HC Deb 17 February 1993 vol 219 c309
7. Mr. Sumberg

To ask the President of the Board of Trade what representations he has received in connection with the Bolton/Bury assisted area status; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Sainsbury

My Department received a joint written submission from the metropolitan borough councils of Bolton and Bury and one from Inward, the North West Regional Development Organisation. Several letters of support were also received from local businesses. My noble Friend Baroness Denton met a deputation of council representatives, business leaders and local Members of Parliament on 27 October 1992.

Mr. Sumberg

I appreciate that many new friends are knocking on my right hon. Friend's door—from Deal and Dover, from the mining communities and from London. Will he bear it in mind, however, that withdrawing assisted area status from Bury and Bolton would send entirely the wrong signal to the business community in my constituency?

Mr. Sainsbury

As my hon. Friend knows, I cannot anticipate the outcome of the review, but I assure him that I have taken careful account of what he said.

Mr. Lewis

I welcome the conversion of the hon. Member for Bury, South (Mr. Sumberg) to the idea of intervention.

While the Minister is considering his hon. Friend's remarks, may I point out that, over the past nine years, 72,000 manufacturing jobs have been lost in the Bolton and Bury travel-to-work area and four manufacturing closures have been announced over the past seven days? Assisted area status is needed and I add my support for it.

Mr. Sainsbury

I cannot add to what I said earlier to my hon. Friend the Member for Bury, South (Mr. Sumberg). I know from our many conversations that he could not be more energetic in pursuing his constituents' interests.