HC Deb 24 June 1996 vol 280 c10
13. Mr. Jacques Arnold

To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what was the principal Government policy with which he was concerned in the week beginning 17 June. [32616]

The Deputy Prime Minister

I have continued to work on a full range of those Government policies for which I am responsible.

Mr. Arnold

In view of the callous bombing in Manchester recently, I welcome the visit that my right hon. Friend intends to make to that city. Will he ensure that every arm of Government rallies around Manchester to help it to recover fully from that outrage?

The Deputy Prime Minister

I am extremely grateful to my hon. Friend for asking that question. The Prime Minister has asked me to go to Manchester on Wednesday this week, and I shall do so. I hope to meet with civic and private sector leaders in order to ensure that the Government's resources are used effectively wherever appropriate. If those resources can be co-ordinated better in dealing with the horrendous consequences of that dastardly act, the Government will have done all that is proper in the circumstances.

Mr. Lewis

When the right hon. Gentleman visits Manchester on Wednesday, will he meet small business people from the Corn Exchange and the Royal Exchange complexes? Small businesses have suffered huge financial losses in the past week and some business people cannot access the buildings to see what stock they have left. I am afraid that insurance companies are already ducking and diving about insurance matters. When the right hon. Gentleman visits Manchester, I ask him to meet those people and to not go empty-handed.

The Deputy Prime Minister

I shall go with the intention of meeting as wide a representation of the community as I can during what, by definition, must be a limited visit. I expect to see representatives of small and medium companies. The first stage is to visit the city, to listen to the people and to take stock of the situation. That is obviously what my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister wants me to do before I report back to him.