§ 40. Mr. Nicholas Winterton
asked the Secretary of State for Employment how many textile workers have been made redundant in the North-West region of the United Kingdom so far in 1981; what was the total figure in redundancies for the calendar year 1980; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Peter Morrison
I am informed by the Manpower Services Commission that the number of workers involved in redundancies of 10 or more confirmed as due to occur in the textile industry in the North-West region so far during January 1981 is 714. The number of workers 371W involved in similar redundancies confirmed as due to occur in the North-West region during 1980 is 18,854. These figures are not comprehensive and are still provisional.
The Government are very much concerned about the problems facing the textile industry. The temporary short-time working compensation scheme, under which the maximum period of assistance has been increased from six to nine months, will continue to be available to textile and clothing firms as a possible alternative to redundancies. Structural change is inevitable and necessary but we shall continue to do all we can to protect the industries from any unfair competition and we are committed to ensuring the strict implementation of the present multi-fibre arrangement.
When the present MFA comes up for renewal in 1982 we shall be looking for the best deal we can negotiate for the United Kingdom textile industry, taking account of United Kingdom interests as a whole.