HC Deb 27 June 1996 vol 280 c462
14. Mr. Rooker

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what fiscal proposals he has to stimulate manufacturing output. [33419]

Mr. Jack

All businesses will benefit from the tax cuts in the Budget and the four interest rates cuts announced since last December.

Mr. Rooker

Does the Minister accept that Britain should be first and foremost a manufacturing nation? Notwithstanding contributions to the economy from other sectors, is it not a tragedy that our manufacturing base contributes less to the economy than financial services? Is it not the case that although manufacturing industry does not exist to create jobs, it must create wealth and we are slipping too far behind?

Mr. Jack

In reply to the hon. Gentleman's first question—what a contemptuous statement on all those who work in the City, banking and other financial institutions and who generate so much of our invisible wealth. However, I share the hon. Gentleman's enthusiasm for manufacturing industry. It is a pity that he did not mention Rockwell Light Vehicle Systems which has invested £7.9 million in the west midlands, Everset Frozen Food, an American company which has invested £28 million there and Mann and Hummel, a company that makes air filters, which has invested £13 million in the west midlands. Nor did he mention the 58 German companies fleeing the social chapter to invest in manufacturing in the best place in Europe to make things.

Mr. Forman

Is my hon. Friend aware that it is not so much special fiscal measures, but the right overall economic climate, with low interest rates, low inflation and minimum regulation that is necessary to support our manufacturing?

Mr. Jack

My hon. Friend is entirely right. The flexibilities in the British labour force and the excellence and strength of our economic policies have made us attractive and the number one place for inward investment in Europe.