly to the tool industry, and to insist that all companies engaged either directly or indirectly in Government contracting will retool and take advantage of all the moneys that are available. The process should be speeded up, because at present it is far too slow.

I have much more to say, but I have no time in which to say it. I urge the Minister to give these matters his attention.

Photo of Mr Richard Wainwright Mr Richard Wainwright , Colne Valley 8:05 pm, 22nd February 1983

Last month, in the Huddersfield travel-to-work area, for every registered job vacancy there were no fewer than 72 registered unemployed. That compares with the average for Great Britain of 31 unemployed after every registered job vacancy. I stress that this has happened in an area which, as recently as May 1979, had an unemployment rate of only 3·8 per cent. The suddenness of the transformation has overwhelmed not only the unemployed themselves, but all the local institutions that try to train people for work, look after their needs at work, and try to cope with the job situation. The suddenness is unparalleled in the rest of the country in recent years, leaving aside, of course, Northern Ireland.

In addition to the appalling misery that has been so well described already in this debate, and which I entirely endorse, the direct cash cost to the Exchequer should surely move the Government. The direct cash cost per annum to the Exchequer of the present unemployment in Yorkshire and Humberside must be in excess of £1,515 million—over £1·5 billion a year, a direct cash loss, in addition to the lost production, on which no one can put a value. All this is happening in a region where, in the most manifestly visible form, there is the appalling contrast of work that is desperately needed by the community, things needing to be repaired and modernised, alongside 303,000 people seeking work and unable to find it.

We on the Liberal and Social Democratic Benches believe that the Government should introduce a programme—we are very willing to help them—to get approximately 100,000 people off the unemployment register in Yorkshire and Humberside during the next two, or three years. We estimate that it could be done at a net increase in public borrowing of something over £350 million. In our view, that money would be extremely well spent if it got people back to work and got the Yorkshire economy back on its feet.

Because of the pressure of time, I shall give only a few examples. The 1981 census, which has seriously revised many Government statistics, confirmed that tens of thousands of households in Yorkshire and Humberside have neither an inside toilet nor a bathroom. That provides scope for a construction industry which at present is flat on its back. There is an increasingly serious lack of staffed hospital beds. During the past 12 months—other Yorkshire Members will bear out what I say—the waiting lists for general surgery, orthopaedic surgery and dental surgery, and the waiting lists of people wanting to get back to work but too sick to do so, have soared. That is due largely to the shortfall in our hospital programme, especially the staffing. Alas, Yorkshire abounds in the distressing spectacle of modern hospital wards shut because the area authority cannot afford to staff them.

Yorkshire's road system is in a state of serious disrepair and the Government are doing little to assist local authorities in making good the ravages of last winter. West Yorkshire's bid for the TPP programme has recently been met only to the extent of two thirds of its itemised bid for road maintenance and repair. My constituency and other Penine valleys have admirable mills, beautifully constructed in a manner that could not be repeated today and which could be refurbished for use by small businesses, but the capital is lacking and, because we are deprived of assisted area status, access to European funds is now denied us.

Photo of Mr Keith Hampson Mr Keith Hampson , Ripon

Is it not fair to say that last week the Government announced five schemes to convert Yorkshire mills into small units, in particular a large one in Bradford?

Photo of Mr Richard Wainwright Mr Richard Wainwright , Colne Valley

That makes my point, because I said that it was the major parts of Yorkshire which, deprived of access to European funds, are suffering. I am glad to rejoice in Bradford's success, because that is one of the few parts of Yorkshire which still has assisted area status while the rest suffer from the wilful removal of that status at the Government's hands.

I mention only one other project because of the lack of time. That is the superb waterway system which runs east to west across our county and which stands in need of substantial sums for repair and modernisation and can be used for the energy-saving carriage of freight and the provision of good healthy leisure pursuits. Those and other schemes which we often put to local Members would generate orders for private industry. It is a common fallacy amongst Ministers that such schemes suffer front a dependence on the public sector. Their great merit is that they not only provide jobs but generate orders for the suppliers of goods and services in the private sector.

I make one other suggestion. Government nowadays—rightly so—often proceed by way of experiment with new ideas and methods, with pilot schemes in different parts of Britain. My impression is that Yorkshire has lost out on much of this development test bed work. Yorkshire and Humberside is, on the whole, a highly representative area. It is what, in Yorkshire, we call a middling area; it has neither the extremes of poverty nor the extremes of riches. That makes it an admirable area for pilot schemes for improving job prospects in Britain.

I should like to see more Government experiments in different methods of industrial training, of which we have not yet found the secret in our county. Pilot experiments in lower interest rates geared to high technology would be valuable, because nobody knows until we try whether the pessimists are right to say that differentially advantageous interest rates always leak away and are sold off to less valuable entrepreneurs or whether it is possible to use subsidised interest rates for specific industrial advance as the Japanese do. There again, pilot schemes would be particularly appropriate in Yorkshire and Humberside.

There are other schemes for developing new inventions and the products of research which first require a pilot test and which ought to come to our county. There is no excuse for Government inertia. Today, the Minister, revelling quite correctly in our Yorkshire scenery, culture and sporting record, took credit for something which has nothing to do with the Government whatever. If he wants to take credit for that, he must take credit for our climate as well. The Government should get off their bottoms and help Yorkshire and Humberside to realise the potential that we know the area has.

Photo of Mr Stan Cohen Mr Stan Cohen , Leeds South East 8:14 pm, 22nd February 1983

The object of the debate is not to make political capital, but to emphasise the problems that some hon. Members feel exist in the Yorkshire and Humberside area, and I hope that the Government will accept that.

Reference has been made to the steel industry. We are here to talk about the Yorkshire and Humberside region as a whole, but I hope that the House will forgive me if I concentrate on Leeds, part of which I represent. Unemployment in Leeds, which reflects that of the area as a whole, is well above the national average.

Reference has been made to the contribution of the clothing and textile industries to our exports, but no comparison was made with the position two or three years ago. My hon. Friend the Member for Bradford, South (Mr. Torney) will recollect that when he and I visited countries abroad we discovered the existence of textile counterfeiting. There was a job loss of about 2,000 per month in the textile industry in the west riding of Yorkshire. Multiply that over a period of years and one begins to appreciate the problem that has to be faced. I hope that the Governent will take that into account, because counterfeiting is certainly taking place and putting the industry at an unfair disadvantage. An import duty of 90 per cent. is imposed on goods from the west riding of Yorkshire to other countries, but when other countries have to pay an import duty of only 10 per cent. on goods that they send to us, that makes a tremendous difference to our competitiveness.

I do not know how many hon. Members have suffered the indignity—I use that word carefully—of being unemployed. I have. I have had to queue at the labour exchange for my dole money, and I know the indignity and embarrassment that I have felt as a consequence. I do not want to see people experiencing that if it can be avoided. I do not want to see that happen, but I know that it does.

I have contacted the social services, education and the housing departments in Leeds and I should like to quote some figures that I received today. In 1980, 19,300 children received free meals. Last month that figure stood at 24,000—an increase of 20 per cent. The housing department has informed me that it had rent arrears of £33,500 in 1980. Now the figure is £41,000. That is a reflection of the position in Yorkshire, Humberside and Leeds. Those are the Leeds figures, but I am sure they are typical.

The social and economic consequences of unemployment cause me concern. The social services department cannot itemise figures, but it admits that it is being pressurised by the number of social problems confronting it—rent and electricity bills arrears, as well as all the other problems that people have, especially the young. We must look at this issue extremely carefully.

There are no job opportunities. Yorkshire and Humberside has produced, and can continue to produce, much of the wealth of this country. It is a cultural area, but it is regarded as the backwoods.

The Government are not doing enough. I am not blaming this Government especially, but they must bear the responsibility, because they are in power. Successive Governments have failed in their responsibility to propagate the advantages of moving into the provinces. We find that time and time again, not only in this country, but abroad. More money must be put into the Yorkshire and Humberside area to enable it to advertise the advantages that are available so that investment and industry may be attracted to it. The ambition of the people in that area is again to produce, as they have done in the past, the wealth of this country. I hope that the Government will give hon. Members an assurance that the area will be recognised as a force to be reckoned with.

Leeds, with a population of over 500,000, has contributed greatly to this country's wealth. The Minister spoke of what we were producing but he ignored the fact that many major industries—clothing, textiles and engineering—have been allowed to run down. That is of no advantage to the country as a whole, especially to the Yorkshire and Humberside area.

Photo of Mr Patrick Wall Mr Patrick Wall , Haltemprice 8:23 pm, 22nd February 1983

Having listened to the speech of the right hon. Member for Barnsley (Mr. Mason), one would have thought that everything had been caused by the Government. He seems never to have heard of world recession. There was no mention of the fact that every European country has been affected by the recession. There was no mention of the fact that Britain now has the lowest inflation rate since the 1960s. There was no mention of the fact that interest rates are down by 5 per cent. since 1981, which is the equivalent of a benefit to industry of £1,000 million.

Of course unemployment at 14·5 per cent. on Humberside is far too high, but one does not stop giving the patient unpleasant medicine when he is beginning to be cured. Of course more can be done. Rates in Humberside under the present county council rose by over 60 per cent. last year. That is driving industry out of Humberside and certainly will not attract the Japanese. Rates are compounded by the unfairness of water rates. By the time of the next general election, I hope that the Government will have done away with the iniquitous rating system that we have in this country.

I believe that the wages councils should be abolished, because they contribute greatly to youth unemployment. In Germany a youngster gets paid about a third of the wage of a skilled adult. In this country it is more like two thirds. That means that many firms will not employ youngsters. It is just not worth it. That is why Germany has more apprentices and more skilled workers than we do.

British Aerospace, in my constituency, has cut its apprentices by more than 50 per cent. It needs only that number itself. In the past, British Aerospace in Brough had a pool of trained labour for use by the whole of the area. That is no longer possible. Everything should be done to encourage youngsters to work, but at a lower rate of pay. Wages councils are pernicious in that respect.

