Barriers also arise from the technology that is available to people across the nations of the UK at the moment. I welcome a commitment to universal broadband, as that is a good thing and it should be embraced fully. What is being proposed by the UK Government at the moment, however, is at best—I am being very kind here—a bare minimum for the future. A speed of 10 megabits per second is technology from a bygone age now and it is not good enough for communities in the future, as we see particularly when we look in detail at the plans. A lot of the bridging is going to be done by satellite technology, which is good where there is nothing else, but it is affected by the weather; it has a high latency potential, it suffers from poor uploads; and, in general,

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people can get up to—that is the key term—only 6 megabits per second with it. That is what is being proposed for rural areas. The costs of satellite broadband also present a considerable barrier, as people are looking at £30 to £100 a month for these contracts in order to take advantage of it.

Mr Gregory Campbell (East Londonderry) (DUP): The hon. Gentleman is discussing businesses in rural areas. Does he agree that many small and medium-sized enterprises throughout the UK that have relocated from town and city centres to rural areas on a cost basis now find themselves disadvantaged, precisely on the broadband access grounds he talks about? That needs to be addressed by the Government.

Drew Hendry: I am very grateful for the hon. Gentleman’s intervention, as he hits on a key point. There is a vibrant, intelligent, work-ready employee base in rural areas, and people there are ready to take advantage of opportunities presented by employers. He rightly describes, however, what people may suddenly find when they move to a rural area, and I have some personal experience of this. When I was working in Windsor, lots of things were available to me by way of technology, but when I then moved to the highlands, I suddenly thought, “Ah, I might have made a mistake here.” I am glad to say that I did not make a mistake and we worked through it, although at some expense. Broadband access is a real barrier to people being able to set up businesses in rural areas. If the UK Government want to take a view for the future, they have to consider people across all parts of the regions of the nations of the UK and make sure that people in rural areas have the same opportunities to engage in business as those in urban areas.

Alan Brown (Kilmarnock and Loudoun) (SNP): Does my hon. Friend agree that we need not only a much higher specification for the universal broadband commitment, but provision of a better service level by broadband suppliers so that a customer gets what they know they are signing up to and so that once they have signed up they continue to get it? Customers sometimes suffer a drop-off when other people connect without even being aware of it or how they go about dealing with it. Robust service level agreement provisions must be put in place, too.

Drew Hendry: I thank my hon. Friend for that intervention, and I completely agree that the service level is important. I am pleased that the UK Government seem to have accepted that, and I believe they will be making sure that contracts are able to be changed or cancelled if the service does not live up to what was promised. I am also pleased that they have accepted my suggestion that that should also apply to mobile phone contracts, and let me give due notice now to the Minister that I will be chasing up on that shortly. I am grateful that they have accepted my point that mobile phone contracts should as quickly as possible come under the same terms.

I wish briefly to discuss mobile signals, because one opportunity for all the nations of the UK is for universal coverage to be undertaken properly in terms of forthcoming technology, specifically 5G. The 5G spectrum is due to be launched in around 2020. Now this is very important. We will hear Ministers and others say, “Oh, but it’s coming in the future. We can’t deal with it now because

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it is not yet real.” The same was said about the 4G spectrum when it was launched, and the same was also said about the 3G and 2G spectrums when they were launched, and yet the failures continue. It has been a failure for business and for people on 4G, 3G and 2G across the piece. There are still parts of the UK that do not have any mobile signal at all. Mobile telephone companies could have been challenged on that during the licensing regime. The UK Treasury has made billions of pounds out of these licences. It is not beyond the wit of the Government to look at those things and ensure that, in future, when the contracts come up and when they are applying the licences, they insist that there is full coverage not only for urban areas, but for rural areas as well. Not dealing with those issues leads to an enduring digital divide.

There is also a bigger threat to these isles from cyber-security failures than there is from nuclear threat, and yet we are not encouraging enough people, particularly young people, to get into the industry to ensure that we are in a position to put our defences in place. The living wage, which has been mentioned in this Chamber a few times today, actively disadvantages young people. It is an absolute scandal that we treat our young people with such contempt and that we do not encourage them to be part of the overall journey to economic success. Such encouragement should be given to all our people regardless of where they live in this country. They should feel involved and part of the culture. We need to stimulate, guide and help them to get involved in new technology and in other industries such as engineering and science. We need to ensure that they are involved in life sciences so that they can get jobs that will be more worth while to them and their families in the future. We need that competitive edge and to be able to innovate into the future. Such encouragement is particularly pertinent for young girls and women who, in the 21st century, still do not have the same opportunity to get into those industries. We need to work hard across the piece to innovate and to ensure that we challenge that behaviour.

In Scotland, the curriculum for excellence is encouraging young people from primary school through to secondary school to look at outcomes of education in the round. I am pleased to be part of the Highland Science Skills Academy, which is directly challenging the norm. It is working with private companies, Government agencies such as Highlands and Islands Enterprise, The Highland Council, the NHS and other bodies to encourage young people, particularly girls and young women, to understand and to be able to interact with these skills. It is that kind of innovation that we must put in place to ensure that we are embracing the digital economy and allowing people to take part in it.

I will finish on this point. People are embracing the digital economy, and they are using the technology now. They are grasping the opportunities in their business and they must have support. The world is moving ahead. There is a choice: we can follow or we can lead. I always remember the words, “Where are all those people going because I need to lead them?” I do not know where I heard them, but they remind me of the UK Government.

4.38 pm

David Rutley (Macclesfield) (Con): It is an honour to participate in this debate and to follow the great speeches of my hon. Friends the Member for Spelthorne (Kwasi

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Kwarteng) and for Bedford (Richard Fuller), who is a great friend. It is also an honour to follow the hon. Member for Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey (Drew Hendry), who gave a thoughtful speech on innovation, and that is a fact. I had better inform the House that two very important exports from Macclesfield are helping his local economy. Two players from Macclesfield Town football club are now playing for Inverness Caledonian Thistle and helping them in the Scottish premier league—good luck to them.

This has been a very thoughtful and at times serious debate, with passionate speeches by Members on both sides of the House. I congratulate the hon. Member for Dundee East (Stewart Hosie), with whom I served briefly on the Treasury Committee. He is a very thoughtful Member and is right to raise the subject. We have benefited from the debate. I also welcome the contribution of my right hon. Friend the Minister for Small Business, Industry and Enterprise, who brought to the debate her characteristic robustness and energy, which are absolutely needed for the work required.

Our long-term economic plan for Britain is right and fair. It provides opportunities for this country’s businesses and individuals for the years ahead. Ministers are not only ensuring that we continue to get our public finances in order, but protecting frontline services through the way in which funding is allocated. We are, of course, taking no chances with our national security or, for that matter, our national economic security. We have a clear plan not only to make sure that Britain once again lives within its means, but to deliver an economy that generates more means within which to live. Those two sides of the same coin are very important.

In the summer Budget debate, I noted the importance of rebalancing our books after Labour’s spendthrift years; of rebalancing incentives in favour of work; and of rebalancing economic geography towards a northern powerhouse. It is interesting that the Conservative Government in London are as committed to decentralising power away from Downing Street as the Scottish National party is to centralising power to Bute House, whether it relates to the police, fire services or further education.

Drew Hendry: Does the hon. Gentleman agree that the Scottish Government have done a fantastic thing this week by supplying £500,000 to encourage local communities to partake in participatory budgeting, thereby allowing them to make their own decisions? That is a real example of decentralisation. Similarly, the first thing the SNP Government did was remove ring-fencing for councils, to allow them to make their own decisions.

David Rutley: I am pleased to hear that the SNP is rectifying its trend towards centralisation and I give it credit for doing so.

Alison Thewliss: The hon. Gentleman might be interested in my experience of serving on the Strathclyde joint fire board. When we tried to raise local issues on the board, we were told it was not the time or the place to do so.

David Rutley: SNP Members may justify their position, but what we are committed to doing for this country is to decentralise. It is vital that we do that, because it will give further power to local communities to come up

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with their own solutions on a broader scale. I think that there are lessons for Scotland to learn from that—that is my opinion.

It is fundamental that we do that, because it will encourage economic growth and ensure higher rates of productivity and exporting, and, indeed, success in innovation, which the hon. Member for Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey was so keen to stress. If we do that, it will help us move on from those reckless years of boom and bust delivered by the Labour party.

To unlock that local dynamism, we are advancing important initiatives, including local economic partnerships, city regions and—this has been vital in the Macclesfield area—strategic deals between city and county, such as that involving Alderley Park, to turn the tide in favour of civic renewal and increase the rates of growth and economic activity across the country.

That will build on what we have already done to achieve record levels of employment in this country, to reform welfare and make sure that work pays, and to incentivise tens of thousands of households to transform their lives. That is what we want to do—we want to help people to transform their lives and get on their own two feet.

The Government are committed to getting the balance right and to getting the job done. That is why we have set challenging targets on exports and raising productivity. We are doing all we can to promote entrepreneurialism and to lower the barriers that for too long have stood in the way of people who want to set up their own businesses and move on with their lives.

As I have said several times in this Chamber, I believe that economic success and growth rest on the four Es: entrepreneurs, employers, exporters and, of course, employees. They all need to be given the opportunity to succeed in the important work they do. In order to have the enterprising economy that we need, we have to help in particular those who are seeking to fulfil those activities and roles for the first time. We are making progress in that area. For example, the new enterprise allowance has enabled thousands of people who were previously unemployed to get on to the rewarding path of self-employment and enterprise. I am especially pleased that the Department has taken forward an initiative with Julie Deane, the founder of the Cambridge Satchel Company, to review how we can help the self-employed. The move to self-employment is an undeniable trend in our labour market and Conservative Members are committed to helping the self-employed.

My hon. Friend—my great friend—the Member for Bedford highlighted key community initiatives such as the business school in Bedford. We were lucky enough to be at business school together, where we learned much. Great lessons can be learned in the community and, through our Make it Macclesfield organisation, we are privileged to have Enterprising Macclesfield, a community-led initiative that involves local businesses working together to help more businesses to succeed and flourish, and to get the advice that they need to move forward. If we are to crack down on the blockages that have led to social immobility in this country for too long, we need to help people to establish themselves in first-time employment, or to become first-time employers or, importantly, first-time exporters.

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The hon. Member for Hartlepool (Mr Wright), the Chair of the BIS Committee, who is no longer in the Chamber, highlighted the deep cultural change that is required to get more businesses exporting. We are committed to addressing this deep-seated situation, which is why we have set such high targets. It is not always easy to get someone to do something for the first time, and those of us who have been involved in marketing know—I have first-hand experience—that that can be one of the hardest tasks. As we have heard, only one in five businesses exports anything, but the figure for Germany is one in four. We are behind countries such as Belgium and the Netherlands, so it is not just that we are being held back by Brussels bureaucracy, although that is the case too often, there are wider, deep-seated issues that we have to address. We therefore need to ensure that we get behind businesses and help them to learn how to crack new markets. We need to demystify the exports process, and that is a role not just for the Government, but for business.

