HC Deb 01 March 1988 vol 128 cc812-3
13. Mr. Gregory

To ask the Secretary of State for Employment if he will estimate how many of those employed in the confectionery industry are full time and how many are part time.

Mr. Lee

In December 1987 there were an estimated 177,000 employees in employment in the confectionery industry, of whom 42,000 were women working part time. I regret that current estimates of the number of men working part time in this industry are not available, but in 1984 there were about 4,000.

Mr. Gregory

Does my hon. Friend agree that those figures are indeed encouraging, but that they could be increased, according to the Biscuit, Cake, Chocolate and Confectionery Alliance, by some 2,250 if confectionery were re-rated in alliance with foods? Will he undertake to ask his right hon. Friend the Chancellor, even at this late hour, to look upon this favourably, especially since some further 6,000 people would be employed in ancillary industries?

Mr. Lee

No day of employment questions would be complete without a question from my hon. Friend about confectionery, employment and VAT. I shall certainly draw to the attention of my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer the point made about the projections from the Biscuit, Cake, Chocolate and Confectionery Alliance.

Mr. Janner

Does the Minister not accept that the figures for the travel-to-work areas are totally misleading, partly because the travel-to-work—

Mr. Speaker

Order. This is about confectionery, I am afraid.