Unemployment in the UK

Part of Opposition Day — [18th Allotted Day] – in the House of Commons at 8:32 pm on 7th October 2008.

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Photo of Roger Gale Roger Gale Conservative, North Thanet 8:32 pm, 7th October 2008

Sir Gerald Kaufman began his speech by marvelling, so let me marvel just a little at his selective memory. In 1982, following the death of Jocelyn Cadbury, I fought the Birmingham, Northfield by-election. There was a 0.02 per cent. swing against the Conservative party, the smallest swing ever recorded, and I lost the seat by 289 votes. We were accused of cutting jobs at the Austin factory in Longbridge. Employment had gone down, I think I am right in saying, from 15,000 to 9,000, and we were told that we had cut those jobs. The choice was not between 15,000 and 9,000, but between 9,000 and none. Under this Government, the automotive industry in Britain has been decimated.

I happened to take a train through the Northfield site only last week and 98 per cent. of it has been razed to the ground. That is what the Government have done to manufacturing industry, so let us not lay the blame just on the previous Conservative Government. The fact is that the game has changed and the game is changing now.

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