There is no question but that we are playing our part by setting ambitious targets and taking the challenge of exports seriously. I welcome Lord Maude’s appointment to his key ministerial role because he has a great track record of taking forward a change agenda and getting the job done, which is exactly what we need for exports. The Treasury and BIS have taken great steps to de-risk the exports process. Last year, through UKTI’s exports work, more than 48,000 business were supported. The new first-time exporters initiative, which offers training and advice to businesses that really need it, will be vital in moving that work forward.

Export finance for smaller businesses has been improved and it is critical that we make it easier for businesses to pitch for high-value opportunities. UKTI should be providing not only information, but opportunities that businesses can hook into to ensure that UK plc has more success in export markets. I am pleased to note that UKTI has a new chief executive, Dr Catherine Raines, who is a neighbour of mine—I said that Macclesfield exports many good things. The focus on exports is improving significantly, and the “Exporting is GREAT” website identifies the good work that is done each day and provides the signposts that businesses need to succeed.

There is more that we need to do, however. People ask what we should do to help on exports, but the Prime Minister and the Chancellor are leading the way, not least through their trade missions to China. I am sure that my hon. Friend the Member for Gloucester (Richard Graham), the chair of the all-party group on China, welcomes—he will probably mention this in his speech—the phenomenal things that we are doing to make contacts, to help to add value and to win market share in countries that are sometimes difficult to get into. From a local perspective, I am very pleased to see the Chinese invest in Airport City Manchester. They have experience in that. When I went to China a couple of years ago, I found out that they had built 45 airports in the previous five years. They know what they are talking about and we can link in with not only their funding, but their experience.

Richard Graham (Gloucester) (Con): It may be useful for hon. Members, including those from the SNP, to be aware that many of those new airports in China were

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designed by a great British company, Arup, led by the head of its airport and aviation sector, who is a Scotsman based in Edinburgh.

David Rutley: I am pleased to hear it—good things come from Scotland, as well as from Macclesfield. When I was in China I met representatives from Arup, which is doing phenomenal work. Again, we are in a global economy and the interactions that we have with the Chinese are vital.

Trade shows cannot be just about having a shop-window. They are an opportunity to initiate contacts, enabling businesses to find a way to seal the deal. UKTI’s role has to be even more proactive in this arena and help roll out the red carpet for businesses that are taking those risky decisions to move into new markets. We cannot focus solely on traditional export markets such as north America and Europe, which has been all too comfortable for businesses in the UK since the second world war. I was massively disappointed a couple of years ago when I held a UKTI conference, which was incredibly well supported in north-east Cheshire. UKTI did a tremendous job, but I said, “Let’s bring along representatives from China and from India to support this.” UKTI would not do that. I asked why not, and it said, “Because the businesses are so focused on the US and Germany.”

We have to shake things up. Government have a role to play and business has a role to play as well so that we have the right focus on emerging markets, as well as traditional markets. We need a bit more of the buccaneering spirit that the Minister for Small Business, Industry and Enterprise has demonstrated in the Chamber today and throughout her ministerial career.

Like a falling tree, we might ask, “If help for businesses is available and only a few businesses hear about it, is it effective enough?” Communications do matter, not just Government-to-business communication, but business-to-business communication. We need a better way of communicating to businesses if we are to step up a gear and become better at exporting goods, just as we have shown the world that we can lead the way in exporting financial services. In services we have the leading role. That should point the way forward for the opportunity to export goods. Let us make sure that Ministers in BIS and across Government make an extra effort to get those banks that have been successful at exporting their services to help their customers in the UK become better exporters of goods. There is a leading role for those banks to play.

When we say that we need to do more, it is not just about what the Government do; it should include businesses as well. I know the Government have been doing a huge amount of work to encourage exports. We are leading the horses to water. I see prime-time TV ads promoting the benefits of exports. Those horses now need to drink and businesses need to take a lead in exporting.

We are a great trading nation, but we need to do more to reach our current export potential. By focusing on the needs of first-time exporters and spreading the lessons of our trading history across more businesses for a vibrant and noteworthy trading future, we can spread opportunity across the country and revitalise the old British trading spirit—can-do policies for a can-do generation in a can-do United Kingdom.

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4.53 pm

Hannah Bardell (Livingston) (SNP): It is a huge pleasure to speak in a debate that is of such great importance to SNP Members and to our SNP Government. I am sorry that the numbers on the Labour Benches are so deficient, but I pay tribute to those who have been present since the beginning, those good souls who have stuck with us.

It is always difficult at this stage of a debate to produce new ideas. I shall focus on productivity, innovation and investment in the context of inclusiveness and equality, which have not been mentioned much from the Government Benches. My hon. Friend the Member for Dundee East (Stewart Hosie) spoke passionately of the work that the SNP Government have done in this arena and of the importance of productivity and inclusive growth in closing the trade deficit, and I would like to expand on that. I will also highlight the importance of equality, diversity and inclusiveness in any nation’s drive to be productive and innovative and to encourage investment.

Nobel laureate Professor Joseph Stiglitz, who is part of Scotland’s fiscal commission working group under its chairman, Crawford Beveridge, has said that

“countries which are more unequal do not…grow as well and are less stable…A concentration of income restricts economic growth by limiting the potential of people to contribute productively. At the same time inequality may restrict government investment in infrastructure, education, and technology.”

He points out that since 1975 the income gap has grown faster in the UK than in any other developed country, stating:

“Such patterns of inequality will continue to have a negative impact on growth and prosperity over the long-term.”

If we want to make the UK and its nations an attractive place to invest in and to export from, we must have a stable and equal society. Yet all too often the policies pursued by this Government point in the opposite direction. In contrast, the Scottish Government, with much more limited powers, are developing a more egalitarian economic model. Professor Stiglitz has praised this model, saying:

“Tackling inequality is the foremost challenge that many governments face. Scotland’s Economic Strategy leads the way in identifying the challenges and provides a strong vision for change.”

Meantime, the Conservative Government are pursuing policies that attack our fundamental freedoms and civil liberties and risk widening the gap between rich and poor and the gender pay gap while, worst of all, marginalising the most in need. Those policies come in the form of the repeal of the Human Rights Act 1998, the anti-worker Trade Union Bill, and welfare cuts that take us back to a Dickensian era. Ultimately, the Government are balancing their books on the backs of the poor. If they are serious about boosting productivity, innovation and investment, they should not pursue policies that damage the very fabric of the society they seek to build and develop.

Huw Merriman (Bexhill and Battle) (Con): Could the hon. Lady assist me by telling me how creating 2 million new jobs can be marginalising those most in need?

Hannah Bardell: While we welcome the creation of any jobs, productivity is not just about paid employment—it is also about how people can contribute to society and what those from all sections of society can contribute, whatever their ability, race or gender.

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Investment in what has become known as our human capital and the engagement and happiness of our people should all be part of a rounded strategy. We must ensure that across the nations of the UK we can positively engage with our people, whatever their race, gender, sexuality or ability, in ensuring that they get the opportunity of good-quality, long-term sustainable employment and, with that, boost our productivity levels. We must operate in a society where inclusiveness and diversity are central.

I recently met members of the Scottish Centre for Voluntary Organisations who spoke of the work they are doing on how we look at employability and productivity. The SCVO has undertaken extensive work on taking a rounder view of the contribution that people can make to Scotland’s economy. It is exploring the notion that being productive is not just about being in full-time, well-paid employment but about what kind of contribution people across the social spectrum can make as volunteers, activists or carers, to name but a few examples.

I do not think we would find any disagreement across the House, or indeed in society, about the fact that not everyone can always be in full-time paid employment. Many women, in particular, will take a break from their careers to have children; men may take a break to share parental care; and many men, although generally more women, may have to take time out later in their careers to care for elderly parents or relatives. These breaks may result in a change of career direction, the setting up of one’s own business, or long-term care of a child or elderly parent. Whatever the case, these roles all play an important, and indeed productive, part in an inclusive society.

I reference the experience in my own family. When my sister-in-law returned to work after having her first child, she could not get the flexibility in her work that she would have liked. She set up her own photography business and decided to go full time with it. I am sure that we all have across our constituencies such cases of women—and men—starting their own businesses because they could not find the flexibility in the workforce that they would have liked.

For some women, these breaks or diversions in their working life can often have detrimental impacts on pay and progression. We have debated and discussed much in this House the reasons and remedies for the gender pay gap. In the UK, the gender employment gap is currently 10 percentage points, but I am pleased to say that the gender employment gap in Scotland has narrowed from 10.6 to 6.3 percentage points since 2007. That is evidence that a greater sense of equality, inclusiveness and egalitarian values are helping in many areas of Scottish society.

How we innovate—not only in technology, but in our workforce—is of critical importance if we are to drive up productivity. We must work hand in glove with businesses and create the circumstances in which they can flourish, innovate and develop. No Government or policy maker has a monopoly on wisdom or a silver bullet, but listening and engaging must be at the forefront of our minds as we set policy and create legislation.

Many Members have spoken about the oil and gas industry and the challenges that it currently faces. Before I came into politics, my last professional job was in the oil and gas sector in Aberdeen. As I have often done

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recently, I think today of my friends and former colleagues whose jobs are under threat or those who have already lost their jobs. I urge Members on both sides of the House to put aside politics, where appropriate, and look at constructive ways in which we can help the industry.

I learned a great deal in one of my roles working in an oil and gas company. It was partnered with a Scottish technological company, which was a spin-off from Heriot-Watt University. Its technology provided the intelligence for an autonomous underwater inspection vehicle, while the company I worked for provided the hardware and investment. To give the House a brief flavour of the technology’s potential use, there was a significant gas leak offshore while I was in that role. If that technology had been advanced enough, it could have been used to stop the leak much sooner. It was stopped only when it was finally safe for humans to go in and fix the issue manually.

It is some time since I left that role, but I recall that the Scottish tech company was acquired by an American firm shortly after my departure. Such tales are all too familiar across the UK. I am sure all involved felt that it was a positive move, but I would like to think our historical reputation in Scotland as a great nation of innovators means that our developing tech firms will not see acquisition by American firms as a trademark of success. I am sure we all hope that we can retain and develop as much home talent as possible. After all, in the words of American writer Arthur Herman, Scotland “invented the modern world”. From the television to the telephone, penicillin and even the overdraft, we are a proud nation of innovators. Every day, in labs, workshops, offices and classrooms, the imaginations of our young people, academics and entrepreneurs are innovating and designing products that may be tomorrow’s solution to some of our greatest challenges, so why can we not bridge the gap between ideas, academic excellence, innovation and productivity?

The world rankings for universities were released yesterday. With Scotland hosting three of the world’s leading universities and the UK overall hosting 18 of the world’s top 100 universities, we punch above our weight as a family of nations. Yet at a recent CBI round table discussion I attended, the issue of the day—why productivity was lagging—had many scratching their heads, given how well the UK does in academia. I suggest that financing, access to funds and this Government’s failure to listen on funding for innovation has something to do with the challenges that the UK faces.

