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
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
“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
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."