Michael Fabricant expressed his dismay at the announcement of the closure of the GKN factory in Lichfield to the House of Commons in
a question he raised to the Chancellor of the Exchequer on the competitiveness of UK manufacturing industry in general.
Michael told The Chief Secretary to the Treasury (Mr Des Browne MP): "I know that the Chief Secretary will join me in offering
sympathy to the 175 workers at GKN Lichfield who have just lost their jobs because the company is moving its manufacturing plant
from the UK to Europe. However, it is not so surprising, given that the Engineering Employers Federation has said that extra taxes
placed on manufacturing directly amount to £2.2 billion since 1997, and that the total for extra taxes in that period comes to £5.5
billion. That compares with what has happened in Europe and the US, where the overall tax burden has fallen since 1997. What can the
Chief Secretary do to reverse that trend?"
The Chief Secretary (Des Browne) replied: "First, may I take the opportunity to express my condolences and support to the workers at
the GKN Lichfield plant, which is now to be closed? My understanding of the situation is not exactly the same as the hon.
Gentleman’s. We are dealing with his constituency and I accept that I may be wrong, but I understand that GKN announced at the same
time that it would relocate all the jobs to its 10 other UK plants. That is not entirely consistent with what the hon. Gentleman
said, but I recognise that he will have more accurate information.
"The loss of manufacturing jobs in the west midlands and the rest of the UK has been going on for some time, but I point out that
the service sector in the west midlands has expanded significantly, with more than 300,000 jobs created since we have been in
government. Job opportunities exist, and I assure the hon. Gentleman (Michael Fabricant) that the Government will support the people
who have lost their jobs today."