Anybody talking about Humberside must refer to fishing. The 200-mile EEZ proved a near death blow to the Hull deepwater fleet. With the common fisheries policy, there is now some hope for the future. It is only right that there should be swop deals with Norway, Iceland and various parts of the world. It is only right that a good slice of available grants should go to the deepwater fleet. It has suffered more than any other section of the fishing industry from the loss of third country waters. Hull needs about 20 to 25 freezer trawlers to make it viable. That means an allocation of some 75,000 tons of cod equivalent.

Today I have been told that Hull distant water vessels have not caught up to their quotas. The House may be interested to hear some figures. The cod quota was just under 19,500 tons. Only 11,700 tons were caught by Hull deep water trawlers. Why have they not caught more? The quota for mackerel this year was 51,000 tons and the catch by Hull trawlers was only 32,000 tons. The quota for herring was 5,000 tons but the catch was only 1,200 tons. It seems strange to me that the full initiative of the deepwater fleet has not been used.

I hope that the Minister will be generous to the deep water fleet on Humberside when it comes to restructuring. It now has a future and it should be helped to make that future satisfactory. To qualify for these grants the trawlers have to fish for certain periods. I understand that the Minister is prepared to be flexible over refitting time, but international rules must be obeyed.

I hope that the Minister will do something relevant about redundancy pay for fishermen, which has been the subject of previous debates.

When I toured my constituency in the long summer recess, I found the farmers in very good heart. I found most of the industries in good heart, in spite of what the right hon. Gentleman has been saying. I noticed on the Tape today that the income of farmers increased by 45 per cent. last year. [Interruption.] In the industrial sector of my constituency, I find that some of the caravan firms have done very well indeed. Paul and Whites in Beverley has done extremely well, as have the Hargreaves Group in Beverley—Howdendyke and many others. The gloom and doom that we have been hearing from the Opposition does not apply in my constituency.

I must refer to British Aerospace in Brough. It has orders for the 146 passenger jet and for more Sea Harriers. I recently visited McDonnell Douglas in the United States. I am delighted at the co-operation that is taking place between British Aerospace and McDonnell Douglas over new technology in the advanced jump jet, the AV8B and the VTXTS, which is the new trainer for the American navy. This co-operation between a British and American firm is the right answer and will ensure a good future for British Aerospace, especially in Brough.

I understand that the youth training scheme when it becomes fully effective later this year will have up to 10,000 places in Humberside alone. That is good news for school leavers.

So far, hon. Members have agreed that the south Humberside is the best site for the Japanese, with good communications, skilled labour at Scunthorpe, a port at Immingham and plenty of room to expand. I hope that the final decision will be made soon.

Enterprise zones have been successful, but nothing much is said about free ports. They could well be the answer for Humberside. I have seen successful free ports in Taiwan and they have also been successful in other countries, because they attract foreign investment and create new employment. No duty is charged on the goods manufactured in such free ports, but they must be exported, thus helping the country's balance of payments. Of course there is more in it than that, but I have sent the relevant Minister a full report on the concept of free ports. South Humberside, and particularly the aerodrome at Kilmington, would be a very satisfactory site for this country's first free port.

Humberside has, of course, been hard hit, but, with true Yorkshire grit and common sense, it is fighting through and under this Government and the next Conservative Government it will have a very bright future indeed.

Photo of Mr Geoffrey Lofthouse Mr Geoffrey Lofthouse , Pontefract and Castleford

I am sorry that the Minister is not in his place, because he said that there were signs that things were becoming more cheerful. I regret that I cannot share his view. Yesterday, on my way to the House, I went past the jobcentre in Wakefield. The Minister's constituency is next door to mine, and if he had seen what I saw—youngsters queueing to get in with a look of disillusionment and hopelessness on their faces—he would not have said that.

West Yorkshire county council has estimated that 764,000 people were employed in the area in the period up to June 1982. The decline in employment in west Yorkshire has been significantly higher than the national average. Indeed, in the four years since 1978, an estimated 100,000 jobs have been lost in the county. That represents a 12 per cent. decline in the number of jobs, compared with a national figure of 7 per cent. Unemployment in west Yorkshire has remained about average for Great Britain since mid-1980, although in some areas unemployment is above average. The total percentage for the area is 13·6 per cent., which means that 125,165 people are unemployed.

However, the number of those registered as claiming unemployment benefit does not reflect the scale of unemployment. The county council's estimate of the number of unemployed people in west Yorkshire who are not registered as unemployed is now about 50,000. The true unemployment rate for the county is therefore 19 per cent., compared with 18 per cent. for Great Britain.

In the Castleford travel-to-work area there were 52 unemployed people for every vacancy in January 1983, compared with 31 in Great Britain and an average of 34 in west Yorkshire. I fully appreciate that there are much worse pockets of unemployment that ours in Yorkshire, but it should be borne in mind that the Castleford travel-to-work area has five pits, with a dozen on its perimeter, and that we rely to no small extent on the coal industry, which depends for 75 per cent. of its market on Central Electricity Generating Board purchases for electricity generation. In turn, 80 per cent. of the CEGB's fuel base is coal, compared with 10 per cent. nuclear power. Coal employs 60,000 people directly in Yorkshire, as well as others in supporting industries such as railways and power stations. Each nuclear power station the size of Sizewell would probably remove the need for about 1 million tonnes of coal, the output of three to five collieries. If more nuclear power stations are developed, unemployment in coalmining areas will become desperate.

In the near future there may be an appointment to the National Coal Board with the intention of running down the industry. I hope the miners get the message that if they grab at the carrot of redundancy pay that will be dangled before them, they will be selling not only their own jobs but the jobs of their sons. If this happens, Yorkshire will be an even more depressed area. Even though we are blessed with the great Selby coalfield, with a job capacity of 4,000, as we have been told by the Minister, if that is to replace the capacity in north Yorkshire, where 16,000 miners are employed, there will be a loss of 10,000 to 12,000 jobs. We are alive to the possibility. The next chairman of the National Coal Board should have experience in the industry so that he understands it and will not allow it to be butchered, as has happened in the steel industry.

There is scope in the derelict areas of the Yorkshire coalfields to produce hundreds of jobs if grants are made available. Unfortunately, grants have been reduced over the last few years. While the county has attempted to solve the problem, it cannot cope, because as thousands of hectares are reclaimed, thousands more hectares are becoming derelict. A massive injection of capital would help to solve the problem and might lead to jobs for some of the youngsters who are unemployed.

It may be worth stressing in a regional debate the need for regional policies by the Government. Sectoral policies and major development proposals should be given greater attention. This is one way of helping to prevent regional imbalance. Regional policies tend to be used only when a region is obviously in deep economic trouble. Surely it would be better and more cost-effective to take measures to prevent regional imbalance arising in the first place.

Photo of Mr Edward Lyons Mr Edward Lyons , Bradford West 8:39 pm, 22nd February 1983

Household incomes in Yorkshire and Humberside are the lowest in Britain. That fact should dominate this debate about our region. The Minister, himself a Member for a Yorkshire constituency, quoted the second paragraph of a regional strategy review of the Yorkshire and Humberside county councils association in which it was stated how experienced was our labour force, how assured were our energy supplies, and so on. All that was correct. However, in playing a game of ping-pong politics, he found it expedient to omit the first paragraph of the document, which stated that Yorkshire and Humberside had serious problems, that its unemployment was above the national average and that its household incomes were the lowest in Britain.

The Minister's speech contained nothing to show that he was prepared to confront the real problems. The Minister picked out the good things, and there are good things to be picked out. However no one would have known from the Minister's speech that the textile, clothing and footwear industries in west Yorkshire have lost 33·9 per cent. of their workers and the engineering industry 27·2 per cent. of its workers in the last four years. There has been a loss of 103,000 jobs in west Yorkshire alone.

In the Bradford, Shipley and Bingley travel-to-work areas on 13 January this year, there were 25,258 people officially unemployed, representing a rate of 15·5 per cent. There were three vacancies available for every 100 people unemployed. One does not, of course, blame everything on the Government. One knows that it is important to encourage high productivity, to reduce over-manning and to make British industry competitive. It is not, however, a serious response to the debate to argue how good are the cricket results, when they are good, and to say how pretty the county is. That is an insult to the people who are unemployed in Yorkshire.

Two of the three major industries in Yorkshire and Humberside have suffered the most enormous damage. If the Government, on coming to power, had thought that their policies would produce these results, they would never have embarked upon them. Nothing was said by Conservative spokesmen during the election campaign to show that they envisaged such enormous levels of unemployment either in Britain or within the region, or that they appreciated that the slump ensuing from their restrictionist policies would endure into 1983. The fact that the position is still so bad proves that the Government have been taken by surprise and that they fail to understand the effects of what they have done. There is no real glimmer of light ahead. It is not unpatriotic to say so: it needs to be stated.

The Minister asked the House to appreciate the success of wool textile exports. That is true. The industry is to be congratulated but how does that lone comment appear when the Wool Textile and Clothing Industry Action Committee states that the industry is in a parlous condition and that 240,000 jobs have been lost during the operation of the previous multi-fibre arrangement? What is needed from the Government is powerful action. The trouble is that Yorkshire and Humberside is not so attractive as areas of the south and the south-east, but, with the exception of Bradford, we do not have assisted area status similar to areas in the north-east region and Scotland. Accordingly, Yorkshire and Humberside have the worst of both worlds. However, the Government seem incapable of recognising that and taking action.

The Government must stimulate the nation's economy and that of Yorkshire and Humberside in particular. As my hon. Friend the Member for Colne Valley (Mr. Wainwright) said, there are a number of ways to do that. My hon. Friend the Member for Dewsbury (Mr. Ginsberg) has problems similar to those of other Members representing textile industry areas. He wishes me to say on his behalf that the Government must take action to stimulate the economy. There are ways in which the enormous burden of expenditure to maintain unemployed people can be reduced. The ethnic peoples are disproportionately unemployed. Youth in this area is disproportionately unemployed. Those people may be alienated from our society. We must worry not just about the economic consequences, but also about the social consequences of endemic unemployment.