We have discussed manufacturing and the need not only to continue to drive it, but to modernise. For the steel industry in particular, the Scottish Government have invested and done all they can to protect jobs in that sector. We hope that the UK Government will continue to push the EU on energy tariffs.

Carolyn Fairbairn, the director general of the CBI, has said that

“the shift from grants to loans for Innovate UK could dampen bold and game changing innovation, particularly amongst smaller businesses.”

In Scotland, we have the example of CodeClan, which is supported by the Scottish Government. It encourages young people or people retraining to come into the area of coding.

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In Scotland, output per hour has grown 4% since 2007, compared with zero growth in UK productivity during the same period. The result is that Scottish productivity has caught up significantly with UK levels, rising from 92% of the UK average in 2007 to 98% in 2013. These trends are encouraging, and the Scottish Government are committed to improving them further, with measures such as the living wage, the Scottish business pledge and more encouragement for businesses to focus on improving productivity.

We have many great examples of companies innovating and deploying their expertise in the UK or exporting across the globe, but we must sustain investment to encourage more to do so. Among such companies are Craneware in Edinburgh, which specialises in software for healthcare billing, and Waste Switch Ltd in my constituency, which is engineering and designing innovative waste management systems across the UK. We could all cite a raft of fantastic local and national success stories, but we must work together to ensure that we create the right policies and an environment in which businesses and people can innovate, export and boost productivity.

In her book, “Difference Works”, Caroline Turner argues that

“retention, productivity and profitability can be boosted through inclusion.”

Arianna Huffington, the founder of The Huffington Post, wrote compellingly in her book, “Thrive”, about the third metric and stated that redefining success was about:

“Creating a life of well-being, wisdom and wonder.”

I was particularly struck by her comments about the race to the bottom and the burn-out that are driven by male-dominated cultures, particularly in corporate business, which are about who can be in earliest and leave latest. It reminded me a little of this place.

If we are to succeed across the nations of the UK, we must put inclusive growth at the heart of our drive to innovate, be productive and narrow the widening export gap. Today, more than 100 disabled people will lobby Parliament about their concerns over the Welfare Reform and Work Bill, although I probably will not get there because I have been in the Chamber all day. Those people represent a very important section of society that contains unique perspectives, skills and talents. They may have a range of physical or other disabilities, but they are equal members of our society who can, and no doubt want, to play an active, engaged and productive role.

I feel passionately that whatever a person’s gender, race, sexuality or ability, they represent hope and opportunity in some form. Although some may not fit into this Government’s view of what productive work means or be able to tick a specific box, it does not mean that they cannot play an active and productive role. We must, across all party boundaries, work together to ensure that we have an inclusive society that gives everyone the opportunity to contribute and be productive.

Several hon. Members rose

Madam Deputy Speaker (Natascha Engel): Before I call the next speaker, I note that time is getting a bit tight. I will not put a time limit on, but if Members restrict themselves to 10 minutes, I will be able to get everybody in.

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5.6 pm

Jeremy Quin (Horsham) (Con): It is a pleasure to follow the hon. Member for Livingston (Hannah Bardell), with her list of Scottish innovations. I had no idea that the overdraft was developed in Scotland, but one learns something new every day. I do not know what that great Scottish innovative thinker, Adam Smith, would have thought of her speech, but it was interesting none the less.

It was interesting to hear the tour d’horizon of the proposer, the hon. Member for Dundee East (Stewart Hosie), setting out what he thought was the root of the problems identified in the motion. In response to my intervention, he said that our problems were 50 years in coming. To go through the problems of the last 50 years might be pushing it in a 10-minute speech or in the much shorter contribution that I intend to make, Madam Deputy Speaker, but it is worth touching on some of those issues.

Over the past 50 years, we have seen the decline of empire, on which my hon. Friend the Member for Spelthorne (Kwasi Kwarteng) is an expert. We have seen our entry into the European Union and the rise of China, India, South Korea and eastern Europe, to name but a few. Of course, those huge macro changes have had an enormous impact on our manufacturing base, the shape of our economy and the pattern of our imports and exports. At the same time, there has been a revolution in the service sector across the world and in technology—two things in which this country is at the absolute forefront.

In proposing the motion, the hon. Member for Dundee East said he would not deny the numbers, and I know he would not. He dwelt, understandably on the circumstances, on the manufacturing figures for the last quarter. They are not a happy set of figures, and no Conservative Member would suggest they were. Equally undeniable is the fact that over the last year our economy grew by nearly 3%, making us the fastest growing economy in the G7. This year, the OECD forecasts that our growth will equal that of America at 2.5%—again, the fastest rate of growth in the G7.

To build on that success and to grow exports and innovation, we need thriving small companies and, of course, investment. That is why I have no doubt that Members on both sides of the House will be delighted by the record of smaller business creation under this Government, particularly the 300,000 that were created in 2014 alone. I am sure that those on both sides of the House would also be delighted to recognise that, with the general election safely out of the way last summer and a new Government established, investment by business grew 7% in the third quarter of 2015, compared with the same quarter in the year before.

Equally, as a result of that general election we have one of the lowest rates of corporation tax in the OECD at 20%. That is down from 28% under the Labour Government, and it is falling still further. In response to the hon. Member for Hartlepool (Mr Wright) I recognise that that is only part of a package, but it is important for bringing foreign direct investment to our country, and the Government should be congratulated on that. Another part of that package is the benefits of being—according to the World Bank—the sixth best place to do business in the world.

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The motion addresses the rebalancing of the economy, and no one would underestimate the importance of manufacturing, or our disappointment with the recent figures to which the hon. Member for Dundee East referred. However, we can go to business districts in London, Manchester and Glasgow, and just in those areas we will find more tech start-ups than in the whole of some of our EU partner countries. The UK is rated second in the world for global innovation for a reason.

I commend and congratulate the Secretary of State on his paper, “Fixing the foundations”, which back in July tackled head on many of the issues raised in this debate. We have heard today that the paper was too short, but I do not think that British businesses want “War and Peace”; they want simple, workmanlike solutions, and that is what they are getting from the Government. I welcome the £7 billion of committed investment over the next five years in research infrastructure, the protected science budget, and the £14 billion benefit from R and D credits that is being provided to 14,000 companies. As the hon. Member for Dundee East was gracious enough to acknowledge, the £1.5 billion global challenge fund will also bring benefits. Those measures, combined with a Government who have a clear sense of economic purpose, imbed confidence.

One example of that confidence is found in my Horsham constituency, and I am delighted to announce the deal made last week between Novartis and the county council, and the creation of a new science park in the heart of our town.

On exports, the Government’s focus on the emerging markets is reaping dividends. Companies in my constituency say that a new generation of ambassadors is pushing our export drive. They have had that direct experience, and they are grateful for it.

The hon. Member for Hartlepool and my hon. Friend the Member for The Cotswolds (Geoffrey Clifton-Brown) referred to UKTI and said that we are not yet all the way there. I think that is recognised across the House, and I look forward to the report on UKTI that the Business, Innovation and Skills Committee will produce. I know that Ministers on the Treasury Bench, and Lord Maude, are at the forefront of ensuring that UKTI is working its hardest for our exporters. The level of that support is witnessed in what the Prime Minister and Chancellor have been doing on their visits abroad, and in the visits of the Prime Minister of India and the Chinese Premier. Above all, it is witnessed in the 68% increase in exports to China from this country since 2010.

On exports, I counsel some caution, as I did earlier in the debate, because—as the hon. Member for East Antrim (Sammy Wilson) eloquently put it—we have real problems in exporting at a point when our economy is booming in relative terms, and when an extra 2 million people are in work and spending money, yet our main trading partners on the other side of the channel have been in recession. That will inevitably cause problems for our export record.

The hon. Member for Sefton Central (Bill Esterson) referred to our productivity, and it will not have escaped his attention, or that of other Opposition Members, that what the Government have done to tame the excesses of the City, and the sad consequences of what has been going on in the North sea and with oil prices recently—the

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hon. Member for Aberdeen South (Callum McCaig) spoke eloquently about that—has of course impacted on two of our highest value sectors, and that in turn has impacted on our productivity statistics. Given those two existential impacts, I hope that the whole House will congratulate the Government on the conditions that they continue to create to allow UK plc in general, and particularly its many new small businesses, to be productive, to export, and to flourish.

5.14 pm

Sammy Wilson (East Antrim) (DUP): In any debate of this nature, there is always a tendency of Opposition Members emphasising the negatives. In her headbutt-the-Opposition-and-kick-them-when-they’re-down speech—I do not mean that as an insult; I am congratulating her, and I quite enjoyed it—the Minister emphasised that we should not talk the economy down. That is true. She highlighted, as many other hon. Members have, the very positive things that have happened: high growth, the creation of a lot of jobs and inflation under control. We should not knock the economy, but equally, I have to say, we should not be complacent about its performance. Some of the headline figures have been good, showing that the Government have achieved some success in their plan for the economy. Nevertheless, there are very worrying underlying trends, and the Opposition and the hon. Member for Dundee East (Stewart Hosie) are right to identify them.

First, we have a problem with our balance of payments. The hon. Member for Bedford (Richard Fuller) asked whether we should worry. Well, of course we should worry. If more money is being taken out of the economy as the result of a balance of payments deficit, that will be deflationary. As was pointed out, the difference has to be paid. The sale of assets or borrowing money from abroad has long-term consequences. If we are not exporting as much as we should, one measure that has been shown to improve the productivity performance of firms is exposure to foreign markets. Productivity and exports are therefore linked and we need to be concerned about them.

The fact that we have a huge deficit with the rest of the European Union answers those who say that, if we decide to leave, the EU would close the door on us. It could not afford to close the door on such a lucrative market as the United Kingdom. That is an important point to bear in mind in the wider debate about EU renegotiation.

Our export performance has been poor. Our productivity performance has been poor. Indeed, it has been described as abysmal. We have been meeting only a tenth of the long-term 2% trend in recent years. That in turn affects our competitiveness and the Government’s ability to bring in tax revenues, so productivity has an important role to play. The fact that we are one from the bottom of the seven major industrial nations in the world should cause us concern.

Another underlying trend we should worry about is the decline in our manufacturing. It is not enough to say the economy evolves and we are moving towards service industries, or that there is less of a distinction between service and manufacturing industries. Manufacturing is important. The Government, in their plan, accept that manufacturing is important. Yet we find that manufacturing output has actually fallen.

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Measured against the Government’s own criteria, this is another factor we cannot be complacent about.

Finally, as has been well documented in today’s debate, there is a dependence on consumer demand for growth. Even the Chancellor seems to have either ignored this or tried to play it down. Why we should be concerned about Government debt, which is 80% of GDP, yet have no concern about consumer debt, which is 145% of gross disposable income, is beyond me. If public sector debt is not a good basis for growth then private sector debt is not a good basis for growth either, unless of course we can say it is going into the kinds of areas that are productive and yield a high return. We cannot afford to be complacent, and it is wrong of Conservative Members to attack those who raise the issue today by saying they are somehow or other being disloyal or hurting the economy. We have to try to get these things in perspective, and although there have been successes, which I hope I have at least acknowledged, there is no cause for complacency.

