HC Deb 17 May 1994 vol 243 cc657-8
1. Mr. Pawsey

To ask the Secretary of State for Employment how many people are employed in the Warwickshire travel-to-work area currently; and what was the figure in 1990–91.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Employment (Miss Ann Widdecombe)

The latest available estimates are for September 1991, when there were 77,200 employees in the Warwick travel-to-work area.

Mr. Pawsey

I thank my hon. Friend for that extremely helpful reply. Does she agree that one of the reasons why the Warwick and, indeed, Warwickshire figures are so good is the highly motivated, well-trained and adaptable work force? That applies especially to the constituency of Rugby and Kenilworth, as my hon. Friends will know. Does my hon. Friend agree that the Rugby and Kenilworth area is part of the midlands golden triangle and attracts a steady stream of new employers, creating new wealth and new employment? [Interruption.]

Madam Speaker

Order. That is setting a rather bad pace for questions.

Miss Widdecombe

I have pleasure in confirming each one of my hon. Friend's statements. I also have pleasure in confirming his comments on Rugby and Kenilworth, where unemployment has fallen by 12 per cent. over the past year.

Mr. Olner

Would it not have been a more honest question and a more honest answer if the hon. Member for Rugby and Kenilworth (Mr. Pawsey) had gone back to 1979 figures and if, in speaking up for the skills of the work force in the Coventry and Warwickshire area, he had mentioned that that area has been decimated by the Government's inability to have a manufacturing policy?

Miss Widdecombe

I am sure that, in this period of peace between our parties, the hon. Gentleman will wish me to give him good news on which he can then congratulate the Government. May I first point out that fair comparisons between work forces in employment should be from peak to peak or trough to trough and not from the one to the other? Secondly, may I give the hon. Gentleman the good news about the creation of new jobs by Jaguar, Peugeot and Land-Rover and the jobs that that has brought to the hon. Gentleman's region? In this new period of peace, I look forward to the hon. Gentleman congratulating us on that.