§ Mr. Mellish
asked the Secretary of State for Industry if Her Majesty's Government are prepared to maintain a minimum level of leather and footwear manufacturing in the United Kingdom, as Sweden has decided to do, in view of the strategic nature of these industries in the event of a national emergency.
§ Mr. David Mitchell
While the Government will continue to help the leather and footwear industries as far as they can within the constraints of our broad economic objectives and trade policy, we have no plans to define and maintain a particular level of leather and footwear manufacture in this country. My right hon. Friend does not anticipate any difficulty in meeting defence requirements. More generally within the framework set by our policies the size of these industries will be determined by the level of demand and by the competitive ability of the firms concerned to meet the requirements of their customers.