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MP Defends Labour's Job Loss Record

Coventry MP Jim Cunningham has expressed his sympathy for workers hit by manufacturing problems in the area, but has attacked the Conservatives’ jobs record.

Speaking in advance of a debate initiated by the opposition on the sate of manufacturing in the UK, Mr Cunningham said the problems had been largely caused by the weak euro.

The Coventry South MP said:

“Many of my constituents have been directly affected by the disruption at Longbridge.

“And Agco (Massey Ferguson) have recently announced that they are implementing short-time working due to the high value of the pound.

“I feel deeply for everyone touched by these measures, and for the workers in Dagenham who recently learnt that workers there will be affected by Ford’s decision to cut down their operation in the UK.

“But the problems need to be kept in perspective. The weak euro is not the only cause of problems.

“Productivity growth came to a halt in the mid-1990s and has only recently resumed.”

Mr Cunningham, who is a member of the Trade and Industry Select Committee, admitted that 200,000 manufacturing jobs have gone since Labour came to power in the 1997 general election.

But he added:

“This compares to an average fall each year from 1979 to 1997 of 140,000.

“Eighteen times 140,000 is no small number of jobs, and I think that those who are quick to criticise should look closely at the Tories’ record on manufacturing before sticking the boot in to this administration."

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CWN / Politics / MPs / Jim Cunningham  / 17 May 00

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This page modified on 10 November 2008 09:49:15AM