Mr George Park: I do not know whether your minutes are faulty, or whether your hearing is faulty, but certainly on two occasions when I attended with delegations in your office—
Mr George Park: The Government, in their amendment, once again repeat that their policy is to concentrate regional aid in the areas of greatest need, although in making that statement, which on the face of it sounds eminently fair, less attention is paid to the fact that they may be reducing the total amount of cash available by about £230 million. They do not shout too much about that and they are not...
Mr George Park: I had noticed that statistic, but I have tried not to give the House too many statistics because we have had a surfeit of them today. The problems of the West Midlands seem to have been noticed because both Front Bench speakers and other hon. Members have mentioned the rapidly deteriorating position. The only alternative is the return of a Labour Government committed to a policy of expansion.
Mr George Park: Does the Minister agree that there is no point in publicising the fund in the West Midlands if the Government refuse to recognise the structural defects in industry in that part of Britain?
Mr George Park: asked the Minister for Trade if he will make a statement on the recent trend in the volume of visible exports.
Mr George Park: I accept that the figures fluctuate from month to month, but does the Minister accept that the figures for the latest three months taken together show a 5½ per cent. fall over the previous three months? If he examines exports of services by volume he will find that they fell by 3 per cent. in the first three months, which is 10 per cent. less than in 1979. How does that square with the tales...
Mr George Park: Will the Minister say whether the successor to Sir Michael Edwardes will have the same terms of reference? Perhaps I may pose more bluntly what is implicit in the question of the hon. Member for Woking (Sir W. van Straubenzee). Will the terms of reference include the sale of other parts of British Leyland as they become profitable?
Mr George Park: Why is the Minister even considering a discussion document when he must be aware that unions have rules revision conferences and that if there is great feeling on any matter that is the time and place to alter the rule book? Does he accept, therefore, that it is not for Ministers to propose discussion documents?
Mr George Park: Coventry city is as far from the sea as it is possible to be in Great Britain, but over the years there has been keen interest in HMS "Coventry" and her crew. Does the Secretary of State accept that the loss of the ship and those members of the crew who have given their lives will be keenly felt?
Mr George Park: I wonder whether the Minister would consider the position of weak management. I know a case of an employee who was a persistent absentee. The management refused to take any action against him. The shop steward, of all people, remonstrated with the employee about his bad attendance. The individual then tore up his union card in front of the trade union representative. The man was then sacked...
Mr George Park: asked the Minister for Trade if he will report on the state of negotiations on the renewal of the bilateral agreements within the multi-fibre arrangement.
Mr George Park: Since any increased access to our markets by smaller supplying countries could be achieved only on the basis of cutbacks from the so-called dominant countries, how does the Minister justify starting negotiations with the dominant countries before he has successfully concluded the position with them to enable him to make concessions to the smaller countries?
Mr George Park: asked the Secretary of State for Trade what is the total value of imports of textiles and clothing products for the latest available month and for the same period 12 months before.
Mr George Park: Does the Minister recognise that the level of imports could be greatly depressed by the effect of the Government's policies, and that if there is a recovery in the economy it might not necessarily lead to increases for British textiles or British jobs? Has he initiated any specific steps to monitor any such upsurge?
Mr George Park: Will the Minister, instead of regarding this slashing of the labour force as a matter of congratulation, give some thought to the possibility that in its haste to dismantle certain aspects of BL the company got rid of design teams—the very people who could have enabled it to gain a larger share of the market and thereby save this huge number of people from being thrown on the labour market?
Mr George Park: Having examined the wave energy project at the Lanchester polytechnic in Coventry, can the Minister say whether his Department is prepared to support a larger project to take the scheme a step forward?
Mr George Park: Does the Minister agree that there is some confusion both in his mind and in that of the hon. Member for Rugby (Mr. Pawsey)? Surely the job of the wages councils is to evaluate what a job is worth in a certain area, not to assess whether the businesses in that area are being run properly.
Mr George Park: asked the Secretary of State for Trade whether agreement has yet been reached in the Council of Ministers on the level of global ceilings on imports of textiles and clothing from all sources, including multi-fibre arrangement signatories.
Mr George Park: Is the Minister satisfied that the ceilings agreed in principle will be sufficient to prevent any further erosion of our textile industries?
Mr George Park: Does the Minister want more or fewer people to take an interest in the National Health Service?