Let me look at the issues that need to be addressed, the first of which is productivity. The Government’s seven-point plan in “Fixing the foundations” highlights a whole raft of issues. There will be an important role for the private sector in some of them—investment by the private sector and training workers—and the apprenticeship scheme is putting more and more emphasis on the private sector, but many of the measures listed will require public investment. We need to make a distinction when we talk about borrowing and Government spending. If public investment can yield a return, why is borrowing for that purpose a bad thing? Borrowing is not a bad thing for firms or households to do if it provides a return, so why should that kind of borrowing somehow be lumped with all general Government borrowing, so that the Government can say, “Look, we can’t afford to do it”? If it brings a return, it is important. Whether the Minister has admitted it or not, “Fixing the foundations” indicates that substantial public investment will be required to build up the infrastructure needed to increase productivity.

Increasing exports is the second issue. Ministers in the House of Lords have

“pledged to mobilise the whole of government behind exporting, working alongside a more effective UKTI and better export finance.”—[Official Report, House of Lords, 21 July 2015; Vol. 763, WA15.]

I wonder whether the Government have really lived up to that rhetoric. Yes, there are difficulties with Europe, but Europe is not the only market. Indeed, let us look at the growth in world trade. Why do we have such a small proportion of that additional trade? Firms would tell us one of the reasons for that. Eighty per cent of them do not export anyway, sometimes because of regulation. Some of it cannot be avoided if it is overseas, but some of it could be dealt with by changes here. The Government could make regulations on exporting goods less onerous.

How much do we use our network of embassies across the world when it comes to introductions to markets? There is a role for regional government to play in that. In Northern Ireland, our exports have gone up by 4% in the last year, but that has been the result of hard work by Invest NI, and there are lots of different ways of doing it. We now have the friends of Northern Ireland—expatriates and people who have studied in Northern Ireland and then gone back home—to look at

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contacts in markets that we want to target. Can we use that network on a more UK-wide basis? Do we make full use of the contacts that our embassies have? I know that trade missions from Northern Ireland have sometimes found embassies to be less than helpful. How can we take those initial steps? Many firms will say that they need to go out to a market two or three times before they start making contacts, which is expensive, especially for small and medium enterprises. What help can be given with that?

The last issue is boosting manufacturing industry. A number of contributions today have highlighted the issue of energy costs. The steel industry is only one example, and in Northern Ireland recently we have lost a lot of jobs from huge employers who cited energy costs as one of the main reasons. There appears to be a schizophrenic attitude, even from the Government. Although they are removing subsidies from the most expensive form of electricity generation, even today at Question Time the Prime Minister, while on the one hand saying it was more expensive to produce green energy, boasted about the amount of green energy in the pipeline that would be introduced in future. If that is the aim, let us be honest: we will find that we make it difficult for some kinds of manufacturers. It is significant than onshoring in the US has occurred as energy prices have come down. That is a lesson for us.

I shall try to abide by your ruling, Madam Deputy Speaker. I have had my 10 minutes. I trust that the Government will take this debate seriously. I accept that there is a role for regional government to play in Northern Ireland. We are reducing corporation tax, for example, and we believe that the devolution of air passenger duty for long-haul routes has been important in extending our ability to attract inward investment and bring inward investors into Northern Ireland by reducing the cost of travel. We have undertaken some other measures, but only the central Government can deal with the national measures that are beyond our control.

5.25 pm

Richard Graham (Gloucester) (Con): It is a pleasure to follow the hon. Member for East Antrim (Sammy Wilson), with his enthusiasm for what can be done to help boost exports and growth in Northern Ireland. In declaring an interest as the Prime Minister’s trade envoy for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations in Indonesia, I welcome this Opposition day debate. It focuses on important issues such as the balance of our economy, our export and productivity challenges and the financing of business research and development. These are important, although sadly not important enough to attract more than five Labour Members, but I should highlight the presence of both the hon. Members for Hartlepool (Mr Wright) and for West Bromwich West (Mr Bailey)—former and current Chairmen of the Select Committee on Business, Innovation and Skills, and now lonely champions of business in a party more committed to strikes and reshuffles than innovation and exports.

The hon. Member for Dundee East (Stewart Hosie) led us off on today’s debate. Although he made some interesting points, his speech was overshadowed by what I can describe only as an overwhelming gloom or an extended rendering of the lament from Private Frazer in Dad’s Army—“We’re all doomed”. I waited, pen

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poised, to hear some of his proposals to lift us from this gloom. The UK economy, he said, should have more manufacturing. I agree—we all do—as it halved under Labour and is still recovering, but no suggestions came. He highlighted the UK’s relatively weak productivity, but offered no solutions. We await the BIS paper and Select Committee recommendations. He felt that there might be a deterioration of business R and D funding, but he gave no recognition of the importance of the R and D allowances, the capital allowances and, indeed, the explosion of venture capital funding for smaller companies. We know the answer, alas, from the hon. Member for Dundee East—“We’re still all doomed.”

Today, I want to try to offer some shafts of light amidst the encircling gloom. Here I have to disagree slightly with the fellow Eeyore of the hon. Member for Dundee East on the Labour Benches—the hon. Member for Sefton Central (Bill Esterson). He suggested that Britain’s rise to head the G7 growth table within a few years of the great recession was inevitable. I do not believe that any recovery is inevitable, and certainly not one that generates more jobs than the other 27 countries of the European Union put together. Both are driven by a determined partnership between Government and business, with MPs across the House playing our part by hosting jobs fairs, hiring apprentices and helping businesses to export.

Let me say a few words about Gloucester, where I hosted in 2011 the first constituency and county-based China seminar with the China-Britain Business Council. I shall mention some of the manufacturing products that we export from Gloucester to bring some cheer to the SNP Benches about the state of our manufacturing. We export cylinders that are in every Dyson vacuum cleaner across the world. We export giant valves into the oil and gas sector, and we export dental drills predominantly to China and America. Both those companies are almost 100% exporting. We export gantrails for container ports and marine diesel engines for customs and other marine boats. We even make shirts, which are sold both directly from the factories in Gloucester or via Jermyn Street in London. We have a series of manufacturers who are subcontractors in the world of aerospace, especially to Airbus, with the landing gear for every Airbus, several Boeings and every Eurofighter made just outside Gloucester.

It is true that we have not yet sold our “made in Gloucester” cricket bats to China. I am working on that, but what I can confirm is that our “Gloucesterpreneurs” have sold flavoured tea back to China. This is part of an overall UK growth in exports to China and Asia, now generating more than £500 billion of exports a year—up some £80 billion since 2010. I pay tribute to Ministers, and to UKTI. They have added to resources in China, although I would add that some modest rebalancing towards south-east Asia would be very welcome.

There is always more to be done in relation to exports and growth. As the hon. Member for East Antrim said, we cannot and should not over-egg the current situation. Here are a few suggestions.

First, we need a restructuring of UKTI resources to focus on where value can be most added. I believe that that is happening as we speak, and I believe that value is best added not by the writing of otiose reports, but by a serious, customer relationship-driven approach.

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Secondly, we need additional trade envoys for markets where nothing is easy but everything is possible, and doors need to be opened by representatives of the Prime Minister. The model is proven, and it provides continuity with Governments overseas.

Thirdly, we need to focus on the industries of the future. The honourable exception to the tale of gloom on the SNP Benches was provided by the hon. Member for Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey (Drew Hendry), who did say a little about that subject. We should be focusing on creative media, cyber, FinTech, aerospace and marine technology, as well as on some of the current great exports, which, by the way, include education.

Fourthly, we need closer relationships with universities, not just because of their export potential—important though that is—but because of their research output. For example, Bristol University’s research produced the wonderful electronic and driverless robot “pods” that deliver some people to their flights at Heathrow’s terminal 5 from the car park.

Finally, we need greater use of technology to capture the success of our SME exporters, and to communicate it remotely via film to seminars as far away as Portaferry, Pembroke, Plymouth or Perth.

What cannot be doubted, however, is the Government’s commitment to business and exports, led by the Prime Minister himself—as my hon. Friend the Member for Macclesfield (David Rutley) rightly pointed out—and by successive Trade Ministers. That commitment can be seen in the expansion of the capital that is available from UK Export Finance, the reduction in red tape and corporate tax, and the increase in the allowances to which I have referred, as well as in new sector-specific funds such as the skills investment fund and the video games prototype fund. It can be seen in the patent box, the new investment allowance which is so important to the oil and gas sector in Scotland, and—last but by no means least—the creation of the GREAT campaign from No. 10 itself. I believe that its creator was awarded the OBE in the new year’s honours, and rightly so.

All that makes for a strongly export and growth-focused Government, but there is another aspect of UKTI’s work that has not yet been mentioned: inward investment. Given our mountains of inherited debt, we need others to finance our infrastructure growth, and we have been successful in almost doubling foreign direct investment in the last five years. Why, and how, does that boost UK manufacturing? The question was raised earlier by the hon. Member for East Lothian (George Kerevan), and the answer is that so much of the design, construction, servicing and operation of the new Hinkley Point power station will be provided by British companies and British expertise.

While those figures do nothing for our exports in themselves, they boost our manufacturing and our growth. The same will be true of Crossrail, HS2, and other key infrastructure projects. They also act as a catalyst for the growth in our services, which are the one part of our exports that is growing sharply, and which play a key role in our overall growth.

Another aspect that has been missing from the debate so far is the impact of tourism to Britain, driven by our heritage and boosted by important incentives for film makers and those in the creative arts—some of which,

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incidentally, were introduced by the current Secretary of State when he was Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport. Tourism follows another great success: our bids to host great sporting events. The Labour party can take pride in the successful bid for the 2012 Olympics as well. I have first-hand experience, from the great Rugby world cup of 2015 and the impact of the games at Kingsholm on the city of Gloucester. I pay tribute to the role of the captain of the Scottish rugby team, Greig Laidlaw, who is Gloucester’s scrum half. The athletics championships are coming soon, and Scotland itself will surely remember—this is, after all, an SNP-driven motion—the importance of those great sporting events from the Commonwealth games in Glasgow, which took place only about 18 months ago.

This is a Government who are trying to do their bit for growth in a series of different ways, which brings me to my last point about Scotland. In the 18th century, when Scotland joined England in what has arguably been the world’s most successful union, the land of my ancestors was full of entrepreneurs. They exported not just products but themselves, all around the world. They set up what is still the largest non-Government employer in Hong Kong, Jardine Matheson, started a still-flourishing tea business in Bangladesh and Kenya, Finlays now owned by Swire, created teak merchants in Burma, railroads in Canada and helped Raffles himself establish Singapore, and much more besides. My ancestors exported themselves to Northern Ireland and helped create the linen business over there.

My point about these great Scotsmen is that they did not advocate a welfare state or an ever-increasing role for the Government or belong to the International Marxist Group like the hon. Member for East Lothian; they were innovative and they got on with the business of business. So where are they today? The two giant Scottish banks crashed, oil and gas is struggling, nuclear defence is disdained. It is time for the SNP to get behind the new entrepreneurs and increase Scotland’s share of UK exports, which is currently 7%, slightly less than that of the east midlands. I believe the land of my ancestors can punch significantly better than that.

