HC Deb 02 December 1999 vol 340 c308W
28. Mr. Nicholas Winterton

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment if he will assess the impact of recent purchasing decisions by Marks and Spencer on employment in the textile industry; and what measures he plans to take in response. [99371]

Ms Jowell

The commercial decisions of private companies are a matter for them, and the DfEE do not assess the employment implications of individual cases. In a dynamic modern economy, jobs are being created and lost all the time. However, the total number of people in employment in the UK is growing—up by over 700,000 in the last two and a half years.

The Employment Service is there to help all individuals who lose their job to find another one, and most do so quickly. In addition to advice with jobsearch, re-training help is available for those who find it difficult to get work in their previous occupation, while people affected by a redundancy that has a significant impact on a local labour market can get access to ES programmes straight away. The Government have also established Rapid Response Units to ensure that, when a major redundancy occurs, the help individuals need to get back to work is quickly in place.

With specific reference to textiles and clothing, my colleagues at the Department of Trade and Industry have taken a keen interest in the work of the Textiles and Clothing Strategy Group, which has been looking at ways in which the UK's textiles and clothing industry can become more internationally competitive.