§ 9. Mr. Purchase
To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment what contribution her Department is able to make to economic regeneration in the travel-to-work area containing British Steel Tubes Division, Wolverhampton. 
§ Mr. Purchase
That is welcome, but does the Minister not understand that, by Christmas, 1,000 more people in Wolverhampton will lose their jobs at British Steel, Manders Paints and Edge Shoes, with all that that means to those workers and their families? Does he think that it would be meaningful to make a special contribution to the local partnership that we have formed so that we can investigate fully, question and, if necessary, fight those closures and so that we can help those workers who may well be displaced at the end of this particular debacle?
§ Mr. Paice
I am sure that everybody understands the sadness of people who lose their jobs. I appreciate the hon. Gentleman's concern, which he has explained on a number of occasions in the House. It is not for me or the Government to question the commercial judgment of the businesses which employed those people. We have to recognise that the redundancies take place against a background of falling unemployment in the hon. Gentleman's constituency: it has fallen by almost 1,000 in the past year. He will be aware that Wolverhampton has succeeded in the first round of the single regeneration budget in obtaining an extra £16.5 million to be spent in 725 the area. Of course, there are other businesses taking on new staff. The hon. Gentleman should recognise the good things that are happening, not just the bad things.
§ Mr. Budgen
I congratulate my hon. Friend on the sympathetic way in which he deals with this sad situation. Will he point out that, in the past two years, Wolverhampton has enjoyed a considerable increase in prosperity, particularly in the metal bashing industry, which has enjoyed an enormous increase in exports directly as a result of the depreciation of the currency which followed the events of September 1992?