HC Deb 09 May 1995 vol 259 cc560-2
Q6. Mr. Simon Coombs

To ask the Prime Minister if he will pay an official visit to Swindon. [21651]

Mr. Newton

I have been asked to reply.

My right hon. Friend has no current plans to do so.

Mr. Coombs

Does my right hon. Friend agree that companies in Swindon and elsewhere would rather stick with a Government who have firmly rejected the concept of a national minimum wage than run the risk of supporting a party that might introduce a national minimum wage at a level so low that it would be meaningless, or at a level that would imperil employment and run the risk of reducing companies' investment in training?

Mr. Newton

I agree with my hon. Friend that the people of Swindon and, no doubt, the people of every town in the country would not wish to go down a path that will undermine employment, heap new costs on business, undermine the economic recovery, undermine our capacity to attract overseas investment, and undermine our ability to defend Britain's interests in Europe.

Mr. Pike

As the Leader of the House's job includes presentation of Government policy to the people of Swindon—[Interruption.] Ah, I know, Madam Speaker—

Madam Speaker

Order. The hon. Member for Swindon (Mr. Coombs) widened the question, but I do not want questioning to go too wide.

Mr. Pike

As it is the right hon. Gentleman's job to present Government policy, does he accept that either his presentation has failed or the policy has failed? Will he tell the people of Swindon what change of policy he now proposes—or does he intend to go?

Mr. Newton

I would tell the people of Swindon—and, indeed, those represented by the hon. Member for Burnley (Mr. Pike)—that, when unemployment is falling by 1,000 a day, when we are enjoying the most sustained period of low inflation for more than 30 years, when export volumes have risen by 12.5 per cent. in a year and when for two successive years ours has been the fastest-growing major European Union economy, one thing is certain: the policies are succeeding.

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