One must consider the state of the railways, and the fact that the Government have now received a report which recommends, as one option, that they should close down railways in large parts of Yorkshire, including Leeds, Bradford and so on. We expect the Government to say that they will have no truck with any such devastating proposals that would destroy communications in Yorkshire. We want the Conservative party, whether in government or opposition, to say that it will have no truck with such proposals.

We want the Government to initiate, for example, heat insulation programmes and railway electrification. During the last debate on the region in 1981 the hon. Member for Skipton (Mr. Watson) suggested a number of schemes that the Government could undertake to reduce unemployment and keep men constructively employed. Those schemes have not been undertaken by the Government.

Most hon. Members representing the region know well what is required. Many people could be put to work in a way which would strengthen the country's economic infrastructure, and which would reduce the enormous and growing disparity between north and south. It is about time the Government took their finger out and did something about it.

Photo of Mr John Osborn Mr John Osborn , Sheffield, Hallam 8:47 pm, 22nd February 1983

The motion, which has many fallacies, is possibly too simplistic. It assumes too readily that, by taking funds from the profitable and successful by way of taxation, the problems of Yorkshire and Humberside can be resolved. It assumes that the Government can resolve the misery of unemployment and family unhappiness, but there is a limit to what Governments can do. Governments can help and they can hinder. The House must bear that in mind. Nevertheless, I welcome the debate, even though I come from Sheffield and south Yorkshire.

As my hon. Friend the Member for Leeds, North-West (Sir D. Kaberry) said, any Government would wish the area to be prosperous and even for a return to the late 1950s and early 1960s when we were told that we had never had it so good. It was in the 1960s, with perhaps the Jarrow marches in mind, that Lord Hailsham, under Harold Macmillan as Prime Minister, initiated selective help for the north-east—Newcastle, Tyne and Tees.

The northern region has enjoyed a special coherence and entity, new towns and industries, which I encountered on a recent visit. That coherence is true of Scotland and of Wales.

Before local government reorganisation and when Yorkshire was top of county cricket, it had an entity and real pride. There were Yorkshire associations and societies in London and all over the English-speaking world.

Conservative Members recently met the Yorkshire and Humberside county councils association. The association urged Members of Parliament for the area to work together in the area's interests. It was pointed out to me at a recent meeting of the Sheffield chamber of commerce that the Association of Yorkshire Chambers of Commerce shared that wish. That includes Members of Parliament of all parties, but the situation is somewhat difficult, especially in Sheffield where, ironically, the idealism, the policies and perhaps the machinations of the Left-wing city council and the issues that it supports are helping to bring about the decline of some of the city's basic industries at a time when those industries face the winds of competition and recession. I admit that the recession is a world phenomenon, but as the only Conservative from 13 to 17 seats in the south Yorkshire area I find the all-party balance a little out of true. Nevertheless, today's debate has brought Members from Yorkshire and Humberside together, and I very much hope that we, as hon. Members, can go forward together to face the challenge confronting our area.

Inevitably I must deal with Sheffield. I welcome the fact that the Open Polytechnic may well be situated in Sheffield at the Manpower Services Commission headquarters, and that the Rev. Dr. George Tolley, who for years was principal of Sheffield polytechnic, may be principal of it. Perhaps the Minister will confirm that that is so.

The Select Committee on Education, Science and the Arts, of which I am a member, has been very much concerned with the Manpower Services Commission, with the youth opportunities programme, with training and with the transition from school to work or, alas, unemployment. Not only in Sheffield, but in other parts of the country, I have met young people who have no jobs and who need encouragement to face the challenge of the future. Some 25 years ago, I was very much involved with apprentice training. I said then, and I still say to young people, that to gain a skill qualification in times of employment, let alone in a recession, at best gives satisfaction at work and play, but that the important thing is to have skills that others need and will pay for.

I was made aware of another factor that must not be forgotten four years ago when I was in the European Parliament, but more recently in the Economic Affairs Committee of the Council of Europe of which I am now a member. Recession and rising unemployment are not confined to Sheffield, south Yorkshire or Yorkshire and Humberside. They have hit Europe and the Western world as a whole. In the EC, unemployment could be 13 million, in the Council of Europe countries 17 million to 18 million, and in the OECD countries 32 million now and perhaps 35 million next year. Unemployment is hitting Socialist, Social Democrat, Christian Democrat, Republican and Conservative Governments alike I hope that the House will bear this reality constantly in mind so that we may face the future and solve the problems together. The world situation does not make the problem any less urgent in Sheffield and Yorkshire, but a pick-up in the United States, for instance, could lead to a pick-up in Europe and in Great Britain with a feed-back to Yorkshire and Humberside.

In the debate on the regions in July, I referred to the fact that the private sector of the steel industry—the special steels industry—had its back to the wall. Like many other Sheffield names, the successor to Samuel Osborn and Co. Limited, the company with which I have been associated, Aurora Holdings, has unfortunately gone out of steel altogether this week, the last plant to go being at Openshaw in Manchester. This was due to a variety of factors. Unfair competition from the British Steel Corporation and high import levels have already been mentioned in the debate. For the special steels industry, however, it is no good locking the stable door after the horse has bolted. This presents the city of Sheffield with a new challenge.

There are one or two small improvements that I wish to see. First, there should be stronger action by the Government to enable purchasers to know when they are buying British and when they are not. British wool has had its symbol for many years. The hand tool industry launched its solution at a recent exhibition in Birmingham. But the question of the country of origin is still of concern to the cutlery industry. I hope that the Department of Industry will persuade the Departmant of Trade to reconsider the matter.

Secondly, one or two small successful companies in Sheffield make spare parts for agricultural equipment, the motor industry and other industries. They supply items such as springs, tynes, cutters and so on to repairers and original manufacturers. The new copyright law is making some of the traditional markets dry up—yet that law does not affect those companies' competitors in the EC or elsewhere. This morning I met my hon. Friend the Minister for Consumer Affairs and asked that the Government examine the matter again and act urgently.

Thirdly, an all-important issue is lower energy costs. The right hon. Member for Barnsley (Mr. Mason) said that the coal mining industy was the only industry to survive in south Yorkshire. The possible arrival of Arthur Scargill and the headquarters of the National Union of Mineworkers in Sheffield are considered to be mixed blessings. As 82 per cent. of our electricity is generated by coal, it is one major cause of Britain having to buy electricity at one of the highest levels in Europe. Mr. MacGregor of the British Steel Corporation has confirmed that that is why electric steel melting is almost impossible in a city such as Sheffield. Perhaps the coal miners' good luck today is the reason why so many steel workers are on the dole. The NUM and the unions presenting steel workers are likely to jump into bed together, but it strikes me that they will be strange bedfellows.

The employers want the price of energy to drop. Cheaper coal would help, as would a positive nuclear energy policy and a successful outcome at Sizewell. But I do not think that Arthur Scargill and the NUM will help to bring that about.

Another small issue is that of the amalgamation of the Steel Castings Research and Trade Association and the British Cast Iron Research Association. I had hoped that they would move to Hoyle Street, Sheffield—which had been a British lion and Steel Research Association laboratory—but I fear that they may go to Birmingham. Can the Minister tell us more about that?

I shall deliberately curtail my remarks. The city and county councils have not done a great deal to encourage industry to the area. The difficulties facing those in the area who wish to stay there must be overcome. The Yorkshire and Humberside region faces a challenge, as do Sheffield and south Yorkshire, and that challenge must be met.

Photo of Mr Albert Roberts Mr Albert Roberts , Normanton 8:58 pm, 22nd February 1983

It is always welcome to say a word about one's own county. I have vast experience of my county and am probably its senior Member in the Chamber. I have been a Member for more than 30 years. I have never yet experienced a time when I could say that the Yorkshire and Humberside region has had a fair deal.

The Minister, whose constituency includes the Selby coalfield, cannot claim any credit for its development. It has been there for umpteen years, and was developed under a Labour Government. It replaced pits that were near exhaustion and others that will be exhausted within the next few years. The Government cannot claim any credit for the Selby coalfield.

The right hon. Gentleman also referred to the Yeadon airport. The Labour party asked for an extension of that airport in the 1960s. It received no help from the Government. In fact, the present Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food turned down that request when he was a Minister at the Department of the Environment. Therefore, Yeadon airport is being extended as a result of the pressure brought to bear by West Yorkshire county council, Leeds, Bradford and other areas. Perhaps the Minister will tell us how much money the local authorities who run the airport receive from the Government. I do not know. If there is any help, I suspect that it is meagre.

The county extends from the east coast to within 10 miles of the west coast. We all know the old saying about there being more acres in the county then words in the Bible. We have mixed industry which comprises agriculture, steel, and coal. If only we were a province, we could work out our own salvation. Instead of that, however, we must assist the other areas that go around with begging bowls. When the hon. Member for Colne Valley (Mr. Wainwright) referred to the development of our hospitals, some Conservative Members shook their heads. I should like them to calculate the unit costs of hospitals throughout the country. If they take the west midlands, Merseyside and London as examples, I guarantee that they take more from the Exchequer than do we in Yorkshire. That is representative of the type of treatment that we have received for years.

Household incomes in Humberside and Yorkshire have already been referred to. It is undeniable that household incomes in Yorkshire are lower than anywhere else. In the 1950s, when there was industry and full employment, we wanted development in the Normanton area. We were told that it must go elsewhere. At that time, skilled workers in Yorkshire were being poached by the car industry. They went because the wages in Yorkshire were lower than those offered elsewhere. We now hear the pleadings nd bleatings of those areas. We have had to put up with what they are suffering all the time.

We would probably be the most economically sound region if we were allowed to develop. However, when it comes to asking for assistance from the Exchequer, we are told, "Generate your own industry". We will generate our own industry. We have the wit. We could be second to none. Hon. Members know what happens in the Chamber. I get sick and tired of hearing about the assistance that is being given to Merseyside. We hear about it week after week. Nevertheless, its geographical location is second to none. We can all quote indisputable figures. The north-east, the north-west, Yorkshire and the east midlands are the poorest areas. It is high time that the Government paid more attention to their needs.

