§ Mr. Collins
To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry (1) what assessment he has made of the state of the UK shoe manufacturing industry; 
(2) what proposals he has for a national strategy for the UK shoe manufacturing industry. 
§ Mr. Battle
The DTI prepared a Competitive Analysis of the Footwear Industry which was issued in December 1996. I have arranged for copies to be placed in the Library of the House.
I launched an Action Plan to improve the competitiveness of the UK footwear industry at the National Footwear Conference in Rossendale in February 1998. The Plan is being taken forward by the Footwear Liaison Action Group (FLAG). This is an 30W industry led Group which has representatives from companies, trade associations, unions, training organisations, Business Links, DTI and DFEE.