The UK is here to help. UKTI has offices in 200 countries abroad and in 2013-14 helped 2,300 Scottish companies to export, and all of us involved in exporting are ready to help. I have twice spoken to groups of businesses and universities in Edinburgh and I will happily come up again, and I know my right hon. Friend the Minister will do her bit, too.

Chris Stephens (Glasgow South West) (SNP): The hon. Gentleman mentioned the Commonwealth games and I was curious about that. Can he tell me how much money the UK Government put into the Glasgow Commonwealth games?

Richard Graham: The hon. Gentleman and his colleagues will know the answer to that question better than me, but I think he will find that the expertise involved in setting up the Commonwealth games largely came from the 2012 Olympics held in London, so it was a perfect example of how the UK can work together for the greater good of everyone, including Scotland.

Hannah Bardell: I am sure the hon. Gentleman would not seek to mislead the House, so let him answer the question my colleague asked: the answer is zero. In

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terms of the Olympics, Scotland—along with many other parts of the UK—had its lottery funding sucked away into that project and did not for quite a considerable period of time get the returns it was promised.

Richard Graham: The hon. Lady, of whom I am a great fan, risks sounding as if she is carping on the issue of the Commonwealth games. I did make the point that that was a really good example of working together. [Interruption.] She will know of the input from all the people who made such a success of the Olympics. [Interruption.]

So let me now to the final bit of my speech—despite the chuntering of the right hon. Member for Gordon (Alex Salmond), who is welcome to intervene if he wishes. [Interruption.] He is still chuntering; we still do not know if he wishes to intervene. He has his chance. [Interruption.] An hon. Member says he is not allowed to speak from the Bench he is currently occupying; well, there we have it—we will keep his chuntering for another day.

We can surely all agree today that there is a great deal more to be done. I hope the report from Business, Innovation and Skills Committee and Education Committee will contain helpful recommendations to Government, and I know the Ministers are working on their own productivity plan. I hope the Government will take note of the suggestions made both by my neighbour my hon. Friend the Member for The Cotswolds (Geoffrey Clifton-Brown) and me.

Sadly, I have not heard many positive ideas from the SNP Benches, with the honourable exception of the hon. Member for Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey, as I mentioned earlier. I do believe that Scotland needs to rediscover her entrepreneurial spirit, and find more Tiggers and fewer Eeyores to promote business, and I am sure the hon. Members for Livingston (Hannah Bardell) and for Ochil and South Perthshire (Ms Ahmed-Sheikh) can do this and get that brave heart playing its full role in the revival of the growth of the UK, with a drive for all of us to increase our exports and our inward investment.

5.38 pm

Mr Adrian Bailey (West Bromwich West) (Lab/Co-op): It is a pleasure to follow the hon. Member for Gloucester (Richard Graham), not least because I am an expatriate Gloucestershire person myself—and I have to say my late father made a significant contribution to the Gloucestershire economy near to him as a former aircraft fitter with Gloster Aircraft Company and more lately with Dowty company.

I do not have a lot in common with the hon. Member for Dundee East (Stewart Hosie), but I did mean to start my speech with the very quote he started his with. One part is worth repeating because it sums up the issue. The Chancellor, in his Budget of March 1911—I mean 2011; it is just me who’s old, not the Chancellor—said:

“We are only going to raise the living standards of families if we have an economy that can compete in the modern age.”—[Official Report, 23 March 2011; Vol. 525, c. 966.]

Our export performance and balance of payments figures are perhaps the most accurate measurements of how effectively we are competing in the modern age, and on that basis the Government have done very badly indeed.

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That is partly as a result of problems that are long standing. I do not pretend that they all started with this Government, but some of the better things they have done did not start with them, but have built on foundations laid by the previous Labour Government. However, the Chancellor said that in pursuit of their objectives they would secure £1 trillion of exports by 2020; rebalance the economy away from the service sector towards manufacturing; ensure that economic growth was no longer fuelled by consumer demand based on unsecured credit but the outcome of rising real wages; and rebalance the economy away from London and the south-east to the regions. Those are all hollow words.

David Rutley: I recognise the hon. Gentleman’s expertise and the important work he did in the previous Parliament, particularly on life sciences, as Chair of the Business, Innovation and Skills Committee, but before he turns into an Eeyore, which I know he is not, will he not acknowledge—this is something he actively supported in the last Parliament—that life sciences are moving forward, including, notably, in Macclesfield, where the AstraZeneca site accounts for 1% of all UK goods exported?

Mr Bailey: If the hon. Gentleman will be patient, I will mention some of the things I think require recognition.

The triumphalism and overstatement of the Government’s so-called economic successes mask the sheer scale of the problem and leave us in danger of understating the change in Government policy necessary to address those problems. It is no consolation to be given a diatribe on increased employment and so on, when we have companies desperately seeking investment to invest and grow and workers on zero-hours contracts and when millions have seen their real wages reduce over the past five or six years. Ultimately, this all stems from our lack of productivity and weak exporting performance.

The 2008 recession was a serious one, but the Government do not mention, of course, that it has taken far longer for this economy to come out of it than any other comparable economy and that, most unusually, productivity has failed to increase, as it normally does when an economy comes out of recession. It has also failed to increase in comparison with other economies. Figures from the Office for National Statistics show that in 2014 output per hour worked was 21% lower than the G7 average. The reasons are not simple, but one main reason is that the primary driver of productivity is manufacturing, and our manufacturing output has stagnated over the last five or six years, despite the Chancellor’s claim to be backing the march of the makers.

In response to the intervention by the hon. Member for Macclesfield (David Rutley), I would emphasise that we have world-class manufacturing companies in automotive, defence, civil aviation, biosciences and so on. I often feel that the argument about services versus manufacturing is an artificial one: both are important. When we say that we no longer manufacture, what we are really saying is that manufacturing no longer occupies such a high proportion of our national output as do the service industries, but manufacturing is still vital to the jobs of millions of people in this country and above all to our productivity and export levels.

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Kelvin Hopkins (Luton North) (Lab): I appreciate what my hon. Friend is saying, but does he agree that a factor in low productivity growth is low wages? Companies will invest in capital investment if they have to pay high wages, and low wages and low productivity go hand in hand.

Mr Bailey: I certainly do agree with my hon. Friend. The Government’s original optimistic projections were based on totally unrealistic assessments of their ability to invest and export.

In the limited time available to me, I would like to mention some areas that the Government should look at in order to improve productivity. The three areas that are crucial to productivity are investment, skills and infrastructure. On investment, despite the Government’s best efforts to encourage banks to lend to small businesses, there is still a problem. Even projects such as Project Merlin have failed to address the scale of the needs of small businesses. The Government also need to look at the wider issue. We have heard a lot in this debate about long-termism. We have a financial services market that is geared to short-termism rather than to backing industry. When my own Committee looked into the Kay proposals for changing that situation, we detected no enthusiasm on the part of the Government to adopt them. One thing the Government could do to change this culture is to look at our financial services industry.

It is ironic that a Government wedded to a free-market capitalist economic model have had to resort to asking a communist state-interventionist country to provide the necessary investment for our energy infrastructure. On business support, we heard earlier about the closure of the Business Growth Service, which had been of enormous benefit to small businesses. Its closure is not only a great loss to small businesses; it also sends the wrong signal about the Government’s support and appreciation of them.

On the tax regime, I have heard a lot about corporation tax. Yes, it is part of the mix that is necessary to attract foreign direct investment, but in order to encourage investment by companies that are already here, we need to do something about business tax. We have an absurd position in this country wherein we offer tax breaks for capital investment but when a company invests in new capital, it finds that its business rates promptly go up as a result. There is obvious incoherence and inconsistency, and they are a major deterrent to the investment that is needed to drive up our productivity performance.

On skills, I recognise that the Government are anxious to promote apprenticeships. They are saying all the right things about boosting apprenticeships, but the reality is that in those areas where the shortage is greatest, such as engineering and manufacturing, and where there is the greatest dividend in terms of productivity and export potential, there is still an acute shortage in apprenticeship recruitment. That cannot be cured simply by putting apprentices on courses. It has to come from a change in culture in our education system that makes schools recognise the importance of getting young people into vocational education. That can be done by the Government ensuring that schools have to liaise with local businesses and have to measure where their students go in vocational training, as well measuring their exam results and university entrance. I say again that an incoherence in the Government’s

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performance is the cut in further education funding, as that is potentially the greatest provider of vocational education.

I am running out of time, so I will just quickly make a comment on infrastructure, which others have mentioned. Any regional economy will tell us that a lack of transport infrastructure is a major handicap for local businesses, and some 62% of businesses complain about this issue. Capital spending on infrastructure has been halved in the past five or six years, and that has to be addressed. The Government have not got this prioritised correctly.

Let me finish by saying that I have highlighted some of the issues we face, many of which need to be prioritised by Departments other than the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills. The cuts in BIS are a clear indication that this Government do not recognise the importance of an industrial strategy, and of having a Department that has the capacity to lead it and to make other Departments work towards the business priorities that are necessary and that are outlined by BIS.

Rebecca Pow (Taunton Deane) (Con): I must take issue with the hon. Gentleman, as my constituency has recently had a massive infrastructure investment in its roads and railway stations. That is paving the way for a new strategic employment site, which will open up the opportunity for thousands of jobs, all of which is helping the economy and our productivity. I am sorry but I disagree with very much of what he is saying.

Mr Bailey: The hon. Lady is quite at liberty to do so. I welcome the investment in Taunton, but I would welcome that investment even more if we could have it in the black country, which is the heart of British manufacturing. Let me conclude by saying that we need a strong Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, we need an industrial policy and we need other Departments signed up to the priorities that will ultimately deliver on our exports and on our productivity, and that will get the tax revenues, which will enable those Departments to invest in their particular priorities. That is not happening at the moment.

5.52 pm

Lucy Frazer (South East Cambridgeshire) (Con): The motion suggests that there is a lack of a long-term plan to improve productivity and it is also critical of the Government’s approach to innovation. The motion is not only inaccurate, but unnecessarily pessimistic and bleak. Like the hon. Member for East Antrim (Sammy Wilson), I think it is important to celebrate what is good.

The hon. Member for Dundee East (Stewart Hosie) stressed the importance of innovation, and we ought to recognise the great work we are doing in Britain at the moment in science and technology. The UK is ranked fourth in the business world for business and university collaboration; it attracts more research and development funding from abroad than Finland, Russia, Canada, Japan and China combined; and the UK produces 16% of the top-quality published research findings with less than 1% of the world’s population. The Government are ensuring that we maintain this position by investing almost £7 billion in UK research infrastructure up to 2021.

