HC Deb 09 March 1982 vol 19 cc721-2
Q4. Mr. Campbell-Savours

asked the Prime Minister how many hon. Members she has seen on matters relating to factory closures since she last answered oral questions.

The Prime Minister

One, Sir.

Mr. Campbell-Savours

Is the Prime Minister aware that the factory closures in the Northern region, in my constituency in Workington and throughout the county of Cumbria, have brought about despair, anger and deep resentment against the Government? Does she understand that the industrial horizon in my constituency is now cluttered with the relics of a former industrial age? Does she also understand that the Government's policy of destabilising the British economy and destabilising people's personal lives, aggravated by the grossly unfair rent increases introduced by the Government, is undermining family life, because many millions of people cannot afford to pay those increases?

The Prime Minister

Jobs do not come from such rhetoric. They come from having competitive and efficient industries, producing well designed goods that the hon. Gentleman's constituents will buy. Unless and until we get that we shall not have increased genuine jobs in manufacturing industry.

Mr. Porter

Will my right hon. Friend note that one of the most competitive industries on Merseyside, which is in some danger, is Associated Octel of Ellesmere Port, which manufactures petrol additive? Will she undertake that the Government will examine in detail the arguments advanced emotionally by the Campaign for Lead Free Air before the Government reach any decision about reducing the level of lead in petrol and making 2,000 of my constituents redundant?

Mrs. Renée Short

What about lives?

The Prime Minister

As my hon. Friend knows, the Government decided substantially to reduce lead in petrol. We decided to move to a low-lead, high octane petrol on the ground that we could get a better result from that rather than from having a different formula for petrol. That means that we shall have good results by 1985. I know the point that my hon. Friend is making. I shall certainly consider it.

Mr. Edwin Wainwright

Does the Prime Minister realise that, no matter what statements she makes, over 3 million people are still unemployed, including 700,000 young people, who are losing hope? Whatever the right hon. Lady is doing, she does not seem to have any commonsense approach to bringing down unemployment and giving hope to young people.

The Prime Minister

If, over the years, we had had less overmanning and pay that was more related to output, we should have far more jobs than we now have. Until we have efficient industry and increased pay related to increased output and good design we shall not have the jobs back, no matter how much the hon. Gentleman pleads. We have to earn our way in the world and not merely speak it.

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