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I want briefly to comment on several points that have been made. The hon. Member for Mole Valley (Sir Paul Beresford) talked about the overall financial situation. There has been a total increase of £48.4 million of Government grant23 per cent. in real termsbetween
1997 and 2009, and an increase of £32.5 million, which is 80 per cent. in real terms, between 2001 and 2009-10. There has therefore been a big increase. Even with the cap this year, Surrey will receive £5.7 million more.
To answer the hon. Member for Chesterfield (Paul Holmes), capping principles were announced to the House on 26 March. They were: a budget requirement of 4 per cent.; a council tax of 5 per cent. Although it is obviously up to Surrey police authority to decide how to spend its budget, its figures show reserves of £9.4 million, of which £5.6 million is not earmarked. As I have said, it is up to the authority to decide how it uses that money.
Ms Winterton: I should also add that, because of the increases that the Government have put into local government and policing, police numbers in Surrey in September 2008 were 262 higher than in March 1997. On 30 September, Surrey had 1,882 police officers and 1,721 police support staff, which is 994 more than in 1997. I think that we have taken the right decision in this instance.
Sir Paul Beresford: If we extrapolate the budget that results from the capping, the designation and the anticipated grant, the reality is that Surrey will lose 373 policemen and women over the next three years, and, because of the capping, the designation and the rebilling, a further 55. So, to use the Prime Ministers approach, this is a negative increase.
Ms Winterton: I think that I have explained fully the way in which we have changed what was a rigid system so that, last year, we were able to give Surrey a notional budget, meaning that it would not have to rebill. However, it has always been made clear that the changes that were made last year would be taken into account this year. The authority ignored the warnings that it was given. As I have said, Surrey is the only authority that, having been notified of a notional budget requirement, set an excessive increase in the subsequent year. I have to say to all the hon. Members who have spoken that, having considered the case, the Government have no doubt that firm action needs to be taken.
Ms Winterton: Perhaps it was the hon. Member for Mole Valley. I understand that this morning the judicial review application was refused on the papers. Of course there is a right to appeala right to request an oral hearingbut the application was refused this morning.
I emphasise again that we do not take these decisions lightly. We have to balance the issues of service provision and local accountability with ensuring that council tax payers do not face excessive council tax bills. That is why we have taken this action, and I hope that the House will support the order.
That the draft Council Tax Limitation (Maximum Amounts) (England) Order 2009, which was laid before this House on 10 June, be approved.
That this House has considered the matter of UK manufacturing.
The business of making thingsmanufacturingmatters to every Member of this House: it has been a defining part of our economy for hundreds of years; it has contributed to our reputation across the world; and it is a significant part of our economic strength.
Since the time of the industrial revolution when we were dubbed the workshop of the world, manufacturing has helped the UK to punch above its weight, and one of my principal points today is to counter the impression that we are not still a country that excels at making things; we most certainly are, but where once we led the way as producers of iron, coal and cotton, we are now blazing a trail in new areas such as robotics, software, new technology and advanced manufacturing.
Kelvin Hopkins: I thank my right hon. Friend for giving way. I want to be as supportive as possible, but I have to quibble with his suggestion that we are still a manufacturing nation. We have a gigantic trade deficit in manufactures, contributing to a very substantial balance of trade deficit which is ongoing, in contrast to Germany, for instance, which has a massive surplus as it has looked after its manufacturing better than us. I hope my right hon. Friend will accept that.
Mr. McFadden: I do not accept the assertion that we are not a manufacturing nation. We are the sixth largest manufacturer in the world, and I believe that manufacturing is a critically important part of our economy. I see the pride, passion and commitment of UK manufacturing in my own constituency week in, week out. When the Prime Minister visited Wolverhampton last Friday, my hon. Friends the Members for Wolverhampton, South-West (Rob Marris), for Wolverhampton, North-East (Mr. Purchase) and I were able to introduce him to many local manufacturers such as Goodrich in aerospace and Nuclear Engineering Services Ltd in my constituency, where people have built up excellent manufacturing industries employing hundreds of other people and making excellent products.
Mr. Mike Weir (Angus) (SNP):
The Minister is talking about the new industries in manufacturing, which is very good, but he seemed to dismiss the older ones. However, there is an opportunity for many such
industriesshipbuilding and metal beating, for examplein that their products can be used for the new green industries, particularly for offshore wind, for instance. So will the Minister not dismiss them so lightly?
