Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 3:30 pm on 9th May 2000.

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Photo of Vincent Cable Vincent Cable Shadow Spokesperson (Trade and Industry), Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Trade and Industry) 3:30 pm, 9th May 2000

May I add a warm welcome to the announcement, and extend congratulations to Mr. Towers and his team—singling out Mr. Hemming in particular—in the face of much scepticism?

In view of the new arrangement, will the Secretary of State assure me that the Department of Trade and Industry has ceased all communications with Alchemy on the alternative, parallel proposal?

I welcome the fact that no public subsidy will be involved, but what will be the position of the Inland Revenue on the substantial tax implications arising from the losses of BMW-Rover and the acquisition of the new enterprises?

Will the Secretary of State also comment on the fact that, although the announcement is unambiguously excellent news, there is still a grave crisis in the car industry? That may be highlighted in a few days by the announced closure of Dagenham. Does he agree with the Confederation of British Industry, the Trades Union Congress and the Engineering Employers Federation that the crisis is primarily attributable to the high pound, or does he share the view of the shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer who said this morning that the high pound is good news for British industry and that we should get used to it?