HC Deb 23 January 1991 vol 184 c309
5. Mr. Harry Greenway

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what was the level of manufacturing output for the past year; what was the level in previous years; and if he will make a statement.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Industry and Consumer Affairs (Mr. Edward Leigh)

Figures for manufacturing output are not yet available for the whole of 1990. Provisional estimates show that manufacturing output in the first 11 months of 1990 averaged 1190, based upon 1985 equal to 100, similar to the record annual level of 1989.

Mr. Greenway

Will my hon. Friend confirm that the volume of manufacturing output increased by 8.5 per cent. during the first 11 months of 1990? Does my hon. Friend agree that that would not have happened had not our industry been made much more competitive as a result of the transformation achieved by the Government over the past 11 years—in terms of competitiveness and everything else?

Mr. Leigh

My hon. Friend is right to draw attention to the transformation of British industry in the last decade. Output, productivity, exports and investment are all well above their 1980 levels and exports are at a record level.

Mr. Tom Clarke

Does the Minister agree that the steelworkers of Lanarkshire are only too willing to contribute to British manufacturing output—in particular the men of Ravenscraig, Clydesdale, Dalzell and Imperial who are losing their jobs? The Minister for Corporate Affairs tells people to buy British. When will he tell that to British Steel?

Mr. Leigh

The prospects for British Steel have been transformed under this Government. Losses running into £1 billion in 1979, under the Labour Government, have been tranformed into profits of more than £600 million now. Opposition Members like to pose as friends of manufacturing industry. It is interesting that when they were last able to act on that friendship, manufacturing output fell.

Forward to