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I represent an area at the forefront of technology and innovation. The east of England is one of the highest investors in R and D across the UK. We have companies such as ARM, which creates the processors found in most mobile phones across the world and which in its short 26-year history has joined the FTSE 100. We have more than 100 businesses at the Cambridge science park, providing more than 500 jobs, developing our science and technology. Having spoken to many of those businesses, it is clear to me that what we need to do to continue this great work is to be constantly more ambitious and to invest in our human capital. It is fundamental that we teach children in schools the right skills, and I am delighted that we now have a commitment from the Chancellor to a fairer funding deal.

It is disappointing that, in an area of academic excellence so close to Cambridge University where we have the potential for world-class education, we have not as yet had a fairer funding arrangement. However, I am delighted that this Government have committed to creating 17,500 more teaching posts in science, technology, engineering and maths. We must ensure that our teaching is inspiring students as young as seven and eight, because research has shown that that is the age at which children decide whether technology and science are for them. We also need to ensure that, once inspired, there is advanced technical education that will enable students to have the much-needed and sought after skills for their employment.

I welcome developments such as the University Technical College Cambridge and I applaud Anglia Ruskin University for teaching an international trade two-year course. Recognised as the first of its kind, the course was developed in partnership with the Institute of Export and is taught online by university tutors and international trade experts. We need to encourage our students to learn not just technical expertise, but languages, including Mandarin. In 1990, only 500 students were studying Mandarin. That number has now grown to about 3,000, though, recently, the numbers studying Mandarin have fallen. If we are to continue to increase our exports, we need that trend to change.

I applaud the work of this Government and of our regions in encouraging innovation and enterprise, but, at the same time, emphasise that what we need to do is to continue to offer support to maximise the potential of our workforce. We need to give people the skills that they need to thrive as individuals and to ensure that productivity in the UK grows. Since 2010, we have increased exports to China by 72%. By continuing to upskill our workforce, we will ensure not only that that figure goes up, but that our exports go up elsewhere, allowing the UK economy to continue to grow and to maintain its position as the fastest growing economy in the G7.

5.56 pm

Roger Mullin (Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath) (SNP): It is a great pleasure to speak with you in the Chair, Madam Deputy Speaker. I am also delighted to follow the thoughtful speeches of so many Members from all parts of the House. Indeed, it has been a very fine debate, and I thank my hon. Friend the Member for Dundee East (Stewart Hosie) for securing it. Some matters have been quite enjoyable as well as enlightening. I am sorry that the hon. Member for Spelthorne (Kwasi Kwarteng) is not in his place, because I particularly

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enjoyed the part of his speech when he was berating our Members for harking back as far as the 1960s, and then immediately moved forward to quote Adam Smith from the 18th century. It was a remarkably fine performance.

The hon. Lady for South Cambridgeshire—

Lucy Frazer: South East Cambridgeshire.

Roger Mullin: Is it close? [Laughter.]

The hon. Lady opened her speech by mentioning the hon. Member for East Antrim (Sammy Wilson) who is also not in his place. I was going to compliment him, because what he brought to this debate was a recognition that criticism is not always a negative thing; indeed, it can be helpful. When he said that, I immediately thought of an old teacher of mine, Professor Tom Burns, who, in the 1960s, along with his colleague Graham Stalker, wrote the famous book, “The Management of Innovation”. In it, he pointed to several factors that are essential for the development of innovation, some of which are extraordinarily pertinent to this debate. For example, one was that there are two types of ideas that we need to mobilise—creative ideas and critical analytical ideas. It is the forging together of those two types of ideas that becomes very important. He also said that one of the fundamentals in driving the rise of the industrial revolution was the creation not only of those types of ideas, but of the means of disseminating the ideas. That was fundamental. We saw it in Scotland with the sharing of ideas, flowing as they did from Edinburgh to Glasgow and Glasgow to Edinburgh. It seems a small thing to say in the modern era, but at that time it was fundamental to getting the sharing of ideas going.

To move on from my teachers, a few years ago I attended a fascinating lecture by Professor Tom Stonier. He pointed out that more people worked in pure research in the last 25 years of the 20th century than did so in the entire pre-history of the world. Let us think about that for a moment—there has been huge growth in the number of people undertaking research. If we combine that with the growth in new technology, such as IT and computing power—whereby an Einstein no longer needs to take years to work out his equations by longhand, and ideas can be processed so quickly—we will see that they are fuelling huge growth in innovation throughout the world.

I shall not dwell, as the hon. Member for Gloucester (Richard Graham) likes to do, on doom and gloom, but I shall point out some of the challenges we face. On the growth in the rate of research and the ideas coming into our world, the countries that will remain in front will be those that can capture and develop those ideas, put them into play and own them for themselves. That is the key challenge, which is why I am worried about recent trends in the UK.

Some days ago, the Chancellor of the Exchequer rightly pointed to a “cocktail of dangers” in the global economy. One of the dangers is that we are not investing enough in the type of research and development and innovation needed to keep us at the forefront. My hon. Friend the Member for East Lothian (George Kerevan) pointed out in his fine contribution that this country has a problem of a lack of long-term investment in business. That is true of many sectors, and part of the

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problem is that, compared with some of our major competitors, we are generating less investment from the business sector than we did in the past.

I am delighted that the Minister for Universities and Science, whom I met in a previous Westminster Hall debate about science, will sum up for the Government this evening. In 2010, the previous Government froze the science budget for five years, which meant a 10% cut in real terms, at a time when it was already at a modest level compared with those of our major G8 comparators. In 2012, UK public investment in science fell to less than 0.5% of GDP. As my hon. Friend the Member for Glasgow North West (Carol Monaghan) pointed out in the debate at which the Minister was present, that is a lower rate than any G8 country has invested in the preceding 20 years. The G8 average is now about 0.8%, compared with the UK’s 0.44%.

If we look at broader measures of research and development, we see that a generation ago the UK was one of the most research-intensive economies in the world—and didn’t we benefit from that? Now, however, as with science, we are one of the least research-intensive economies. My late brother was at one time chair of the OECD committee on science and technology policy, and in recent years, before his sad passing, we would regularly discuss the failure of the UK—and his homeland of Scotland—to keep up. In terms of broad research and development measures, we have slipped from leading the OECD countries in 1979 to trailing behind all our major competitors. The US invests 2.8% of its GDP in all forms of research and development. On average, the OECD and EU countries invest 2.4% of their GDP, but the UK now spends only about 1.7% of its GDP on research and development. That is not going to keep us at the forefront or allow us to face some of the challenges and competition of the future. The hon. Member for East Gloucestershire—

Richard Graham: Gloucester.

Roger Mullin: Apologies again; I am quite happy about apologising to the House.

The hon. Member for Gloucester pointed out several of the challenges that he felt we faced, but I want to suggest several things that could be done, given that he berated us for not coming up with ideas. If he gives me a few moments, I shall suggest a number of points that I would like the Government to address.

I am especially interested in how some of the Government’s decisions on this front do them no good, because this is about not just funding, but strategic choice. When faced with an opportunity to be a world leader in the development of carbon capture, it is just insane to pull the rug on that if the Government are trying to say that we want to ensure that we are at the forefront of such development. Several Members may have received emails from one of my constituents—he emails many people, and he recently wrote to the Prime Minister—about smart meter technology. When I spoke to him, he echoed what others have said about our technological choices, including on smart meters. He wondered why we were not investing in the most up-to-date technologies to ensure that they are the very best to meet the country’s needs, rather than going for what seems to be good enough at the moment.

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Recent work, most notably by Dr Stephen Watson of Glasgow University, has pointed out the huge importance of infrastructure spend to the Government’s investment in science, and research and development. Our universities in Scotland punch well above their weight in attracting funds from the research councils, but we do poorly compared with elsewhere in the UK, especially the golden triangle of Oxford, Cambridge and London, in attracting UK Government infrastructure spend on research and development, which is fundamental to the future of a healthy research and development community. We need to map out such investment much more, both thematically and territorially, although that has never been done by any Government.

Let me give hon. Members an example of the problem, although I will speak about something that the Government are doing that is good, not bad. I applaud the way in which they have invested large sums to create the Francis Crick Institute, the biomedical research centre in the heart of London that is a consortium of three London universities—Imperial College, University College and King’s College. It is funded by the Medical Research Council and bodies such as the Wellcome Trust. Its initial investment was £650 million and the operating budget is £130 million a year. On one level, this is to be applauded, but is it not strange that Dundee University, in the city of my hon. Friends the Members for Dundee East and for Dundee West (Chris Law), is the world leader in biomedical research, yet is not part of the Crick Institute? Indeed, no one in the north of England is part of the institute. My first suggestion to the Government is that when they consider infrastructure spend for research and development, they would do well to think about the distribution of such investment throughout the whole UK.

Simon Hoare (North Dorset) (Con): I understand what the hon. Gentleman says, but would it make sense and would it produce as much bang for the Government’s buck, if that is not an unparliamentary phrase? Would it not be better to have geographical centres of excellence specialising in various things, rather than dotting institutions around the UK to meet some sort of regional agenda?

Roger Mullin: One alternative would be to base the centre in Dundee. That would solve the hon. Gentleman’s problem.

In addition to university research, there is business research. The need to encourage business investment has been mentioned, particularly in manufacturing, where we have fallen behind. I mentioned earlier the UK spend on research and development at 1.7% of GDP. We all know our manufacturing sector faces some real challenges. North Korea’s manufacturing sector is doing pretty well by comparison with many countries in the world. Its GDP spend is 4%. [Hon. Members: “North Korea?”] Sorry, South Korea.

Rebecca Pow: I am interested in what the hon. Gentleman is saying. The Government are offering many budgets and grants and I will highlight one, which is the agri-tech budget. That is seedcorn money for linking agricultural projects with business. In my constituency, for example, we have a wonderful clothmaker, Fox Brothers, which has received money to do research with the local agricultural college to come up with the right wool on the right

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sheep to produce beautiful clothes. That will help business, and perhaps the Scottish might learn from it, as I know they also have a lot of sheep.

Roger Mullin: I thank the hon. Lady for that.

I am not denying—nobody could accuse me of doing so—that the UK Government have been spending on research and development. My argument is that given the future challenges that we face, we are potentially lagging behind nations that will be our major competitors in the future. I am not denying what the hon. Lady says.

Earlier I gave the Minister an incomplete quote from the Medical Research Council on the problem of moving from grants to loans. The full quote is:

“Converting grants to loans may mean that existing schemes such as the Biomedical Catalyst—which has been well received in the sector, supporting 180 business-led research projects and leveraging over £100 million in private match-funding over the course of three years—may not continue in their existing form.”

We have real challenges that need to be faced.

6.12 pm

Huw Merriman (Bexhill and Battle) (Con): This being a debate on productivity, may I be innovative by delivering my output in less than the 10 minutes you, Madam Deputy Speaker, have given me?

I congratulate the SNP on the choice of debate. I have learned much—for example, from the hon. Member for Livingston (Hannah Bardell), that the overdraft was created in Scotland. That could be the death knell of a thousand jokes referring to the frugal habits of the Scottish people.

