In December 1987 there were an estimated 177,000 employees in employment in the confectionery industry, of whom 42,000 were women working part time. I regret that current estimates of the number of men working part time in this industry are not available, but in 1984 there were about 4,000.
Does my hon. Friend agree that those figures are indeed encouraging, but that they could be increased, according to the Biscuit, Cake, Chocolate and Confectionery Alliance, by some 2,250 if confectionery were re-rated in alliance with foods? Will he undertake to ask his right hon. Friend the Chancellor, even at this late hour, to look upon this favourably, especially since some further 6,000 people would be employed in ancillary industries?
No day of employment questions would be complete without a question from my hon. Friend about confectionery, employment and VAT. I shall certainly draw to the attention of my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer the point made about the projections from the Biscuit, Cake, Chocolate and Confectionery Alliance.