§ Mr. Peter Bradley
To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment what support his Department provides for profitable medium-sized businesses facing closure as a result of multi-national corporations rationalising their operations. 
§ Mr. Andrew Smith
[holding answer 29 April 1999]: The closure of any successful business, whether operated by a foreign or indigenous company, is always a matter for regret. The DTI's Invest in Britain Bureau and its partners seek to ensure that, where multi-national firms are considering global rationalisation, the case for the UK is put forward strongly to local management. However, commercial decisions taken in the light of world market conditions rest with the companies themselves.
In circumstances where there are redundancies, the Employment Service stands ready to give the maximum possible assistance to those affected, including counselling, careers guidance and advice on re-training opportunities. In offering support the Employment Service takes account of the skills and experience of the 380W employees being made redundant and local labour market conditions. The Employment Service has also targeted help in cases where there are large scale redundancies by setting up Rapid Response Units. These have been established to offer a wide range of co-ordinated support, and to assist people who have unfortunately been made redundant to find jobs quickly.