I am disappointed, however, by the motion’s negativity about the UK’s trade and export performance. Between 2009 and 2012, the UK’s exports increased by 23%, despite the global recession making it a horrible time for world trade. These results have been delivered through the Government targeting exports to new growth markets such as China, Brazil, Russia and India, where the British kitemark for quality is recognised and revered. The Prime Minister and other Ministers have made export trips across the globe with businesses from UK plc. That shows the commitment of this Government to trade and exports across the globe. I welcome the ambitious target from my Government of doubling the UK’s exports to £1 trillion by 2020. This will require an extra 100,000 companies to be exporting by 2020.

This having been a five-hour debate, I will avoid repetition by referring to what we have done in my constituency to advance a new product that we hope will be the poster child of exciting new export growth. Within these shores, we produce one of the great liquor exports—a drink that puts colour in the cheeks and rings on fingers, and is toasted across the world. I refer of course to English sparkling wine. The English sparkling wine industry is growing rapidly, making £78 million in 2014 and £100 million in 2015. There are now 470 registered vineyards in England and Wales. In 2014, we produced 6.3 million bottles of sparkling wine—an increase of 42% on the previous year.

Plans are currently in place to register the name “Sussex” as a kitemark brand to compete with champagne across the world. In blind tastings we are beating the great champagne houses at their own game. We would not find the French Government hosting an export

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reception in Spain and pouring cava, but that is what the UK has previously done in its embassies across the world. I am pleased that under this Government that attitude has changed. Our Government and our embassies are now promoting English sparkling wine as well as other food and drink produce from across the UK.

By reducing corporation tax, setting a permanent investment allowance and providing a research and development tax credit scheme, this Government are allowing businesses such as the wine sector to invest, innovate, export, and grow.

Rebecca Pow: Might my hon. Friend make reference to the Great British food unit that the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs is setting up and our long-term plan for promoting British food abroad? That has already made great strides, with chicken legs going to China and pigs’ trotters following, and I have to mention cider from Taunton Deane. There is so much scope to what he is discussing, and perhaps he could include a bit more of it.

Huw Merriman: I thank my hon. Friend for placing that point on the record. I am very happy to be the market trader for every single constituency food and drink product, but perhaps I should move on because time does not allow.

I welcome any debate that allows the House to consider how we can make UK pic more productive. I also welcome the Minister’s recognition that UK productivity needs to be enhanced. I take the firm view that a Government who recognise that more has to be done will be a Government who deliver on that front. The UK’s productivity is—to coin an unfortunate phrase, currently, in my vocabulary—our Achilles heel. I welcome the Business Secretary’s launch of a productivity plan to correct this. While the UK’s productivity rate means that it takes a UK worker five hours to produce what a German worker could deliver in four hours, it is also fair to reflect that the UK’s growing employment numbers could be seen to distort productivity rates. As productivity is the measure of production output over input of employees, it is no surprise that the creation of 2 million additional jobs in the UK in the past five years has rendered our productivity lower than that of France, which has produced a lower number of new jobs in the same period than the region of Yorkshire. The key is to upskill these new jobs to become more high skilled and more productive, and this will occur over time.

As a member of the Transport Committee, I would like to focus on the role that capital investment in transport can play in increasing the UK’s productivity. The some £60 billion of capital investment dedicated this term to road and rail investment has the ability to improve productivity by enhancing connectivity and bringing workers and businesses closer to their workplace and marketplace. In this respect, it is essential that we look to these projects not just for their transport benefits but for the regeneration that they can bring. In my community, my right hon. Friend the Member for Hastings and Rye (Amber Rudd) and I have been campaigning to deliver high-speed rail from London to Hastings and Bexhill. On that route, it takes two hours to travel from London, while the similar distance to Milton Keynes from the capital can be covered in just over 30 minutes.

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Stewart Malcolm McDonald (Glasgow South) (SNP): Will the hon. Gentleman give way?

Huw Merriman: I give way to my colleague on the Select Committee.

Stewart Malcolm McDonald: The hon. Gentleman is a fine member of the Select Committee. On high-speed rail, will he say from the Government Benches that it would greatly benefit Scotland if we had such a connection to London, our closest global financial hub?

Huw Merriman: My colleague has put that matter on the record on more than one occasion in the Select Committee and in the House.

As our regeneration report will show, the new rail link would unlock economic growth in our community, increase productivity and allow for new business expansion to pay for, among other matters, the higher than average adult social care bill that East Sussex faces. However, Network Rail’s decision about whether to invest in this project will be solely determined not on the boost to economic productivity it would undoubtedly bring, but on rail-user feasibility. In addition, another bar to productivity is that the bill for the project has increased because of the number of licensing and planning consents required from numerous agencies and authorities and because of the enhanced regulation brought in for new rail projects.

If we are to enhance our productivity, we must commission public projects on the basis of which ones can, to employ the term used by my hon. Friend the Member for North Dorset (Simon Hoare), deliver the best bang for the buck, and we must hammer down costs by making the building process simpler. In a similar vein, I implore the Government not only to make a decision this year on which airport will be expanded, but to ensure that the shovel goes in the ground immediately, rather than lying idle for years while petitions are heard in this place and in our courts.

To conclude, I welcome this opportunity to debate how the UK’s export market and productivity rates can be improved. I welcome the Government’s recognition that more can be done, and the ambitious targets that the Government have set themselves during this term to ensure that more will be done.

6.21 pm

Michelle Thomson (Edinburgh West) (Ind): Thank you, Madam Deputy Speaker, for giving me the opportunity to be the final speaker before the debate is summed up. I must say that I have enjoyed it immensely. The quality of speeches by Members on both sides of the House has been fantastic.

I have a little warning for the hon. Member for Gloucester (Richard Graham) on the use of the term “doom”. In Scotland, we say that facts are chiels that winna ding. The facts brought out by my hon. Friend the Member for Dundee East (Stewart Hosie) at the start of the debate stand and are very important. Such a reality check about some of the serious issues in the UK economy must be acknowledged.

Let us turn to the issue of balance. The Chancellor commented in a lecture in 2010:

We have to move away from an economic model that was based on unsustainable private and public debt. And we have to move to

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a new model of economic growth that is rooted in more investment, more savings and higher exports.”

How did that work out?

Such a sentiment does not extend to the present Government. During an open Business, Innovation and Skills Committee sitting, I questioned the Minister for Small Business, Industry and Enterprise about whether she regretted successive UK Governments’ lack of a cohesive industrial strategy. I make that point because SNP Members sometimes sit listening to the biff-boff from either side of the Chamber, but I think there has been a lack of strategy year on year, regardless of whether it has been under the Tories or Labour. One of the significant benefits in Scotland of constantly having an SNP Government, which I hope will be re-elected, is that we can see the signs of a strategy that has been put in place and acted on, and of the resulting commensurate benefits.

Lucy Frazer: Does the hon. Lady accept that, according to figures from UKTI, a Government body, there was a small fall in the number of inward investment projects in Scotland in 2014-15, while the number rose in England and Wales?

Michelle Thomson: Yes. As I said at the start, facts are chiels that winna ding, but there is a much bigger picture.

My hon. Friend the Member for Dundee East said that the downsizing in manufacturing has been going on for decades, not just for a small snapshot in time. I do not propose to go through the figures that have been quoted extensively in this debate, but I will quote one apt point that was made by the well-known economic journalist who writes in the Scottish newspaper, The National, and who, for the benefit of the House, is also known as the hon. Member for East Lothian (George Kerevan). He has referred to the issues with manufacturing as

“a full generation of stagnation.”

I want to pick up on a few comments. The first was about infrastructure. I gently point out in respect of HS2, which apparently will now cost roughly £42 billion, although I am not sure that is correct, that Scotland will pay its population share of that. We will pay roughly £4 billion, for which we will get no benefit. Indeed, a couple of years ago, Aberdeen chamber of commerce pointed out that it might cost its local industry money.

It is fair to say that probably no one in this Chamber is as focused on the importance of business in growing our economy as I am. There are still significant issues that I will personally address in the lifetime of this Parliament in the ability of businesses to get started, access capital, which is critical, and grow to a significant size. The Mittelstand model would be a good fit, but such companies are promptly sold. We need to do much more on that front.

John Longworth, director general of the British Chambers of Commerce, has made significant comments on consumer debt:

“It’s time to get real. The UK has been too reliant on consumer spending”.

That is an external body making that point. The household debt to income ratio could reach 172% by 2020. I am worried that with increased austerity and more uncertain

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prospects, more and more people are turning to credit as the only accessible way to plug the gap. Interest rate rises are a when, not an if, and I have grave concerns about how they will affect people who are already struggling.

Dr Lisa Cameron (East Kilbride, Strathaven and Lesmahagow) (SNP): Given what has been said about household debt, does the hon. Lady agree that it is extremely important that children receive financial education at school that includes budgeting and planning?

Michelle Thomson: Absolutely. We can probably all agree that we should look to do better on that.

Productivity has been discussed at length. A solution to the so-called productivity puzzle remains as elusive as ever. We know that the component parts are complex. Not only does the UK perform badly when compared with the G7, but it does even worse when compared with what I call the M8—the top performing medium-sized countries such as Norway, where productivity is 77% ahead of the UK. In Sweden, the figure is 18% and in Denmark, it is 26%.

The National Institute of Economic and Social Research considered that puzzle and noted that

“analyses of the panel reveal that workplaces that experienced an increase in union density between 2004 and 2011 also improved their performance relative to the industry average”.

That is an important point. I would suggest that it is not just union density that influences productivity, but mature workplace relationships based on mutual respect and consideration, and the routine representation of workers on boards, which we see elsewhere. My view is that the rest of the UK is slipping backwards in that respect, particularly given the dangerous trade union proposals.

I will consider export performance before I finish. Rather than going through the facts, I had a quick conversation with the owner of Witherby Publishing, which is a successful Scottish SME whose exports account for about 80% of its business. I asked what she considers to be the primary inhibitor of UK companies exporting. Her answer was succinct. She said it was attitude, it was ambition, it was looking outwards. The practical considerations of cost distribution, differing tax structures, VAT and so on were secondary. The UK must be very careful in the message it sends out to the world as it grapples with the debate about Europe. Is the UK open for business or not? I’ll tell you what: Scotland is open for business.

Finally, let me reiterate what was said by my hon. Friend the Member for Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath (Roger Mullin) because I have serious concerns about plans to replace grants with loans. I challenged the Minister and asked about the rationale behind that move, and the response was:

“A number of businesses that I meet would be quite happy to have a loan rather than just a grant because they get that that would mean they would have to pay it back.”

I am sorry, but we need to do better than that. This is a competitive world, and that response is beyond complacent. We must compete, invest, and support research and development. Given all the factors that I have mentioned, the report card for the long-term economic plan is poor. It is not working, it is stifling growth, and it will affect us all going forward. Quite simply, this Tory Government cannot be trusted to deliver on the economy.

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6.30 pm

Ms Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh (Ochil and South Perthshire) (SNP): I rise to speak in favour of the motion in my name and that of my SNP colleagues, and I declare an interest as vice-chair of the all-party group for trade and investment.