Signing on the unemployment register has been mentioned. I signed the unemployment register in the 1930s when there was stark poverty. I left school in 1921. We all know about the father of the Secretary of State for Employment and his bike. I could not afford a bike. We only started to have full employment when we were preparing for war. I now hear the Prime Minister talking about inflation. There was no inflation in the 1920s and 1930s. One could buy a semi-detached house for £300. Moreover, in those days, wives did not work, especially in mining areas. Even so, 5 million of us were unemployed then. If we could have full employment when we were preparing for war, why can we not have full employment when we are preparing for peace?

I have read the economists' theories. I heard them throughout the 1920s and 1930s and I hear them now. However, no one in the Chamber can claim that he knows the answer to our problems. I recognise that we must generate international trade—I am mature enough to know that. The Prime Minister and others say repeatedly that we must reduce inflation and that when that is achieved we shall automatically have more employment.

Whether we like it or not, we are going through an industrial revolution. It is clear that a great change is taking place and I think that the Government could do much more to assist the British people. In the 1920s and 1930s public works were put into operation. New roads were constructed and local authorities did much more in those days for the unemployed than they are doing now.

I should have liked to see the electrification of the railways up to the north-east. That project would have provided work for the steel industry and for other industries as they became involved. The Government have turned away from that project. If inflation is reduced to 4 per cent., for example, is a Conservative Member prepared to say when unemployment will similarly decrease?

My constituency is contiguous to that of the Minister of State, the right hon. Member for Barkston Ash (Mr. Alison), and we know something about each other. I tell him that it is time that the region had a greater share of the national cake and a fairer share of EC regional aid grants. The figures have been produced by various associations and they are authentic. If Members in the Yorkshire and Humberside region get together, we can cause quite a stir in the House. That is what we should do unless a fair deal is coming in the very near future. If a Conservative Member can prove to me that other regions are not getting as good a deal as Yorkshire and Humberside, I shall be prepared to listen to him with an open mind.

Several Hon. Members:

rose

Photo of Mr Ernest Armstrong Mr Ernest Armstrong , North West Durham

Order. It may help the House to know that the Minister who is to reply to the debate hopes to catch my eye at eight minutes to 10.

Photo of Mr Michael Brown Mr Michael Brown , Brigg and Scunthorpe 9:09 pm, 22nd February 1983

I cannot hope to rival the wisdom and personal experience which the hon. Member for Normanton (Mr. Roberts) brought to bear in a speech of great eloquence. I recognise that many of the problems to which he drew attention and which occurred in the 1920s and 1930s are to some extent, certainly in my constituency, with us in the 1980s. As a Member of somewhat tender years who looks forward, as do the young unemployed in my constituency, to a somewhat brighter future, I hope that I may have the attention of the House.

I represent a constituency that is heavily dependent on the health and welfare of the steel industry. The Government rightly decided to retain the entity of the steel industry with five major plants, including Scunthorpe and Ravenscraig. The Government have charged the British Steel Corporation with the responsibility of preparing a corporate plan, which I understand will be presented to the Government shortly and will take into account the Government's requirement to maintain an industry with five major plants.

The Government's decision is to be applauded, but I hope that the British Steel Corporation will ensure that the total output from those five plants will not be reduced and that it had no intention simply of dividing a certain tonnage that it had in mind by five instead of by four if the Government had not sensibly intervened before Christmas.

The Government can claim a great deal of credit, certainly in my constituency, for recognising that the difficulties in the steel industry have not been caused by themselves and were not necessarily all caused by previous Administrations, but when the right hon. Member for Barnsley (Mr. Mason) referred to the problems in the steel industry it was as though cuts and closures had not been recommended to the Administration in which he served in 1975–76. It was as though there had been no recommendations to reduce the size of the steel and coal industries, in the hope that a brighter future was around the corner.

We all know that cuts took place in the steel industry in the dying days of the Labour Administration. Unemployment in my constituency increased by about 1,700 at a stroke shortly before the last general election. The Opposition's record is not one of which they can be proud when drawing attention to the fact that the problems in the steel industry today were created in the mid and late-1970s. But never mind—one accepts that we must move forward.

Even if we accept at face value the commitment by the leader of the Labour party, the right hon. Member for Ebbw Vale (Mr. Foot), to double the output of steel after the next general election, if the Scunthorpe plant doubles its output of steel it is unlikely that that will involve taking on the 10,000 men who were once steel workers but are unemployed today. I cannot imagine that the efficiency being created in that industry will be thrown away even if the Leader of the Opposition could sell 25 million tonnes. I think that the right hon. Gentleman said 20 million tonnes, but in another throwaway line he said 25 million tonnes. But what is 5 million tonnes between delegates at the Labour party conference?

Let us be clear and let us not deceive former steel workers, who may think that with the doubling of steel output there will be a doubling of those employed in the steel industry. Only a few hundred additional men will be taken on. I should like steel output to be increased, but let us be under no illusions and think that that will involve taking on thousands of former steel workers.

We must devote our attention to the problems of providing alternative jobs and industries, and here the Government have a proud record. They have recognised the problems in my constituency during the past two or three years and have given us development area status, which was requested not only by myself but by the Labour-controlled Scunthorpe borough council as well as the Conservative-controlled Glanford borough council.

The Labour council as well as the Conservative council and Conservative Member of Parliament put pressure on my right hon. Friends to consider the case for an enterprise zone. They accepted the case, which was made just as strongly by Labour councillors as by Conservative politicians.

We have had the considerable advantage of our case receiving sympathetic consideration by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Transport for the improvement of the A15 link road, which will link the motorway system and the Humber bridge system and bypass those villages in my constituency that have been adversely affected in recent years. I hope that my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State, who is not in the Chamber, will get the message that we will expect him to complete the excellent motorway network which has given south Humberside the opportunity to bring to fruition many of the jobs that industrialists have in mind.

I should like to bend the ears of my hon. Friends from the Department of Industry to a problem that has arisen with regard to the now redundant site of Nypro in Flixborough. The site tragically closed down two years ago, but there is now a serious purchaser who wishes to take it over as a going concern to undertake certain economic activities. I hope that the National Coal Board, as joint shareholder of the assets of Nypro, will be very much more forthcoming than it has been hitherto with regard to any negotiations that might be entered into if there are serious purchasers, which I understand there are, for that site.

The Government have recognised the role of non-governmental agencies in assisting the promotion of Yorkshire and Humberside. I congratulate my hon. Friends on what they have done to support the Yorkshire and Humberside development association. The Government have given some aid to that worthwhile organisation, upon which many hon. Members on both sides of the House rely for information and the encouragement and promotion of Yorkshire and Humberside. The Government also have a proud record in helping the tourist board.

There are unemployment difficulties in the region, but they would have existed whichever Administration were in power.

Photo of John Prescott John Prescott , Kingston upon Hull East

They would have been smaller.

Photo of Mr Michael Brown Mr Michael Brown , Brigg and Scunthorpe

If the hon. Gentleman wishes to make a contribution—he has been in and out of the Chamber and shouting frequently from a sedentary position—he should try to catch your eye, Mr. Speaker.

Some industries in south Humberside have a proud record. My hon. Friend the Member for Haltemprice (Sir P. Wall) said that agriculture has done extremely well. The hon. Member for Kingston upon Hull, East (Mr. Prescott) belittled what my hon. Friend said about the achievement of the agriculture industry in Humberside. He should recognise that the contribution of that industry, especially to Humberside, is just as large as that of the heavy manufacturing industries. My hon. Friend also mentioned free ports. Everyone is talking about free ports, because my right hon. and learned Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer has said how seriously he is considering the idea of a free port in Britain. Immingham in south Humberside is well placed to be given serious consideration should my right hon. and learned Friend have something interesting to say on the matter in his Budget speech.

Hon. Members on both sides of the House have played their part in drawing attention to the benefits of Nissan coming to south Humberside. I hope that the Government will do all that they can to make the case for south Humberside, so that not only my right hon. Friends the Secretaries of State for Wales and for Scotland will visit Japan to make a case for their areas, but so that my right hon. Friend the Minister of State, Department of Employment—a Yorkshireman—will visit Japan and put forward Yorkshire and Humberside.

We have been talking about cricket teams, but perhaps we could now move to football. The manager and the team of Scunthorpe United, which was bottom of the fourth division and facing relegation last year, pulled themselves up by their boot straps when they recognised that they were in difficulty and that no Government would help them to get to the top of the fourth division. My constituents think as much of the hon. Member for Kingston upon Hull, East as they do of Hull City football team. The achievement of Scunthorpe United shows that the people of south Humberside believe in self-help. When we seek promotion in the industrial league tables we shall have followed the example of Scunthorpe United.

Photo of Mr Alex Lyon Mr Alex Lyon , City of York 9:18 pm, 22nd February 1983

The dilemma that faces the hon. Member for Brigg and Scunthorpe (Mr. Brown) is that if his unemployed constituents are to have a brighter future it will come only when he is unemployed. Happily, that will happen in the not-too-distant future. The hon. Gentleman was rather caustic about the Labour Government's record on the steel industry. I remind him that in the five years of the Labour Government there was a reduction in the number of people in work of 20,000. In the four years of the Conservative Government, there has been a reduction of 2·25 million. Our present crisis has been caused by the Government destroying about 20 per cent. of the manufacturing sector.

However, Yorkshire's problems have been worsened by neglect, not only by this Government but by the previous Government, and an interesting feature of the House tonight is to see how many hon. Members with marginal seats are present. I suspect that if our area were like the north-west of England or the midlands there would be a great deal more Government concern about the problems of Yorkshire and Humberside. Perhaps part of the reason is our neglect in not having put our case as strongly as we should have done.

In the few moments that I have at my disposal I shall address myself to the problems of York. The city is not as affected by unemployment as some of the areas represented here. Nevertheless, its unemployment has doubled during the period of this Government, and one of the main reasons has been the rundown in the primary industries that are represented in the city. In particular, the building industry has suffered seriously. The Government could stimulate the industry by putting more money into housing and into some of the major sectors for refurbishing the economy, such as sewerage, which badly needs assistance in York. That is one way in which people could get back to work.

