HC Deb 24 November 1993 vol 233 cc444-5
11. Mr. Janner

To ask the President of the Board of Trade whether he will take steps to assist manufacturing industry in the city of Leicester.

Mr. Sainsbury

My Department already has in place a number of schemes that are helping manufacturing industries and other companies in Leicester and elsewhere.

Mr. Janner

I am sure that the Minister is aware of the awful troubles afflicting Leicester's traditional industries —hosiery, textiles and, in particular, footwear—and the massive job losses which have resulted, but is he aware that, despite reductions in interest rates, those companies that are trying to rebuild are having enormous problems raising capital, whether from the banks, venture capital or otherwise? Will the Minister undertake to look into that problem, which affects not only Leicester and the east midlands, but manufacturers throughout the country?

Mr. Sainsbury

I congratulate the hon. and learned Gentleman on being the first Opposition Member to say anything during this Question Time which has even slightly implied that something good has happened, such as a reduction in interest rates. As he knows, that reduction is a benefit to businesses in his constituency and elsewhere. With regard to small businesses, I am sure that the hon. and learned Gentleman would also welcome the fact that 400,000 new businesses have started up this year. We wish to continue to provide an environment which will encourage the creation of businesses and enable them to succeed and grow.

Mr. Garnier

Is my right hon. Friend aware that, like the hon. and learned Member for Leicester, West (Mr. Janner), I have constituents who work in manufacturing, textile and hosiery businesses? Is he further aware that many textile, hosiery and engineering businesses in my constituency are thriving and that in my constituency we have the lowest unemployment figure in the county? Does he agree that we have such a happy picture to paint because of the increasing deregulation, which is being welcomed by business men, because of lower interest rates and because the Government have been fighting hard to keep the social chapter off the backs of British business men?

Mr. Sainsbury

I am delighted to hear from my hon. Friend about the success of some of his businesses. He confirms the point that, in the right conditions, well-run businesses will flourish, expand and create more employment. I congratulate the textile industry on the success that it is achieving in exports, particularly in the wool and best quality textile markets.

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