Mr. McFadden: I did not dismiss the old industries; I reject that assertion. I believe that traditional manufacturing and the newer industries can combine to contribute to our manufacturing strengths, so I am certainly not dismissing any manufacturing industries.
Mr. Nigel Evans (Ribble Valley) (Con): We are now going to have more nuclear power stations, which I greatly welcome. Does the Minister agree, however, that we have waited too long to make that decision, and that a lot of the skills we need to manufacture our own nuclear plants [Interruption.] No, I will accept part of the responsibility, but this Government have been in power for a long timesince 1997. Does the Minister agree that if we had been more diligent and made the decision earlier, we would not have to import as much as we will have to simply to be able to construct our new nuclear build?
Mr. McFadden: I am prepared to be open-minded and to accept criticism of Government policy from many quarters, but I will not accept criticism from the Conservative party about being late to the game on the new generation of nuclear power stations. The hon. Gentlemans party has changed its position on that issue more times than a Highland dancer in the middle of the most active reel. I hope that the Conservatives now accept the need to move forward in that regard.
I was explaining the importance of manufacturing to the UK economy; as I said, it contributes some £150 billion to the economy, accounts for half of Britains exports and is responsible for 75 per cent. of our business research and development.
Mr. Fraser Kemp (Houghton and Washington, East) (Lab): Does the Minister think that an excellent example of how traditional industries can modernise for the future can be found in the motor industry and the investment in low-carbon cars that has been considered. Nissan, in my constituency, is one organisation that is looking closely at producing the next generation of low-carbon cars, and a decision is expected on that shortly. Does he think that that is another way of developing our manufacturing base? May I also quickly correct something he said? He said that 3 million people are employed in manufacturing, but I suspect that the real figure is 200 more than that, because 200 extra staff have been taken on by Nissan as a result of the success of this Governments scrappage scheme.
Mr. McFadden: I am happy to be corrected by my hon. Friend, who anticipates what I am coming on to say about the importance of the low-carbon economy in our manufacturing future. He rightly stresses that, and the Government are actively working with Nissan and other manufacturers on that agenda.
This country has excellence and world leadership in some manufacturing sectorsfor example, aerospace. We have the second biggest aerospace industry in the world, with more than 100,000 people directly employed in the manufacture of aircraft systems, engines and
equipment. We are fortunate to have world-class companies, such as Rolls-Royce, based here in the UK. It is a world leader in the production of aero engines and provides a prime example of the kind of innovative and forward-looking manufacturing that is certainly part of our economic future.
Sir Robert Smith (West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine) (LD): While praising excellent industries, I hope that the Minister also recognises just what a world leader this country is in subsea engineeringthat has come on the back of the oil and gas industry in the North sea. To that end, now that energy is the responsibility of a separate Department, does his Department still have an interest in promoting the business side of the oil and gas industry and all the service industries that go with it?
Mr. McFadden: My Department works very closely with the Department of Energy and Climate Change on these issues, and we will jointly be publishing a low-carbon manufacturing strategy in the not-too-distant future. We have worked on that co-operatively.
It is important to remember that our manufacturing base also helps us to attract significant inward investment. The UK is the worlds second most popular destination for foreign inward investment. Investment projects in advanced manufacturing have increased this year by 18 per cent, so even in the midst of a downturn inward investment in manufacturing is a UK success story, and we must not forget it.
Rob Marris (Wolverhampton, South-West) (Lab): A golden thread running through manufacturing is the importance of investment in capital equipment, and capital allowances are one of the tax regimes to encourage that. Is my right hon. Friend as astounded as I am that the policy of those on the Conservative Front Bench, as announced by the hon. Member for Fareham (Mr. Hoban) on 12 May, is to cut capital allowances by £3.7 billion a year?
Mr. McFadden: That kind of policy is the last thing that our manufacturing industries need, particularly in the midst of a downturn when we hope that hard-pressed industries are able to take investment decisions in order to prepare for the upturn when it comes. The Conservative party has come up with a policy that would strike at the heart of those investment decisions, and that is the very opposite of the support that manufacturing industry needs.
Kelvin Hopkins: I agree entirely with my right hon. Friend about the importance of manufacturing and preparing for the upturn when it comes. Will he and the Secretary of State do everything possible to sustain the General Motors van plant in Lutonthe best van plant in Europe, which produces the best vans in Europe and, I would argue, has the best work force in Europe? It is vital for our future.
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