It is interesting that Conservative Members constantly go on about not throwing money at problems to solve them, and then claim either that their Government have put money their way or that their Government should put money their way. The absurdity of the Government's economic policy is simply that they do not recognise that this country, and the international economy, will be stimulated only when we invest more in creating demand, and that the problems of inflation are nothing compared with the problems of the unemployed that have been created by this Government in trying to get down inflation. If I had to face the twin problems of inflation and unemployment, I would rather deal with unemployment than inflation. It is not necessarily a feather in the cap of this Government that they have managed to cut three points off inflation during their four-year term at the cost of three million unemployed. That is the total success of this Government.

Two other major problems face industry in York. The confectionery industry is well represented in the city, and it has seen a major turndown for the first time in any recession since the war. That turndown was caused by the combination of the recession and the introduction of 15 per cent. VAT on confectionery. It would be of considerable assistance if the confectionery industry were allowed to go back to the pre-1968 position, when there was no taxation because it was considered to be food. The confectionery industry as a whole, and York in particular, would greatly benefit.

There is another grave concern. In a city where about 15 per cent. of the working population work on the railways, it would be absurd if the Government were to implement any of the major serious options of the Serpell report. We have debated the matter on other occasions, and I shall not weary the House by going through it again. However, if the Government are really serious in not wishing to cut the major railway network, they could say here and now that they do not intend to implement option B in Serpell, which would cut the railways by about three quarters, and would cut employment in York by about the same figure, and, in particular, that British Rail Engineering will not be sold off and will still have a viable future within British Rail. At present it is still getting orders overseas, and there is no reason why it should be sold off. It would be most reassuring to my constituents if we were to be given that assurance now.

Finally, there is the problem of the glass industry. It is an interesting problem for the country as a whole, because it is increasing its efficiency enormously. Its productivity, too, has gone up enormously. The investment in National Glass in York has been by a firm whose management is good and which has had a marked interest in improving efficiency and productivity. Nevertheless, it is finding it extremely difficult to compete these days with supplies from Germany which are causing considerable difficulties for employment prospects within the city.

If, after the next Labour Government take office with an alternative economic strategy, the country were to invest enormous sums of money in improving our competitiveness by improving our capacity to produce good products, there would be a short period during which industries would have to get back on their feet before competition from abroad began to eat into the market. For that reason if for no other, there must be some system of import controls for a limited period. Such a system would have a considerable effect upon such industries as glass. I hope that after the next election, the glass industry, which at the moment faces a rather sombre future, will have much brighter prospects.

Photo of Mr Keith Hampson Mr Keith Hampson , Ripon 9:25 pm, 22nd February 1983

I was particularly struck by the remarks of the hon. Member for Normanton (Mr. Roberts) when he compared the record of our region with that of Merseyside. Is not that what is wrong with regional debates? Coming from S hildon as I do, I spoke in the northern region debate. In each of these debates we lack a sense of perspective. Each region is making the same sort of demands. With respect to Labour Members, particularly the right hon. Member for Barnsley (Mr. Mason), it is not good enough to say that we want more public spending and a discriminatory policy to correct regional imbalances. All the regions are demanding that. There are the same structural problems in the steel, textile and coal industries in Europe. We are all competing against one another, offering more and more subsidies, and that must be a suicidal course.

We are at a stage when we must think more care fully about the sort of discriminatory aid that we adopt. To designate a region by no means guarantees that companies will go there and that once designated the money available will be taken up in a particular region. We should be giving projects and programmes specific help rather than broadly demarcating great tracts of the country. That is what the Government are beginning to do. At long last we are beginning to follow what has happened in the United States for decades—the matching of funds. It is not a matter of just calling on the Government to do something or blaming them for failing to do something, but of achieving a proper partnership and using public money to stimulate private investment and development.

We are only at the beginning of that process but we have already seen that Yorkshire and Humberside has 34 joint programmes in for urban development grant. In the first round, six were approved last week. As I said earlier, Bradford has over £500,000 to convert a mill into smaller workshop units at a gearing of about 1:4 public to private money. Scunthorpe has had about £1 million in order to trigger off £30 million for the development of the steelworks there. There have been four projects in Wakefield alone; they are not just in Bradford as was said earlier. That must be the way to do it.

It is not just a matter for the Government; it is a perspective which must be determined within the region. It is too glib to say that the Government have not done enough.

My right hon. Friend the Minister described what the Government have done. He mentioned the £15 million in aid to new technology. However, one cannot boast of what has been done as one could in the northern region debate. One of the real tragedies of the Yorkshire and Humberside region is that we are the poorest region for the development of high technology. For example, we are way behind the north-east. The House must look at some of these growth sectors to see whether sufficient help has been given to certain areas.

On regional aid in general, in the last financial year, our region received £47 million a s against £144 million for the northern region. I am not suggesting that my region ought to match the northern region, but it and Merseyside have acute problems. The Government's more selective approach in harness with the private sector is the right way to proceed. The hon. Member for Bradford, North (Mr. Ford) made the forceful comment that confidence could easily go from an area. He went on to say that institutional investment tended not to go into such an area. That is an important factor. One important factor in the development of business confidence is the role and attitude of the local authorities. There is no doubt that in my region, he it in Humberside, Yorkshire or Sheffield, local authorities have demonstrated to businesses that want to come into the area their attitude; they are slamming on rates at higher and higher levels. Companies must see a more receptive attitude.

The construction industry is at the heart of any growth in the economy. Whereas 1982 saw an upturn in housing starts of 25 per cent. in England as a whole, the figure for our region is only 11 per cent. Why? With respect to Opposition Members, it is not the Government's fault. The Government have poured in unbelievable sums of money. If one adds up what the Government have just given to Barnsley, Sheffield, Kirklees, Leeds and Wakefield in additional HIP allocations, it comes to £17 million, with £9 million going to Leeds.

The question involves not just Government money but the attitude, in part, of local authorities. In the first half of the current financial year the region of Yorkshire and Humberside has managed to take up only 33 per cent. of its allocation for housing. The region has spent only 33 per cent. in half a year. Throughout last year only 70 per cent. of the resources available for house building were used.

Surely we are in a partnership. It is a matter of getting the private sector interested and of the local authorities doing much more to do so. It is for hon. Members to ensure that their local authorities do their utmost, whether it is to get high technology going by using the wealth of our universities; whether it is by their attitude to the rates; or whether it is having the imagination to find programmes and projects which will attract institutional investors such as building societies. We lie at the heart of the building society industry. Those are the sort of institutions that local authorities, with enough flexibility of mind and imagination, can draw into programmes to rejuvenate our region.

Photo of Mr George Thomas Mr George Thomas , Cardiff West

I am much obliged to the hon. Member for his brief speech.

The winding-up will begin at eight minutes to 10 o'clock. I am anxious to give a south Yorkshire Member and a Humberside Member a chance to speak, so I appeal for brevity.

Photo of Mr Patrick Duffy Mr Patrick Duffy , Sheffield, Attercliffe 9:33 pm, 22nd February 1983

When the Prime Minister invoked the famous prayer of St. Francis in Downing Street in May 1979, she promised to unite the nation. After nearly four years of her brand of Government, the nation is more divided than ever. Politically, economically and industrially we are two nations. Nowhere is this better illustrated than in Yorkshire and Humberside. Thatcherism is destroying Yorkshire industry. I shall take as an example the steel industry.

Listening to the hon. Member for Brigg and Scunthorpe (Mr. Brown), one would not have believed that unemployment in Scunthorpe was over 30 per cent. Employment in the Sheffield steel industry is now just over 20,000 compared with 43,000 in 1979. Like the hon. Gentleman and the Minister, the Secretary of State for Industry has also tried to put a cheerful, complacent veneer on Sheffield steel. In an article in the Sheffield Morning Telegraph on 12 January 1983, the right hon. Gentleman said: Sheffield and south Yorkshire generally will use its enterprising spirit … and recover its pre-eminence among manufacturing". The right hon. Gentleman cited a firm in my constituency, Davy McKee, and the contract that it had recently secured. Since the Secretary of State made those remarks, the firm has announced yet further redundancies of 300 plus.

I cannot better indict the Government than by quoting such men as the chairman of the CBI's Yorkshire and Humberside region and the president of the Sheffield chamber of commerce. At about the same time, early last month, the chairman of the CBI in the Yorkshire and Humberside region, Jon Denny, reported in the same issue of the Morning Telegraph, said:, How can anyone plan for the future if they are living from day to day? … Much of the industry in the rest of the Yorkshire and Humberside region, which I represent, has been facing a similar fight for survival. Dr. John Hervey, the president of the Sheffield chamber of commerce, said: Sheffield has been feeling the pinch for some time now, but the situation has reached alarming proportions in the last twelve months. How can one reconcile the views of men on the ground in Yorkshire with the Minister's complacency and the speeches of some of his Back-Bench colleagues?

The Yorkshire and Humberside region is clearly in serious trouble, yet the Government have chosen this time to deprive much of the region of assisted area status. Our region also suffers from an ageing and deteriorating housing stock, yet house building rates have been allowed to fall dramatically. In the inner areas of the major conurbations in west and south Yorkshire there exist the familiar city centre problems of sub-standard living conditions and poor public amenities as well as jobs.

However, when average gross weekly earnings, household weekly expenditure, spending on social security benefits, and regionally relevant public spending per head are compared with other regions—including Scotland, the north and north-west—it shows that our region comes off not merely worse, but very badly. Again, by depriving Sheffield of intermediate area status, the Government have deprived it of EC funds. Through the grant-related expenditure for 1983–84 the Government have cut Sheffield's spending and placed the city in twenty-ninth position in the league table of 36 metropolitan districts. In addition, the Government are punishing Sheffield through the grant penalty system, which will cost Sheffield ratepayers over £14 million in 1983–84, despite its inner city problems.

