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1994 - Mr Major’s Doorstep Interview in Naples

Below is the text of Mr Major’s doorstep interview in Naples on Saturday 9th July 1994.


QUESTION:

Mr Major, can you give us the flavour of what you suggested the G7 should be doing about growth and jobs?

PRIME MINISTER:

You will, have the outcome of it in a few moments. I think you will find it is a recipe that is very familiar to you back home, there is a great belief that one has to deregulate, one has to go for supply side policies. There is no great public expenditure initiative to suddenly boost expenditure and create jobs, there is an understanding that you need to go down the route of competitiveness and supply side policies.

QUESTION:

Do you think that is going to be acceptable?

PRIME MINISTER:

Perfectly accepted.

QUESTION:

Can the unemployed in the G7 countries take real hope from what has happened this morning?

PRIME MINISTER:

What we are seeing right the way across the G7 now is a return to growth, that is certainly the case in the United States, it is certainly the case in the United Kingdom, Germany is coming back to growth, that is very good news indeed, Japan and other countries are coming out of their difficulties. We have been through a period over the last two or three years when growth has been negative, there has been no growth, there has been contraction in many of those countries. We are now going back to growth. The underlying problem that we have to face is that technological change often creates jobs for people with skills, but the people who find themselves as an ever larger pool of unemployed are people with no skills or very low skills and I think the counterpart to supply side policies is better education and training right across the board, not just in Western Europe but in other countries as well.

QUESTION:

We understand you reached agreement this morning on a possible package of aid for the Ukraine, how soon can we expect to see Chernobyl close down as a result?

PRIME MINISTER:

The World Bank meets I think next week from memory to discuss Chernobyl and Ukraine and energy in general. There will need to be negotiations with the Ukrainians, clearly there is a great deal that they have to do as well in terms of energy pricing and other reforms of that sort, but we would hope that we can move quite speedily.

QUESTION:

What do you see now as being President Yeltsin's status in the world, because he seems to be half in and half out as far as this club is concerned?

PRIME MINISTER:

He has attended G7s to discuss political matters for the last couple of meetings and he will be here again today. Clearly in terms of many of the international discussions we have, most obviously at the moment Bosnia, the role of Russia and the role of President Yeltsin is very important, so I think he has a very high profile role to play on the political side.

QUESTION:

Will he be requesting aid for the Eastern bloc?

PRIME MINISTER:

I think his principal connection and interest of course in what happens here at the moment is still political.

QUESTION:

Will it be G8 from next year?

PRIME MINISTER:

I think you must wait and see, I would be very surprised if President Yeltsin was not at Halifax next year in order to discuss political matters, very surprised indeed.

QUESTION:

What effect has the absence of Mr Murayama had on your discussions this morning?

PRIME MINISTER:

I am very sorry that Mr Murayama was not with us this morning but his Foreign Minister was and he made a first class contribution.

QUESTION:

You have been pushing for more informal summits, I understand there is now agreement that it should be more informal next year, precisely what changes will there be?

PRIME MINISTER:

Yes it will be a good deal more informal next year and that is set out perfectly clearly in the communique, as you will see later. What it will mean is that there will be sessions that are not devoted to a particular subject, there will not be pre-preparation, it will be an opportunity for Heads of Government to think things through in total privacy, discuss which direction they wish to go. Too often summits in the past have been pre-determined by work long before the Heads of Government met, we are rather frustrated with that, we would like to sweep that away and go back to the original concept which was that the Heads of Government of the largest industrialised states should sit down and themselves examine what they wish to do.

QUESTION:

Do you think there needs to be an investigation into the naming of Jeffrey Archer?

PRIME MINISTER:

I am perfectly clear that these matters are the responsibility of the Department of Trade and Industry, there is a perfectly clear route of responsibility, there is a perfectly clear procedure for dealing with these matters. That procedure has been followed, it is not for me or anybody else to get involved in that procedure.

QUESTION:

Why is Michael Heseltine not at the Trade Ministers meeting?

PRIME MINISTER:

Michael Heseltine has got a long-standing invitation to go with businessmen to South Africa.