Manufacturing Output

Oral Answers to Questions — Trade and Industry – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 11 March 1992.

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Mr. John P. Smith:

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what representations he has recently received about manufacturing output.

Photo of Edward Leigh Edward Leigh Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Trade and Industry)

My right hon. Friend has recently received the excellent report by the CBI's manufacturing advisory group which showed that there had been a transformation in manufacturing performance during the 1980s.

Mr. Smith:

Given that 80 per cent. of manufacturing jobs were lost in Barry in my constituency in the last Conservative recession, manufacturing growth is down 3·7 per cent. on last year, we now have one of the lowest growths in manufactured output in Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development countries, and 3,000 manufacturing jobs are being lost every day, why did the Government fail yesterday to take any action to bring about a recovery in wealth-creating manufacturing industry?

Photo of Edward Leigh Edward Leigh Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Trade and Industry)

All right, let us talk about yesterday if the hon. Gentleman wants—let us talk about giving more than £1 billion to industry over the next two years to ensure that there is no increase in business rates. If the hon. Gentleman wants to talk about that, we shall talk about it even more. Let us talk about reductions in corporation tax, which are still feeding through the economy and will be worth £1 billion to industry in the next year. Those are the facts that industry wants to hear. That is why industry, the Confederation of British Industry, the Institute of Directors and the Association of British Chambers of Commerce all support the Budget. That is what puts Labour Members on the spot.

Photo of Mr David Shaw Mr David Shaw , Dover

Is my hon. Friend aware that high levels of manufacturing output lead to high levels of exports and that the Dover ferry industry has done well under the Government out of high levels of exports? Can my hon. Friend confirm that he will do all in his power to ensure that the Government are returned so that the Dover ferry industry can continue to benefit from high levels of exports?

Photo of Edward Leigh Edward Leigh Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Trade and Industry)

Yes. We will be returned. We are winning the debate. We are winning the debate this afternoon. Opposition Members have not scored one hit so far, and nor will they during the election campaign.