As the hon. Member for Colne Valley (Mr. Wainwright) said, Yorkshire and Humberside is a good proving ground for testing Britain's industrial prospects. It is one of the areas in which a pick-up in the economy will soon manifest itself with the right encouragement and Government policies.

As time is short, I shall touch only briefly on the possible growth points. I must inevitably mention steel. I also want to say a word about joint ventures, of the type cited by the hon. Member for Haltemprice (Sir P. Wall), and about high technology.

Dr. John Hervey, president of the Sheffield chamber of commerce, says: It really is quite ludicrous that our exports should be subject to such high tariffs while our foreign competitors are aided by low import tariffs … With their foreign rivals getting gas and electricity so much cheaper, they have been at a big disadvantage in world markets"— he is talking about Sheffield's steel producers— Government could do a good deal about high energy costs at home. There are other aids that the Government could provide for steel. The decision by EC Governments to withdraw all types of financial aid from steel by 1985 should be reviewed and preferably resisted by the Government at the earliest moment. High priority could be given to public sector construction projects, of which there are many examples.

On joint ventures we have heard the case for Nissan. I shall not dwell on it, except to say that we have a case, and Opposition Members will be looking to the right hon. Gentleman for the most rigorous prosecution of that case. We shall accept nothing but success. We are determined to win this one. We have rarely won anything from this Government or from previous Governments. We have lost again and again when up against Scotland and Wales and even the northern region. This is one that we shall not lose. That is the spirit and resolution of the Opposition. I hope we shall be joined by Government Back Benchers. If all Yorkshire Members are determined that they will not lose out on this one, and say so to the Government, then we shall not lose out on it.

In regard to high technology, the world is on the edge of a new industrial revolution. Microelectronic gadgetry will reshape our lives. For us the question is what Britain will make of all this. Imports of electronic equipment exceed exports by more than £900 million, and the gap is widening. Britain's most urgent need is to undertake a profound transition from the kind of industry that still depends upon brawn to the brainy world of biomedical engineering, data processing and microelectronics. These are precisely the industries that can constitute beacons for the future development of industry in Yorkshire.

Electronic and microtechnology growth industries are seriously under-represented in Yorkshire and Humberside. We require urgently a centre for industrial innovation and more information technology facilities throughout the region. Above all, we require support from the Government and investment funds to put our region in the forefront of microtechnology. If only the Government would share our faith in the region and ensure that we get the Nissan project, that would give the region a spark back to life. If only the Government would begin in that way to get Yorkshire back to work, they would be taking a practical step in getting Britain back to work.

Photo of Mr Robert Banks Mr Robert Banks , Harrogate 9:42 pm, 22nd February 1983

We all wish to have the Nissan contract in this country, and we want it in Yorkshire. The way to do it is to start talking about what industry is doing in Yorkshire and how well it is doing. Running it down, as some hon. Members have done, will not help to persuade the Japanese to bring the Nissan contract to Yorkshire.

I welcome the debate. It is the best experience for all Yorkshire Members when we are able to debate matters relating to Yorkshire to the exclusion of other parts of the country. I endorse the remarks of my right hon. Friend the Minister of State when he was talking about some of the good contracts and the good news about Yorkshire. I will not talk about the despondency that Opposition Members have spoken about, because I do not believe it is useful to the prospects of Yorkshire.

Yorkshire is the cradle of industry, and the diversity of our industries and services takes us into every aspect of the production of national wealth. I regret very much the differences between north and south. It is high time Yorkshire got the recognition it deserves. Our industry is impressive in its achievements. Too often we overlook the praise that is due both to management and to work forces for overcoming difficulties and in so many cases improving on each year's results.

I have many examples in my constituency of companies which are doing extremely well this year compared with last year and even when last year's results are compared with those of the previous year. We have a company in steel factoring which is doing very well, as is a company which is manufacturing chemicals for the protection of metal; that company is exporting to Japan. It is high time we banged the drum a bit about what Yorkshire industry is doing. One thing I am sure of is that Yorkshire industry is capable of taking the country out of recession when the time comes. I believe that the time is now upon us.

The Falklands campaign was a remarkable achievement not least in that the task force was able to be put together in a very short time. Many people in industry were involved in that. That is something that is too easily forgotten. People in industry, like those involved in the task force, are capable of achieving the results that we all want to see—that is, firms making competitive products and selling those products in world markets. Out firms are doing that now and achieving great success. I sense a new spirit of confidence beginning to surge among all our people in industry just as it did among those who were connected with the Falklands campaign. With inflation down—a factor of huge importance to industry—and the pound at a level that gives a definite edge in export markets, and a new awareness of the competitive spirit in our factories, we stand to gain enormously.

We are at a point where we can reverse the economic fortunes of this country which have been in decline for decade after decade. This is the best opportunity we have had in the last 20 years to start going out into the world to make Britain a real leader not only in Europe but in world markets. Companies in Yorkshire are able and willing to do that. They are eager to grasp the opportunities ahead because they have the people of the right mind to do it.

There are great opportunities in the service industries. In my constituency of Harrogate, we have a unique conference centre. I stress to the Minister that our rail link to Leeds and to York is of crucial importance and, in my book, sacrosanct. I trust that the future in my constituency will be one of greater prosperity with new developments in the hotel industry. The centre will bring in new trade and new business. I believe that my right hon. and learned Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer should grant industrial allowances for hotel developments. It is an industry that will be of great significance in the future. It is the service industries that will provide many new jobs.

I have often been told by Americans that Britain has the technology, the skills and the people. It is just that they do not get together to create the companies that can compete with some of the companies worldwide, especially in America. I believe that we are now beginning to have a new confidence in ourselves to do that. We, in Yorkshire and Humberside, must not accept decline. The spirit exists for reversing the decline. I am glad that there has been the opportunity to hold this debate.

Photo of Mr James Johnson Mr James Johnson , Kingston upon Hull West 9:48 pm, 22nd February 1983

My right hon. Friend the Member for Barnsley (Mr. Mason) made a masterly and well-marshalled speech. I could not understand why the Minister, as a Yorkshireman, or, like myself, an adopted Yorkshireman, and sitting for a Yorkshire seat, should say what he did about fishing. The right hon. Gentleman used the word "good". I should like to give him some statistics about Hull. No city has suffered to a greater extent. Less than 10 years ago, there were 111 vessels of over 140ft. Today there are 10. We shall see no vessels built in the coming 10 years unless the Government become compassionate, warm hearted and look north beyond Potters Bar and Watford.

The Government are weighted towards the south. We do not get, particularly in Yorkshire, a square deal. That has been stated a dozen times. Less than 10 years ago, we had 2,400 men at sea. Today we have 600. Four years ago, there was an officers' guild with 300 members. Today we have no guild at all. I could continue with similar statistics. I wish, however, to be more cheerful and helpful towards my constituents than the Minister is towards people in England, Wales, Scotland, and, in particular, Yorkshire.

Our labour force in Hull is fighting back. A co-operative has been formed between the bobbers, the dockers, the fish merchants and the auctioneers. With the help of money from the city council the co-operative is now landing 25,000 tonnes of fish a year. By definition, fishing takes place in small centres. Hull and Grimsby are unique in the fishing industry. We have lost 8,000 jobs, representing 35 per cent. of the city's job losses. I say that without fear of contradiction.

I come to the Humber bridge and the people on the south bank. The Humber bridge now links the two sides of the river. For centuries almost, Yorkshire and Lincolnshire have been at loggerheads. Hull is now allied with Grimsby and the south bank, and we are working for our mutual good. I am told that adversity makes queer bedfellows. We are not yet in bed with Grimsby but we go together to see the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, and we are hoping to receive aid from the stingy Government we are now fighting.

The fishermen and the people of Hull are convalescing; we are fighting hard and fighting back. We shall succeed, given one thing: that we receive help from the Government out of the £140 million of EC money, which the Government can tot up. We want more help from Whitehall. Why cannot the Government show more humanity? They talk about the Victorian values that they have; we have them in Hull, but we have the good ones—independence, decency, honesty and clan loyalty. We are fighting together to save our future.

The Government must change their attitude towards the north, and Yorkshire in particular, and forget their southern bias. We are fighting back on Humberside, and I believe that we can win if the Government give us a little more help. With that help, we shall be able to pull out of the mess that we are in.

Photo of Mr John MacGregor Mr John MacGregor Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Industry) 9:51 pm, 22nd February 1983

In view of the time I shall not be able to respond, alas, to many of the issues and questions that have been raised, but I should like to touch on three of the main themes.

Many comments were made and questions asked about Nissan, including those by the right hon. Member for Barnsley (Mr. Mason), and I shall begin with that. When my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Industry was in Japan recently, the company assured him that it was continuing its serious study of the project. As we know, Nissan made it clear last summer that it had merely postponed its decision whether to go ahead. It had not shelved the project. The proposal represents a major decision for the company and it is natural that it should want to research it thoroughly.

The Government continue to welcome the project, which would be a most valuable demonstration of Japanese commitment to improve the imbalance in our economic relations, and also a valuable demonstration of joint ventures in this key industry which we believe to be of advantage to both counries. The right hon. Member for Barnsley asked about the level of components. One of the key features of the project, as I think he must know, is that it should have a high local content—80 per cent. as soon as possible after full production. Without that, the project would not have been welcome.

As to the choice of site, the company has expressed a preference for a site in a development or special development area. Large parts of Yorkshire and Humberside have that. As the House knows, representatives of Nissan visited a number of sites in Wales, Humberside and north-east England to obtain information for the company's feasibility study. If the outcome is positive and the project goes ahead, the final selection of a site would probably be the subject of further detailed study. The Government have not sought at any stage to influence Nissan's choice of site. It is a matter for the company to decide. If it reaches that stage, it is up to hon. Gentlemen, my hon. Friends and many others to put the case again for their region as other regions will. My hon. Friend the Member for Harrogate (Mr. Banks) has put the case well today in the way that it should be put.

