HC Deb 27 June 1996 vol 280 cc450-1
2. Mr. Garnier

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer when he next intends to visit Harborough to discuss the effects of his economic policies on the local economy. [33406]

The Paymaster General (Mr. David Heathcoat-Amory)

My right hon. and learned Friend has no immediate plans to visit Harborough. However, my hon. Friend's constituency is benefiting from the general strength of the British economy, with the longest run of low inflation for almost 50 years, steady economic growth and the lowest unemployment figures of any major European country.

Mr. Garnier

On his way to Harborough—I advise him to visit soon—will my right hon. Friend look at the speech by the president of the German BDI, in which he noted that unemployment levels in this country have fallen by 20 per cent. since their height in the 1980s while unemployment in western Germany has increased by 10 per cent. in the same period?

Madam Speaker

Order. The House requires that the supplementary question should follow the substantive question, which in this case is about a visit to Harborough and its local economy.

Mr. Garnier

Precisely, Madam Speaker. When my right hon. Friend visits Harborough to discuss the Government's economic policies, will he draw to the attention of my constituents the quotations from the speech to which I have referred? If my constituents do not know it already, will he remind them that investors from both within and outside the United Kingdom are queuing up to do business and to set up businesses in my constituency? Following his visit to Harborough, will my right hon. Friend draw the appropriate conclusions from the information that he gathers there, for the benefit of the Opposition?

Mr. Heathcoat-Amory

I would love to visit my hon. and learned Friend's constituency. His constituents obviously have a good understanding of the reasons why unemployment has fallen steadily in that area and elsewhere in the past few years. As my hon. and learned Friend hints, it is typical of new Labour that it is about to embrace the German employment pattern at a time when the flaws and deficiencies in that system are beginning to appear. There are now more Germans out of work than at any time since the second world war, whereas unemployment is falling in this country.

Forward to