HC Deb 15 February 1982 vol 18 cc14-5
16. Mr. Greville Janner

asked the Secretary of State for Industry if he will make a statement on the level of industrial investment in Leicester.

Mr. MacGregor

Information on the level of industrial investment in such specific areas as Leicester is riot available. However, the indications are that the Government's economic policies are succeeding in achieving increased productivity and better competitiveness and that there will be a general upturn in industrial investment during 1982.

Mr. Janner

Is the Minister aware that, unfortunately, there is no sign whatever of an upturn in industrial investment in Leicester, that unemployment has reached unparalleled levels, and that in one part of my constituency over half of the people are unemployed? Does he accept that it is vital that the Government recognise the problem? Clearly, the hon. Gentleman does not, or he would not have made such a complacent statement about a city that was once so prosperous.

Mr. MacGregor

The hon. and learned Gentleman will know that in the economy as a whole there have been the improvements that I mentioned. He will also know that Leicester and the East Midlands have been eligible for considerable Government aid under section 8 of the Industry Act 1972. Indeed, £1 million assistance has been offered to 115 projects covering all industries in the Leicester area. I also draw the hon. and learned Gentleman's attention to the recent optimistic statements of industrialists in his area, including that made at the annual general meeting of the Knitting Industries Federation. He will also know that the chief executive of the Leicester chamber of commerce has stated that the Leicester economy is now on the long road to recovery.