I come now to rates. My hon. Friend the Member for Haltemprice (Sir P. Wall) referred to the appalling rate increase of 61 per cent. in Humberside last year. Similarly, an increase of nearly 60 per cent. was imposed by West Yorkshire council. They are both, significantly, Labourcontrolled. It comes ill from Opposition Members to weep crocodile tears about industrial costs when these authorities, of a similar political alignment to themselves, are imposing this kind of increased burden on companies. I hope that as a result of the constant pressures that we put on them they will now see sense and introduce far more realistic budgets and rate increases in the coming years. [HON. MEMBERS: "What about jobs?"] Hon. Members talk about jobs, but they must know that local authorities must achieve a balance between trying to help industries and small businesses in their area, which I support, and imposing heavy rate increases or failing to engage in good housekeeping to such as extent that they drive jobs away from their areas. [Interruption.] I have listened patiently to the debate. I hope that the House will now allow me to answer some of the points raised.

Photo of Mr John MacGregor Mr John MacGregor Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Industry)

The hon. Gentleman makes a stimulating monosyllabic contribution, but I do not think that it advances the debate.

My hon. Friend the Member for Leeds, North-West (Sir D. Kaberry) referred to rating empty properties. As he knows, local authorities have a great deal of flexibility in the use of their discretion to levy empty property rates, and some use it to good effect. Indeed, about half of the local authorities in the country choose not to levy empty property rates at all.

I was not present when my hon. Friend spoke, but I was told of his request and I should put these points to him. For the local authority, it is a question of balance in each case. It must consider the impact of the loss of rate revenue on existing businesses and decide on the balance. The Government already have power to reduce local authorities' flexibility in this matter either by extending the grace period when rates cannot be levied or by lowering the rates ceiling, which we introduced in 1981, from 50 per cent. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Environment and his colleagues have told the House, and I reaffirm it, that the matter is being kept under close review to see whether further changes are necessary.

On assisted area status and the amount of Government aid to Yorkshire and Humberside, I repeat the point that has been made many times in these debates that most of industry in the regions wants us to continue our economic strategy of bringing down inflation, interest rates and industrial costs. Nevertheless, I shall give some of the facts as it is important to set the record straight. I shall not repeat the impressive list of figures that my right hon. Friend the Minister of State gave, but I must reply to the challenge that Yorkshire and Humberside have been discriminated against in the Government's regional policy.

Even after the reduction in the coverage of the assisted areas, much of Yorkshire and Humberside retains assisted area status and thus its eligibility for regional aid. That covers 40 per cent. of the working population. In taking the decision to concentrate regional aid, the Government recognise that there are serious problems in some parts of the region, in the areas of greatest need. That is why most of Humberside is a development area, as are Mexborough and Rotherham in south Yorkshire. Other parts of South Yorkshire, Bradford and parts of orth Yorkshire are intermediate areas. Many other parts of the country would regard that as a substantial amount of assisted area status.

The hon. Member for Normanton (Mr. Roberts) referred to EC money. Regional aid from the United Kingdom Government, to which my right hon. Friend the Minister of State referred, has been backed by assistance from EC funds. About £27 million has been received in loans from the European Investment Bank to help firms in the region with capital investment projects, and a further £33 million has been granted by the European regional development fund for infrastructure projects.

The region has been helped in many other ways, with section 8 assistance and science and technology aid, although I agree with my hon. Friend the Member for Ripon (Dr. Hampson) that we should like to see a far greater take-up of the science and technology money.

The figures that I have given do not take into account the large sums that have gone into the region through capital investment by the nationalised industries or the battery of special employment measures operated by the Manpower Services Commission. I therefore totally reject the charge that Yorkshire and Humberside have been unfairly treated.

The region and many of its industries have serious problems although, as my hon. Friends have pointed out, there are also many successes. I am fair minded and I accept that, but the Opposition show a complete lack of balance. There have failed to analyse the issues, to recognise that there is a serious recession in the same industries in other countries or to recognise the Labour Government's contribution to the current situation.

This is our fourth regional debate and the reason for the frequency of these debates is becoming clear. They are a smokescreen for the total lack of constructive policies from the Opposition, allowing them to make constituency speeches expressing their concern without any probing of their policies either by their own Back Benchers or by Conservative Members. I believe that concern is on all sides but that our policies are right. That is why we reject the motion.

Question put:

House divided: Ayes 229, Noes 297.

