Enterprise Initiative

Part of Prayers – in the House of Commons at 1:33 pm on 4th March 1988.

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Photo of Mr John Butcher Mr John Butcher , Coventry South West 1:33 pm, 4th March 1988

I thank my hon. Friend the Member for Carshalton and Wallington (Mr. Forman) for the timeliness of the subject that he chose for the debate. He has done the House a great service in providing us with an opportunity, for the first time in this Chamber, to consider the White Paper and the enterprise initiative and to discuss — fortuitously, only a few days before the Budget—many issues which hon. Members on both sides of the House believe should be aired.

I was interested to hear the latter comments of the hon. Member for Great Grimsby (Mr. Mitchell). When, during his peroration on exchange rates, he launched into an analysis of competitiveness, he illustrated clearly the chasm between his approach and the approach of my hon. Friend the Member for Carshalton and Wallington to what precisely is required in the British economy to make us more competitive. My hon. Friend focused on non-price factors, just as the nations with appreciating currencies, such as Japan and West Germany, focus on non-price factors. If anything gives the lie to the contention of the regressive, unconstructed, backward-looking Labour party, it is this: if it was all about exchange rates, the German economy would be on its knees because it has had to cope with constantly increasing values in its currency, as have the Japanese. But they have insured themselves against the currency-based erosion of their competitiveness by becoming involved in the issues which my hon. Friend highlighted.