HC Deb 13 March 1996 vol 273 c967
4. Mr. Atkins

To ask the President of the Board of Trade what representations he has received about manufacturing industry in the north-west of England. [18690]

The Minister for Competition and Consumer Affairs (Mr. John M. Taylor)

Other DTI Ministers and I regularly receive representations about manufacturing industry in the north-west. My right hon. Friend the President of the Board of Trade, as he said a moment ago, has discussed issues facing manufacturers with the Consortium of Lancashire Aerospace and, more recently, has received representations on behalf of the automotive sector in the north-west.

Mr. Atkins

Is my hon. Friend aware of the success story that is manufacturing industry in the north-west of England, with large companies such as British Aerospace and Leyland Trucks and smaller companies such as Schwan's Pizzas and Centurion Furniture doing extremely well in South Ribble? Does he agree that the cry must be "Do not let Labour ruin it"?

Mr. Taylor

I would, of course, agree with my right hon. Friend. He has hit the nail on the head and he is right about the success story. The manufacturing sector in the north-west is second only to the south-east in value, and there are some well-deserved success stories. I was not aware of the success of the pizza and furniture companies, but I know about Leyland Trucks and its deal with Isuzu Motors of Japan and about British Aerospace, the Eurofighter and the airbus. That is all very good news for the north-west and it has been supported by inward investment.

Mr. Pike

Will the Minister recognise that aerospace is extremely important to Lancashire? I am glad that he has met the consortium. Will he further recognise that if British Airways insisted on British engines and on using the European airbus, with its British components, that would be a tremendous boost to this country's aerospace industry?

Mr. Taylor

I have never been in favour of compulsory "Buy British" policies, but we ought to look optimistically at the fact that British goods will sell because of British quality.

Mr. Dover

Will the Minister convey to his colleague the Minister for Industry and Energy the grateful thanks of many manufacturing firms in the Chorley and South Ribble area for the efforts made to ensure that Konver European funding will be available to help us get out of defence-related industries and into more peace-related activities?

Mr. Taylor

I understand that my hon. Friend is talking about no less than £84 million. I shall make sure that his message is relayed to my Department and to the north-west Government office.

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