Division No. 76][10 pm
AYES
Abse, LeoDouglas, Dick
Adams, AllenDubs, Alfred
Allaun, FrankDuffy, A. E. P.
Alton, DavidDunnett, Jack
Anderson, DonaldDunwoody, Hon Mrs G.
Archer, Rt Hon PeterEadie, Alex
Ashley, Rt Hon JackEastham, Ken
Ashton, JoeEdwards, R. (W'hampt'n S E)
Atkinson, N.(H'gey,)Ellis, R. (NE D'bysh're)
Barnett, Guy (Greenwich)Ellis, Tom (Wrexham)
Barnett, Rt Hon Joel (H'wd)English, Michael
Beith, A. J.Ennals, Rt Hon David
Benn, Rt Hon TonyEvans, loan (Aberdare)
Bennett, Andrew (St'kp't N)Evans, John (Newton)
Bidwell, SydneyEwing, Harry
Booth, Rt Hon AlbertFaulds, Andrew
Boothroyd, Miss BettyField, Frank
Bottomley, Rt Hon A .(M'b'ro)Fitch, Alan
Bray, Dr JeremyFoot, Rt Hon Michael
Brocklebank-Fowler, C.Ford, Ben
Brown, Hugh D. (Provan)Forrester, John
Brown, R. C. (N'castle W)Foster, Derek
Brown, Ronald W. (H'ckn'y S)Foulkes, George
Brown, Ron (E'burgh, Leith)Fraser, J. (Lamb'th, N'w'd)
Buchan, NormanFreeson, Rt Hon Reginald
Callaghan, Rt Hon J.Garrett, John (Norwich S)
Callaghan, Jim (Midd't'n & P)Garrett, W. E. (Wallsend)
Campbell, IanGeorge, Bruce
Canavan, DennisGilbert, Rt Hon Dr John
Cant, R. B.Ginsburg, David
Carmichael, NeilGolding, John
Carter-Jones, LewisGourlay, Harry
Cartwright, JohnGraham, Ted
Clark, Dr David (S Shields)Hamilton, James (Bothwell)
Clarke.Thomas(C'b'dge, A'rie)Hamilton, W. W. (C'fral Fife)
Cocks, Rt Hon M. (B'stol S)Hardy, Peter
Cohen, StanleyHarrison, Rt Hon Walter
Coleman, DonaldHart, Rt Hon Dame Judith
Concannon, Rt Hon J. D.Haynes, Frank
Conlan, BernardHealey, Rt Hon Denis
Cook, Robin F.Heffer, Eric S.
Cowans, HarryHogg, N. (E Dunb't'nshire)
Cox, T. (W'dsw'th, Toot'g)Holland, S. (L'b'th, Vauxh'll)
Craigen, J. M. (G'gow, M'hill)Homewood, William
Crowther, StanHooley, Frank
Cryer, BobHoram, John
Cunliffe, LawrenceHowell, Rt Hon D.
Cunningham, Dr J. (W'h'n)Howells, Geraint
Dalyell, TarnHoyle, Douglas
Davidson, ArthurHughes, Mark (Durham)
Davies, Rt Hon Denzil (L'lli)Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen N)
Davis, Clinton (Hackney C)Janner, Hon Greville
Davis, Terry (B'ham, Stechf'd)Jay, Rt Hon Douglas
Deakins, EricJohn, Brynmor
Dean, Joseph (Leeds West)Johnson, James (Hull West)
Dewar, DonaldJones, Rt Hon Alec (Rh' dda)
Dixon, DonaldJones, Barry (East Flint)
Dobson, FrankJones, Dan (Burnley)
Dormand, JackKaufman, Rt Hon Gerald
Kerr, RussellRobertson, George
Kilroy-Silk, RobertRobinson, G. (Coventry NW)
Lambie, DavidRooker, J. W.
Lamond, JamesRoper, John
Leadbitter, TedRoss, Ernest (Dundee West)
Leighton, RonaldRowlands, Ted
Lestor, Miss JoanRyman, John
Lewis, Arthur (N'ham NW)Sandelson, Neville
Lewis, Ron (Carlisle)Sever, John
Litherland, RobertSheerman, Barry
Lofthouse, GeoffreySheldon, Rt Hon R.
Lyon, Alexander (York)Shore, Rt Hon Peter
Lyons, Edward (Bradf'd W)Short, Mrs Renée
McCartney, HughSilkin, Rt Hon J. (Deptford)
McDonald, Dr OonaghSilkin, Rt Hon S. C. (Dulwich)
McElhone, Mrs HelenSilverman, Julius
McKelvey, WilliamSkinner, Dennis
MacKenzie, Rt Hon GregorSmith, Cyril (Rochdale)
McNamara, KevinSmith, Rt Hon J. (N Lanark)
McTaggart, RobertSnape, Peter
McWilliam, JohnSoley, Clive
Marshall, D(G'gow S'ton)Spearing, Nigel
Marshall, Jim (Leicester S)Spellar, John Francis (B'ham)
Martin, M(G'gowS'burn)Spriggs, Leslie
Mason, Rt Hon RoyStoddart, David
Mates, MichaelStott, Roger
Maxton, JohnStrang, Gavin
Meacher, MichaelStraw, Jack
Mikardo, IanSummerskill, Hon Dr Shirley
Millan, Rt Hon BruceTaylor, Mrs Ann (Bolton W)
Miller, Dr M. S. (E Kilbride)Thomas, Dr R .(Carmarthen)
Mitchell, R. C. (Soton Itchen)Thorne, Stan (Preston South)
Morris, Rt Hon A. (W'shawe)Tinn, James
Morris, Rt Hon C. (O'shaw)Torney, Tom
Morton, GeorgeVarley, Rt Hon Eric G.
Mulley, Rt Hon FrederickWainwright, E.(Dearne V)
Newens, StanleyWainwright, R.(Colne V)
Oakes, Rt Hon GordonWalker, Rt Hon H.(D'caster)
O'Halloran, MichaelWardell, Gareth
O'Neill, MartinWatkins, David
Orme, Rt Hon StanleyWeetch, Ken
Palmer, ArthurWelsh, Michael
Park, GeorgeWhite, Frank R.
Parker, JohnWhite, J. (G'gow Pollok)
Parry, RobertWhitehead, Phillip
Pavitt, LaurieWhitlock, William
Penhaligon, DavidWilley, Rt Hon Frederick
Pitt, William HenryWilliams, Rt Hon A. (S'sea W)
Powell, Raymond (Ogmore)Williams, Rt Hon Mrs(Crosby)
Prescott, JohnWilson, Rt HonSir H.(H'ton)
Price, C. (Lewisham W)Wilson, William (C'try SE)
Race, RegWinnick, David
Radice, GilesWoodall, Alec
Rees, Rt Hon M (Leeds S)Woolmer, Kenneth
Richardson, Jo
Roberts, Albert (Normanton)Tellers for the Ayes:
Roberts, Ernest (Hackney N)Dr. Edmund Marshall and
Roberts, Gwilym (Cannock)Mr. Allen McKay.
NOES
Adley, RobertBest, Keith
Aitken, JonathanBevan, David Gilroy
Alexander, RichardBiggs-Davison, Sir John
Alison, Rt Hon MichaelBlackburn, John
Amery, Rt Hon JulianBlaker, Peter
Ancram, MichaelBody, Richard
Arnold, TomBottom ley, Peter (W'wich W)
Aspinwall, JackBowden, Andrew
Atkins, Rt Hon H.(S'thorne)Boyson, Dr Rhodes
Atkins, Robert (Preston N)Braine, Sir Bernard
Atkinson, David (B'm'th.E)Bright, Graham
Baker, Kenneth (St.M'bone)Brinton, Tim
Baker, Nicholas (N Dorset)Brittan, Rt. Hon. Leon
Banks, RobertBrooke, Hon Peter
Beaumont-Dark, AnthonyBrotherton, Michael
Bendall, VivianBrown, Michael(Brigg & Sc'n)
Bennett, Sir Frederic (T'bay)Browne, John (Winchester)
Benyon, Thomas (A'don)Bruce-Gardyne, John
Benyon, W. (Buckingham)Bryan, Sir Paul
Berry, Hon AnthonyBuchanan-Smith, Rt. Hon. A.
Buck, AntonyHicks, Robert
Budgen, NickHiggins, Rt Hon Terence L.
Burden, Sir FrederickHill, James
Butcher, JohnHogg, Hon Douglas (Gr'th'm)
Carlisle, John (Luton West)Holland, Philip (Carlton)
Carlisle, Kenneth (Lincoln)Hooson, Tom
Carlisle, Rt Hon M. (R'c'n)Hordern, Peter
Chalker, Mrs. LyndaHowe, Rt Hon Sir Geoffrey
Channon, Rt. Hon. PaulHowell, Rt Hon D. (G'ldf'd)
Chapman, SydneyHowell, Ralph (N Norfolk)
Clark, Hon A. (Plym'th, S'n)Hunt, David (Wirral)
Clark, Sir W. (Croydon S)Hunt, John (Ravensbourne)
Clarke, Kenneth (Rushcliffe)Hurd, Rt Hon Douglas
Colvin, MichaelIrvine, RtHon Bryant Godman
Cope, JohnIrving, Charles (Cheltenham)
Corrie, JohnJenkin, Rt Hon Patrick
Costain, Sir AlbertJessel, Toby
Cranborne, ViscountJopling, Rt Hon Michael
Critchley, JulianJoseph, Rt Hon Sir Keith
Crouch, DavidKaberry, Sir Donald
Dickens, GeoffreyKershaw, Sir Anthony
Dorrell, StephenKimball, Sir Marcus
Douglas-Hamilton, Lord J.King, Rt Hon Tom
Dover, DenshoreKitson, Sir Timothy
du Cann, Rt Hon EdwardKnight, Mrs Jill
Dunn, Robert (Dartford)Knox, David
Durant, TonyLamont, Norman
Dykes, HughLang, Ian
Eden, Rt Hon Sir JohnLangford-Holt, Sir John
Edwards, Rt Hon N. (P'broke)Latham, Michael
Eggar, TimLawrence, Ivan
Elliott, Sir WilliamLawson, Rt Hon Nigel
Eyre, ReginaldLe Marchant, Spencer
Fairbairn, NicholasLennox-Boyd, Hon Mark
Fairgrieve, Sir RussellLester, Jim (Beeston)
Faith, Mrs SheilaLewis, Sir Kenneth (Rutland)
Farr, JohnLloyd, Ian (Havant & W'loo)
Fell, Sir AnthonyLloyd, Peter (Fareham)
Fenner, Mrs PeggyLoveridge, John
Finsberg, GeoffreyLyell, Nicholas
Fisher, Sir NigelMcCrindle, Robert
Fletcher, A. (Ed'nb'gh N)Macfarlane, Neil
Fletcher-Cooke, Sir CharlesMacGregor, John
Fookes, Miss JanetMacKay, John (Argyll)
Forman, NigelMacmillan, Rt Hon M.
Fowler, Rt Hon NormanMcNair-Wilson, M. (N'bury)
Fox, MarcusMcNair-Wilson, P. (New F'st)
Fraser, Rt Hon Sir HughMcQuarrie, Albert
Fraser, Peter (South Angus)Madel, David
Fry, PeterMajor, John
Gardiner, George (Reigate)Marlow, Antony
Gardner, Sir EdwardMarshall, Michael (Arundel)
Garel-Jones, TristanMarten, Rt Hon Neil
Gilmour, Rt Hon Sir IanMates, Michael
Goodhart, Sir PhilipMaude, Rt Hon Sir Angus
Goodhew, Sir VictorMawby, Ray
Goodlad, AlastairMawhinney, Dr Brian
Gorst, JohnMaxwell-Hyslop, Robin
Gow, IanMayhew, Patrick
Gower, Sir RaymondMellor, David
Grant, Sir AnthonyMeyer, Sir Anthony
Gray, Rt Hon HamishMiller, Hal (B'grove)
Greenway, HarryMills, Iain (Meriden)
Griffiths, E.(B'ySt. Edm'ds)Mills, Sir Peter (West Devon)
Griffiths, Peter (Portsm'th N)Miscampbell, Norman
Grist, IanMitchell, David (Basingstoke)
Grylls, MichaelMoate, Roger
Gummer, John SelwynMonro, Sir Hector
Hamilton, Hon A.Montgomery, Fergus
Hamilton, Michael (Salisbury)Moore, John
Hampson, Dr KeithMorris, M. (N'hampton S)
Hannam, JohnMorrison, Hon C. (Devizes)
Haselhurst, AlanMudd, David
Hastings, StephenMurphy, Christopher
Hawkins, Sir PaulMyles, David
Hawksley, WarrenNeale, Gerrard
Hayhoe, BarneyNeedham, Richard
Heath, Rt Hon EdwardNelson, Anthony
Heddle, JohnNeubert, Michael
Henderson, BarryNewton, Tony
Nott, Rt Hon Sir JohnStanley, John
Onslow, CranleySteen, Anthony
Oppenheim, Rt Hon Mrs S.Stevens, Martin
Osborn, JohnStewart, A.(E Renfrewshire)
Page, Richard (SW Herts)Stewart, Ian (Hitchin)
Parkinson, Rt Hon CecilStokes, John
Parris, MatthewStradling Thomas, J.
Patten, Christopher (Bath)Tapsell, Peter
Patten, John (Oxford)Taylor, Teddy (S'end E)
Pawsey, JamesTebbit, Rt Hon Norman
Percival, Sir IanTemple-Morris, Peter
Pink, R. BonnerThatcher, Rt Hon Mrs M.
Pollock, AlexanderThomas, Rt Hon Peter
Porter, BarryThompson, Donald
Prentice, Rt Hon RegThorne, Neil (Ilord South)
Price, Sir David (Eastleigh)Thornton, Malcolm
Proctor, K. HarveyTownend, John (Bridlington)
Pym, Rt Hon FrancisTownsend, Cyril D, (B'heath)
Rathbone, TimTrippier, David
Rees, Peter (Dover and Deal)van Straubenzee, Sir W.
Renton, TimVaughan, Dr Gerard
Rhodes James, RobertViggers, Peter
Rhys Williams, Sir BrandonWaddington, David
Ridley, Hon NicholasWakeham, John
Ridsdale, Sir JulianWaldegrave, Hon William
Rifkind, MalcolmWalker, Rt Hon P.(W'cester)
Rippon, Rt Hon GeoffreyWalker, B. (Perth)
Roberts, Wyn (Conway)Walker-Smith, Rt Hon Sir D.
Rossi, HughWall, Sir Patrick
Rost, PeterWaller, Gary
Royle, Sir AnthonyWalters, Dennis
Rumbold, Mrs A. C. R.Ward, John
Sainsbury, Hon TimothyWarren, Kenneth
St. John-Stevas, Rt Hon N.Watson, John
Scott, NicholasWells, Bowen
Shaw, Giles (Pudsey)Wells, John (Maidstone)
Shaw, Sir Michael (Scarb')Wheeler, John
Shelton, William (Streatham)Whitelaw, Rt Hon William
Shepherd, Colin (Hereford)Wickenden, Keith
Shepherd, RichardWiggin, Jerry
Silvester, FredWilkinson, John
Sims, RogerWilliams, D. (Montgomery)
Skeet, T. H. H.Winterton, Nicholas
Smith, Tim (Beaconsfield)Wolfson, Mark
Speed, KeithYoung, Sir George (Acton)
Speller, TonyYounger, Rt Hon George
Spence, John
Spicer, Michael (S Worcs)Tellers for the Noes:
Sproat, IainMr. Carol Mather and
Squire, RobinMr. Robert Boscawen.
Stainton, Keith

Question accordingly negatived.