HC Deb 31 January 1978 vol 943 cc238-9
14. Mr. Thorne

asked the Secretary of State for Employment how many workers were employed in the textile industry in Lancashire or the North-West of England during the years 1973–74, 1974–75, 1975–76, 1976–77 and 1977 to the latest date for which there are statistics.

Mr. Golding

At June in each of the years 1973, 1974, 1975 and 1976, the numbers of employees in employment in the textiles industries in Lancashire were 44,000, 44,300, 40,000 and 39,300 respectively. Figures for 1977 are not yet available.

Mr. Thorne

I recognise that those figures would be worse without the temporary employment subsidy, but will the Minister indicate what other steps can be taken to avoid the ultimate death of textiles in Lancashire?

Mr. Golding

The Government are already to be congratulated, I believe, on the conclusion of the new Multi-Fibre Arrangement. The aim is to create a competitive industry in Lancashire, to compete with the industries of other countries.

Mr. James Lamond

My hon. Friend will have noticed that the only response from the Tories to the success of the Government in the renegotiated Multi-Fibre Arrangement, and the success of the Government in maintaining jobs in Lancashire through the temporary employment subsidy, has been to decry and object to both these measures. Does he not think that Lancashire textile workers should take careful note of that?

Mr. Golding

I have noted that both employers and workers in Lancashire and Yorkshire have supported the Government very strongly in their endeavours to save the textile industry.