§ The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Employment (Mr. Alan Clark)
It is not possible to give a precise figure for the number of people currently employed in this type of industry. The latest available figures from the 1981 census of employment showed that nearly 5,000 people were employed in Basildon in industries associated with technical innovation.
§ Mr. Amess
Is my hon. Friend aware that there are many high-tech industries in Basildon, including Rayridge, which is one of the few British robotic companies? Does he agree that Basildon is an excellent place for such job opportunities because of its fine housing and excellent air, sea, road and rail communications?
§ Mr. Clark
Yes, Sir. My hon. Friend's claims for his constituency are borne out by the news of industrial development in the area. I am aware that £9 million is being invested in a new data processing centre and that GEC Avionics is moving into the old Rothman's factory, about whose closure so many hon. Members agitated last year.