Manufacturing Industry — 24 Jan 2001

I beg to move,

That this House is alarmed at the continuing job losses in manufacturing industry, which now total over 300,000 since the 1997 election; condemns the Government for having abandoned this sector of the economy while burdening it with additional taxes and regulations; and demands that the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry brings forward a strategy for restoring the competitiveness of British manufacturing industry in world markets.

committed to paying all correctly presented bills within 30 days of receipt.

The group will consider a range of manufacturing issues.--[ Official Report , 21 December 2000; Vol. 360, c. 574.]

There is no such group.--[ Official Report , 8 January 2001; Vol. 360, c.356W.]

rip-off Britain must come to an end . . . We've already started. Investigations have begun into the cost of . . . prices at supermarkets. It is simply unacceptable to have hard-earned wages pickpocketed at the cash register.

we are satisfied that the industry is currently broadly competitive and that, overall, excessive prices are not being charged, nor excessive profits earned.

the Climate Change Levy will result in substantial increases in production costs for the UK motor industry

In a globally competitive market it is not possible to pass on these cost increases, and there are fears that UK based businesses--

will lose out as a consequence.

continued to monitor the gas market.

It is not just the euro; it is the fact that all these things are coming together . . . Transport costs are very high in the United Kingdom and the climate change levy alone will add £500,000 to the cost of our . . . tube-making business.

I beg to move, To leave out from "House" to the end of the Question, and to add instead thereof:

"welcomes the low inflation and low interest rates that this Government has brought and which bring the economic stability needed by the manufacturing sector; welcomes the measures that this Government has taken to encourage investment, innovation and productivity which will particularly help manufacturing businesses; welcomes the Government's approach in helping businesses and people through structural change as opposed to the previous Government's laissez-faire approach; and condemns the Opposition's record on manufacturing, where employment declined by 2¾ million during its period in office.".

It has been an extraordinary turnaround. Ten years ago Britain's economy was in a state of deep despair. Inflation was in double figures, unemployment climbing ever higher, house prices collapsing and the country over a year away from the light at the end of the longest recession since the war. Now, according to new figures, we can look back on an economic golden age that shows little sign of coming to an end . . . Unemployment, at just over 1m, is at its lowest since 1975, and a third of its level in the early 1990s, with skill shortages a bigger problem than shortages of jobs. Inflation is the lowest since 1976 . . . in practice the lowest for a long time before that. The government, far from being strapped for cash, has a big budget surplus.

Britain is the best place in the world to do business, according to a new survey. America is left trailing in second place . . . The survey by management giant Arthur Andersen and independent analysts GrowthPlus covers 10 nations, and is due to be published tomorrow; but a copy seen by The Sun names Britain the "outright winner". It says

Our benchmark shows the United Kingdom as being the country that overall provides the most entrepreneur-friendly environment. We can see that the UK nurtures growth through tax incentives.

Britain is the best place in the world to do business.

partly due to a lot of plant restructuring programmes.

In the short-term, things are not looking good.

We have never opposed the need for action on climate change, but believe the Levy to be one of the most badly designed economic instruments in recent times.

There is no doubt that the climate change levy will penalise a number of manufacturing enterprises in the UK, particularly those who have made considerable improvements to their energy efficiency prior to the introduction of the levy.

Those who have not followed the levy through its various transformations may be shocked that the smokestack end of industry fares rather better than the rest,

Massive users of energy, such as steel, cement, glass and chemicals industries can strike deals with the Government to reduce levy charges by up to 80 per cent. in return for meeting targets to cut energy use. Many other businesses,

the Climate Change Levy will result in substantial increases in production costs for the UK motor industry. Net energy costs are estimated to increase by 10 to 15 per cent--

which we should consider in relation to changes in the euro-sterling exchange rate or, perhaps equally relevantly, the sterling-dollar rate--

for vehicle and component manufacturers as a result of the levy.

In a globally competitive market it is not possible to pass on these cost increases, and there are fears that UK based businesses will lose out as a consequence.

Since 1990 the share of GDP within the UK has declined significantly in the North East, the North West, the West Midlands, Wales and Scotland. It has increased significantly in the Eastern Region, London and the South East.

These are symptoms of something fundamental. We don't have to look far for some of the causes. In 1998 manufacturing businesses invested over ten times as much in research and development in the South East--£1.9 billion--than in the North East--£164 million.

At a global level, London and the South East are performing as well as the top-ten most competitive nations . . . at the lower end of the scale, Wales, the North East and Yorkshire and Humber rank alongside such nations as Hungary, Chile and Israel.

590 at Leoni Wiring Systems in Accrington . . . 450 at car firm TRW in Burnley, followed by 150 at Caligen Foam in Accrington and Viktor Achter in Burnley . . . 300 at wallpaper manufacturer John Wilman in Nelson; 110 at Blackburn firm SSL . . . 100 at Crown Wallcoverings in Darwen; 90 at Time Computers in Simonstone--

50 at the Sappi Paper Mill in Blackburn.

History is not what you thought. It is what you can remember.

What assessment he has made of the recent performance of manufacturing industry in the north-west of England.

Is my right hon. Friend aware that output, exports and employment have fallen in the past four months in the north-west of England? BAE Systems is threatening thousands more redundancies. Things are therefore becoming more difficult, to say the least. Bolton has suffered wave after wave of engineering redundancies and two textile factories have closed recently.--[ Official Report , 18 January 2001; Vol. 361, c. 501.]

We are taking action on the three key issues of the European exchange rate, the climate change levy and energy prices.--[ Official Report, Westminster Hall , 10 January 2001; Vol. 360, c. 238WH.]

The report by the trade and industry select committee is expected to be a catalogue of failure, with muddled figures and lack of focus in many DTI objectives.

will also say the department's aim of building "an enterprise society" amounts to "a dog's breakfast" and urge ministers to look again at defining such a goal.

discovered there are no definitive figures for staff numbers at the department, nor accurate statistics on sick leave.

the Government has dramatically increased the regulatory burdens that threaten small business competitiveness.

address inappropriate and over-complex regulation . . .--[ Official Report , 17 November 1999; Vol. 339, c. 5.]

Question put, That the original words stand part of the Question:--

The House divided: Ayes 171, Noes 286.

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Party Summary

Votes by party, red entries are votes against the majority for that party.

What is Tell? '+1 tell' means that in addition one member of that party was a teller for that division lobby.

What are Boths? An MP can vote both aye and no in the same division. The boths page explains this.

What is Turnout? This is measured against the total membership of the party at the time of the vote.

PartyMajority (No)Minority (Aye)BothTurnout
Con0 132 (+2 tell)083.8%
Independent0 1050.0%
Lab285 (+2 tell) 0068.8%
LDem0 36076.6%
PC0 2050.0%
SNP0 1016.7%
Total:285 172072.5%

Rebel Voters - sorted by party

MPs for which their vote in this division differed from the majority vote of their party. You can see all votes in this division, or every eligible MP who could have voted in this division

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no rebellions

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