HC Deb 15 May 1996 vol 277 cc950-2
45. Mr. Michael Brown

To ask the President of the Board of Trade if he will make a statement about manufacturing industry in the Yorkshire and Humberside region. [28357]

Mr. Page

Manufacturing industry in Yorkshire and Humberside is now more competitive and better adapted to the demands of a modern economy than ever before, and it is well placed to take advantage of the continuing recovery and increasing opportunities in overseas markets. I know from my regular visits to the region that many of its manufacturing companies are among the best in the world.

Mr. Brown

My constituents will be delighted to have our own Question Time today—we should like to have one every day. May I tell my hon. Friend that that is excellent news? Does he agree that my constituency is in the vanguard of ensuring the statistics that he has just produced? Does he realise that, this week, we will have the opening of the new Grimsby fish docks, which will benefit Grimsby and my constituency? Is not that a tribute to how manufacturing industry in general has shown a renaissance in the old South Humberside area of Humberside? Will he take this opportunity to congratulate all those who are involved in manufacturing industry on the south bank of the river Humber?

Mr. Page

As sponsor Minister for Yorkshire and Humberside, I congratulate my hon. Friend on creating his own Question Time—I believe that he deserves nothing else, and on an on-going basis. I know that he has worked extremely hard to bring about the Grimsby port project. I also know that the Government have offered quite a few million pounds of taxpayers' money to help bring it to fruition. The project is another example of how that area is blossoming—which is due purely and simply to the way in which the Government have been offering and operating regional support. The only thing that will harm that part of our country is if the Labour party allows the deadly duo of the social contract and the minimum wage to be let loose on it.

Mr. Hardy

Does the Minister accept that the number of new jobs created in recent years does not begin to match the number that have been lost in our region? Does he accept that the antics and attitudes of a large section of the Conservative party seem likely to discourage and deter the inward investment that is so badly needed in our area?

Mr. Page

While I hear what the hon. Gentleman says, I am afraid that his comments are not borne out by the facts. I can spend a considerable amount of time telling him that, in his constituency, Reflex Sound and Light Systems Ltd. has been given regional selective assistance—as have Waterstone Glassware Ltd., Pyronix Ltd., Fear Free Doors, Aquion Ltd. and Morphy Richards Ltd. Those are jobs that have been brought into the region by regional selective assistance from the Government.