§ 24. Mr. Beaumont-Dark
asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what effect his policies have had on the engineering industry in the west midlands.
§ Mr. Butcher
The problems of the engineering industry have been developing for over two decades. The team for innovation based in the west midlands regional office of the Department of Trade and Industry has now been at work for only a few months and it is too early to judge the results of this and other aspects of the west midlands initiative. However, the response to the small engineering firms investment scheme by west midlands companies has been encouraging and I hope that our special efforts to encourage the local provision and use of advanced manufacturing technology and to make the assistance provided by my Department better known will lead many more engineering firms to take steps to improve their competitiveness.