‘Work for wealth’ urges Thatcher
By Rhys David, Northern Correspondent
BRITAIN WOULD be able to afford German levels of wages and public expenditure when it matched German levels of work, the Prime Minister said yesterday.
Mrs. Thatcher on a one-day visit to industrial plants and towns in the North-west, said people in Britain had to understand that improved public services could only be paid for out of higher levels of productivity.
During her tour, Mrs. Thatcher was met by enthusiastic crowds, though she came up against right-to-work demonstrators in Skelmersdale and small groups elsewhere protesting against Government cuts, particularly in education.
She began with a visit to a Skelmersdale plant being developed by Ward and Goldstone, where 150 people are to be employed making cables for car electrical systems.
She later visited a new £6m Carrington Viyella factory at Atherton in Greater Manchester—the first new spinning plant opened in the area for 50 years. Then she went on to an electronics factory, Rigby Electronics, at Pendlebury, in Lancashire.
Mrs. Thatcher mingled with crowds in the centre of Rawtenstall before going on for talks with Government officials in Manchester and visiting a new low-energy housing project in Salford.
While in Skelmersdale, Mrs. Thatcher had talks with development corporation officials on the effects of the reduction in the population growth targets of the new towns. She said she had been impressed by the town's success in attracting small companies to offset the loss of several larger concerns.
She ruled out any changes in present economic policy, warning that high interest rates were necessary because borrowing was continuing at a high level. The Government was determined not to print money to bring levels down as this would only lead to renewed inflation.
The Prime Minister also defended the Government's changes in regional policy, one effect of which will be to reduce the levels of grant aid available to large parts of the North-west. Assistance was now being concentrated in areas where it was needed, such as Skelmersdale. The changes were being phased over three years, giving industry time to adjust.