HC Deb 13 April 1994 vol 241 cc198-9
10. Mr. Paice

To ask the President of the Board of Trade what assessment his Department has made of the average numbers of United Kingdom jobs created or maintained for every £1 billion earned by United Kingdom exports.

Mr. Needham

The best available estimate is that £1 billion of visible exports is likely to be associated with around 30,000 jobs.

Mr. Paice

Does my hon. Friend accept that that clearly demonstrates what many of us have known for a long time: Britain has and always will be a trading nation and we must export to provide jobs and the wealth of the country? Does not last week's announcement that British car exports to Japan increased by 30 per cent. demonstrate that we are now in a competitive situation? Is not it time that we recognised that competitiveness and a flexible labour market go together, and those who would impose regulations on our labour force and load burdens on our employers would destroy competitiveness, destroy exports and destroy jobs?

Mr. Needham

I agree with my hon. Friend. We have a competitive industry. We must do everything that we can to ensure that it stays that way, and the' most important thing is to deny power to the Labour party.

Mr. Winnick

If all is so well, as the President of the Board of Trade and the Minister have repeatedly said this afternoon, why is there such a lobby on the Tory Benches for the President of the Board of Trade to replace the Prime Minister? Is not it a fact that many Tory Members find the present situation in the country so appalling that they want to replace the Prime Minister with the President?

Madam Speaker

Order. As I said earlier, this an opportunity to question Government policy, not to question individuals or Opposition policies. I suggest that the Minister replies to the first part of the question.

Mr. Needham

The second part of the question made me so cross that I have forgotten the first part.

Madam Speaker

I call Mrs. Lait. Let us have a sensible question from a woman.

Mrs. Lait

I will try to restrain my anger. When does my hon. Friend expect accurate statistics from the European Union about trade within member states?

Mr. Needham

I cannot give my hon. Friend an exact estimate. I have no reason to believe that the way in which the statistics are collected here means that they are any less competently done or accurate than they are in other European states. There is a bedding-down period and it will affect the balance of trade figures in all the countries of Europe for some time yet.