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Dr. Phyllis Starkey (Milton Keynes, South-West): Will the right hon. Gentleman explain how he can

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reconcile his opposition to giving employment rights to part-time workers, who are mostly women, with his party's apparent support for the family?

Mr. Redwood: We think that the best support one can give the family is to have a labour market that works--one that makes it more likely that one or both of the parents can get a job if that is their choice or their need. We are extremely worried about the accumulation of too many burdens which, far from helping the people who most need help--those who have the fewest skills, or those who have been out of work for a long time--will make it more difficult for them to get the jobs that they need. That is not a family-friendly policy, but economic illiteracy of the first order.

Dr. Starkey: Will the right hon. Gentleman give way?

Mr. Redwood: The hon. Lady's point did not succeed the first time, and I doubt that it will fare better the second time.

With all those regulations coming in, it is no wonder that so many companies are giving up and taking their business elsewhere. The Secretary of State should take note of the warnings from Marks and Spencer. After decades of buying British and backing British manufacturers, the company has concluded that it must buy a lot more abroad in order to stay in the marketplace. That has happened under the Labour Government--Marks and Spencer did not do it under the Government of my right hon. Friend the Member for Huntingdon. It is a direct threat to the jobs of the textile workers who came to lobby the House today. What is the Secretary of State going to do about it? Does he not see that it is because he has made it too dear to make things in Britain that Marks and Spencer has come to that sad judgment?

If the Secretary of State wants further evidence, this morning we read in an excellent article in The Daily Telegraph that Rolls-Royce Engines will move its production to the United States of America if the Government inflict any more costly burdens on employment from Brussels. That is a stark warning from a senior industrialist who is not a Euro-sceptic fanatic of the sort the Secretary of State likes to deride, but a serious business man who runs a big, competitive and successful international enterprise and who is now issuing a warning to the Secretary of State, to the Government and to the whole European Union that they are getting it wrong and that they are going to destroy jobs.

Mr. Mandelson: It would be as well to state for the record what Sir Ralph said. He said:

Mr. Redwood: The Government are going down that path. They are in no position to resist it, because the Secretary of State, the Prime Minister and their right

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hon. Friends have given away the UK's power to make our own decisions--[Interruption.] There is nothing they can do, so the threat is real--[Interruption.]

Mr. Deputy Speaker: Order. The hon. Member for Workington (Mr. Campbell-Savours) must be quiet in the Chamber.

Mr. Redwood: I am grateful to you, Mr. Deputy Speaker.

Mr. Dale Campbell-Savours: On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. What protection does the gentleman from Rolls-Royce have against a direct misquote from an Opposition spokesman? How can he answer that?

Mr. Deputy Speaker: I do not think that it was a misquote. There has been a contribution, which was rebutted by the Secretary of State in an intervention. That is what debate is all about--people put an argument and others rebut it. It is not expected that hon. Members should, while seated, throw arguments across the Chamber.

Mr. Redwood: I am grateful for your wise judgment, Mr. Deputy Speaker. I find it odd that the hon. Member for Workington (Mr. Campbell-Savours) had to raise that as a point of order, when I have given way to all those who want me to give way and would be happy to debate that point with him.

Mr. Tim Collins (Westmorland and Lonsdale) rose--

Mr. Redwood: I shall give way to my hon. Friend in just a moment.

The position is clear. The story is for all to see in The Daily Telegraph today. The Secretary of State has offered a further quotation, but the fact remains that the Government cannot resist the very threat that the gentleman in question mentioned, because they have thrown away our power of independent government in that respect.

Mr. Collins: On the subject of Rolls-Royce, would my right hon. Friend care to respond to the fact that Rolls-Royce briefed me and a number of other hon. Gentlemen about its grave concern that the Secretary of State is contemplating eliminating CARAD--the civil aviation research and demonstration scheme--the research programme on which aerospace, Britain's most important manufacturing industry, depends?

Mr. Redwood: The House is grateful to my hon. Friend for that worrying intelligence. I hope that the Minister who replies to the debate will answer that question, as it greatly concerns one of Britain's most successful industries. Even the Secretary of State would agree that it has done a pretty good job over recent years, although he is a hard taskmaster when it comes to awarding any plaudits to managers or employees in British industry.

What will it take to make the Government listen? Many of the most important people in the debate agree that, if

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we want more jobs, we must make it cheaper, not dearer, to employ people. One important figure in the debate said:

    "Lowering labour costs forms one of the main methods of making entrepreneurial activity attractive again . . . I favour lowering labour costs, particularly for lower skilled people at the bottom end of the scale."

Labour Members are quiet because they are hoping that I was quoting Baroness Thatcher or my right hon. Friend the Leader of the Opposition, but I have to disappoint them. It was Gerhard Schroder, Germany's new Chancellor. He went on to say:

    "Similar methods are needed to adapt working time . . . In fifteen years' time only half of those employed in the German economy will benefit from a secure, full time job".

Gerhard Schroder predicts that, the more protection there is for the favoured ones in big companies, the less protection and the less success there will be for everyone else. That is exactly our worry about the current trend of Government policy and European policy generally. In other words, Gerhard Schroder is saying that, at exactly the same time as Britain is making it dearer to employ people and imposing more regulations making it less flexible, Germany knows that she needs to go in entirely the opposite direction.

I have another interesting quote from a little nearer home. A self-appointed luminary here in the United Kingdom tells us:

Labour Back Benchers had better steel themselves for two pieces of bad news about that quote. First, I have some sympathy with it, and secondly, of course, it comes from the pen of the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry. If he believes that Britain has to be more competitive, why is he doing so much to undermine our competitiveness?

If the Secretary of State agrees with Gerhard Schroder about needing to make it cheaper and easier to employ people, why has Labour decided to make it so much dearer? If he is telling us the truth when he says:

another snappy quote from the right hon. Gentleman--why is he busily doing just that with minimum wages, new trade union proposals and many more regulations? Does he realise that people on low wages will soon realise that they have been cheated as well? The idea of the minimum wage is not to boost their living standards, which would be a noble idea, but to cut their benefit top-ups, as is clear from the way in which the measure was introduced.

Has the Secretary of State seen last month's massive trade deficit in manufactured goods reported in today's announcement? Labour has at last broken new economic records, having achieved the largest ever single month's trade deficit in goods--it is a monumental example of their monumental incompetence. If we make it too dear to make things in Britain, naturally we will all sell less abroad and buy more from overseas. It is a sure sign that Labour is not working and that Labour is bad for business.

The Opposition say that we should give manufacturing a break, free it from regulations and reduce the taxes. It is no good saying that it should be easier and cheaper to make things in Britain, but do nothing about it;

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the Government should do a U-turn before it is too late to save manufacturing jobs and factories and free business to compete and succeed.

The Secretary of State is, of course, in a perpetual spin. First he tells us that Brazil is such an important market that he must go there twice in the same year. Then he decides that he must cancel the trip. After months of telling us that the visit was crucial, he now tells us that it was an unnecessary hangover from his predecessor's regime. If that is so, why did he not cancel it when he first took up his job? That would have minimised the embarrassment to Britain. How much business is at risk from the cancellation of the trip?

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