I thank all Members for their contributions to this interesting and varied debate, and I will try to mention everybody if time allows. The Minister spoke of a long-term economic plan and of caring and compassionate Conservatives, but those worn-out phrases mean nothing to poor and vulnerable people up and down this country who this Government have targeted in a relentless onslaught through austerity of choice, not necessity.

I agree with the hon. Member for Sefton Central (Bill Esterson) that the NHS should be exempt from TTIP, and we must always protect our public services. I agree with the hon. Member for The Cotswolds (Geoffrey Clifton-Brown) on the importance of UKTI, but unfortunately the Chancellor slashed the budget for that in his autumn statement. My hon. Friend the Member for Aberdeen South (Callum McCaig) made an excellent speech about the bright future for our oil industry, but it requires help from the Government during what we hope will be a temporary downturn. He spoke of Aberdeen being a city of innovation that filed more applications for patents in 2014 than anywhere else, and he mentioned the importance of the Aberdeen city deal, and called on the Government to consider that quickly and favourably. He said, however, that the UK Government had taken a hatchet to one of the biggest global growing markets of the century: renewable energy. We should build on an industry that we can be proud of, and develop the skills we need—ambition, Mr Speaker.

I wholeheartedly agreed with the hon. Member for Cannock Chase (Amanda Milling) when she spoke about the need for investment. She quoted from the Treasury document, “Fixing the foundations”, but failed to mention that UK investment as a percentage of GDP has been well below the OECD average since 1960, only surfacing briefly in 1990, as per the graph on page 15. I was pleased to hear her support for the cut to air passenger duty, which the Scottish Government will introduce, and she suggested to the Minister that that measure be considered elsewhere.

The hon. Member for Hartlepool (Mr Wright), Chair of the Business, Innovation and Skills Committee, agreed with every word of our motion, and we are delighted to have that support. He went even further and spoke of the value of our relationship with the EU, and its importance for trade. He also referred to the “dire and woeful” performance of the Government, who are sleepwalking back to the old British model, which cannot be a model for sustainable and economic growth.

The hon. Member for Bedford (Richard Fuller) suggested that this country had consistently rejected socialism. Not in Scotland—just look at the SNP Benches. He also seemed to suggest—surely this must have been in jest—we have not gone bust so things must be okay. Such poverty of ambition. My hon. Friend the Member for East Lothian (George Kerevan) spoke of the success of Ireland’s export record, and said that although we should have been turning around our export performance,

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we have failed in that. As he said, given the current account deficit as it stands, all warning lights should be flashing brightly.

The hon. Member for Spelthorne (Kwasi Kwarteng) spoke of the challenges ahead and the diminished role of manufacturing. He sees that as part of the evolving nature of the British economy, but we should be looking to revive manufacturing, not making excuses for where it is just now.

We heard from my hon. Friend the Member for Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey (Drew Hendry), who spoke fluently and with much passion about the digital economy. Innovation is indeed about imagination. He spoke of driverless car technology as an opportunity to connect people in a different way and how very important it is for women and girls to have the chance to seek opportunities in new areas of technology.

The hon. Member for Macclesfield (David Rutley) said that only one in five businesses in this country export, compared with one in four in Germany, and that there were deep-seated issues that needed to be addressed. He did say that good things come from Scotland—many thanks to him.

My hon. Friend the Member for Livingston (Hannah Bardell) spoke with passion, ambition and great intellect about productivity, innovation and investment with a focus on inequality, diversity and inclusiveness. It is worthy of note that not one Government Member spoke about tackling inequality. Investment in human capital is important, too. It is not just about paid employment but the contribution of others in different ways: as volunteers, carers and activists. Some may not fit, she said, into the Government’s view of what is productive, but that does not mean that everyone does not have something to offer.

The hon. Member for Horsham (Jeremy Quin) paid tribute to some of Scotland’s inventions, in particular the overdraft, which he had been unaware had been invented by a Scot. Well, thank goodness for that. What would the Government do without it?

The view of the hon. Member for East Antrim (Sammy Wilson) was that while we should not knock the economy, we should not be complacent about it either. He acknowledged that we have a problem with our balance of payments.

We then heard from the hon. Member for Gloucester (Richard Graham). He spoke, in his opening lines, about the doom and gloom of speeches. I was certain he was talking about his own colleagues, but he then directed his comments at SNP Members. Surely, there must be some mistake! He did, however, mention the Commonwealth games and highlighted their success, for which we are very grateful. He started to mention the financial contribution of the UK to the games. For those not in the Chamber at the time, the answer is: nil.

The hon. Member for West Bromwich West (Mr Bailey) spoke of the overstatement of the Government’s success, in particular in relation to zero-hours contracts, owing to the lack of productivity and the weak export performance. The hon. and learned Member for South East Cambridgeshire (Lucy Frazer) talked about expertise in universities, but failed to recognise that a smaller proportion of UK businesses intend to collaborate than is the case with our international competitors.

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My hon. Friend the Member for Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath (Roger Mullin) delivered an excellent speech, in his own inimitable fashion, on science and innovation, and the need for investment in that respect. The hon. Member for Bexhill and Battle (Huw Merriman) spoke about the importance of high-speed rail, but did not go far enough to suggest that Scotland should have access to it. Why ever not?

My hon. Friend the Member for Edinburgh West (Michelle Thomson) spoke of the lack of a UK strategy and the comparison with the Scottish Government’s strategy, the benefits of which we can see in action. It is about attitude and ambition, she said. I could not agree more.

Scotland is the best place in Britain to do business. The SNP Government have delivered success for Scotland’s economy. The value of Scotland’s international exports has increased by about 40% from £20 billion to £27.9 billion. In each year since 2006, the Ernst & Young attractiveness survey has ranked Scotland in the top two regions outside of London for foreign direct investment in terms of number of projects secured. In the past six years, business research and development spending in Scotland has increased by 29% in real terms to £797.7 million, compared with just 3% in the UK in the same period. I appear to have lost the attention of some Government Members. I do hope I can regain it quickly.

The cornerstone of Scotland’s successful economy, of course, has been our membership of the European Union. Scotland’s EU membership has been a vibrant source of social, cultural and economic benefit for Scotland over the past 40 years. It is a vital export market, so why would the Tory Government take our country to the brink of leaving this successful partnership?

Jeremy Quin: As I understand it, about 17% of Scots exports go to the rest of the EU and about two-thirds go to the rest of the UK. I am sure the hon. Lady will be equally fond of retaining the better Union—better together.

Ms Ahmed-Sheikh: It actually works both ways. It is not just Scotland exporting to the rest of the UK; exports come up the other way too, but I thank the hon. Gentleman for his intervention none the less.

Scotland is ready to do business with the world, but this Government are giving the impression that we, along with the rest of UK, are closed for business. What message does it give to the world when our UK Government talk a good game about our commitment to the historic climate change agreement reached in Paris, but simultaneously pull the plug on millions of pounds of investment in our renewables industry through their actions on the renewables obligation? How badly is the reputation of Scotland’s world-class universities damaged in the international market to attract the brightest and best by a regressive position on post-study visas? We seem to be moving from one extreme to another, closing the doors to some and opening them to others in the name of trade at all costs, whether that is in relation to arms that may be being sold illegally or not ensuring that human rights are at the top of the agenda when we negotiate trade deals.

Lucy Frazer rose

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Ms Ahmed-Sheikh: I am afraid I cannot give way.

The poor international reputation created by this Government is one of the reasons why the UK’s overall current account deficit in 2014—which includes investment income and transfers, as well as trade—was a record £92.5 billion, up from £77.9 billion in 2013. As a percentage of GDP, the current account deficit now stands at 5.1%, the second highest annual figure since world war two.

As we have heard today, the SNP Scottish Government have an economic plan based on investment in education, internationalisation, innovation and inclusive growth that will release Scotland’s economic potential. In contrast, what do we have here? We have this Chancellor and the UK Government failing on their own key economic indicators, missing the targets they set for themselves. They have proven beyond all doubt that the Tories’ claim to economic credibility now lies in tatters.

That is why the Chancellor must urgently put in place a comprehensive plan for trade, exports, innovation and productivity to genuinely rebalance the economy. On trade, the Chancellor said that trade and exports would underpin his strategy for growth, but the UK’s current account deficit is a record £93 billion, its highest ever cash amount. On exports, the Chancellor promised a doubling to £1 trillion by the end of this decade, but with exports falling to £503 billion last year, he has missed his own targets and the figures are moving in the wrong direction. On innovation, we compare poorly with our competitors, and the Chancellor’s decision to change innovation grants into loans sends out all the wrong signals. On productivity, the UK lags behind other major economies and is at barely half the level of growth in the pre-crisis trend. The Chancellor’s plan is failing the UK and failing Scotland. We need urgent and radical action to rebalance the UK economy. I commend the motion to the House.

6.42 pm

The Minister for Universities and Science (Joseph Johnson): In winding up this extensive and excellent debate, during which we have explored the vital themes of trade, innovation and productivity, it is worth reminding ourselves of the context of Government actions. When we came to office in 2010, the country was borrowing £150 billion a year. It had the largest deficit of any country in the OECD and unemployment had risen by half a million.

Since 2010, we have taken steps to secure the economic recovery, ensure that we are better placed to withstand future shocks, and provide security and opportunity to people across the whole of the UK. Our actions have borne fruit, and as a result the UK has been the joint fastest-growing economy in the G7. The deficit is down by more than half, there are 2.7 million more people in private sector jobs and there are 900,000 more businesses trading today than in 2010. It is because we are taking the difficult decisions to fix our public finances that we are now able to prioritise investment, boost productivity and rebalance our economy.

Today we have heard some of the ways in which our long-term economic plan is doing just that, with excellent contributions from all parts of the House, even if some were much better represented than others—the Labour Benches were particularly sparsely attended throughout

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this afternoon’s proceedings. I will answer as many points as I can in the limited time I have, but I want to acknowledge, at least in passing, the strong contributions from my hon. and learned Friend the Member for South East Cambridgeshire (Lucy Frazer) and my hon. Friends the Members for Cannock Chase (Amanda Milling), for Bexhill and Battle (Huw Merriman), for The Cotswolds (Geoffrey Clifton-Brown), for Macclesfield (David Rutley), for Horsham (Jeremy Quin), for Gloucester (Richard Graham), for Spelthorne (Kwasi Kwarteng) and, last but not least, for Bedford (Richard Fuller).

Let me start with productivity. Yes, of course the UK’s productivity has lagged behind that of other major economies for decades. That is precisely why the Government have set out a clear plan, “Fixing the foundations”, with a clear timetable for implementation all the way out to 2025. Recent signs are encouraging. Output per hour grew 0.9% in the second quarter of 2015, and 0.6% in the third quarter. With output per hour continuing to increase, this shows our approach is working. Indeed, the independent Office for Budget Responsibility confirmed that in its 2015 economic and fiscal outlook, which forecasts that productivity will return to trend by mid-2018.

Of course, success will not be achieved overnight, and will require a truly national effort from Government, business and working people. Key to that will be working through the plan for productivity we have set out. This means investing in skills by delivering 3 million apprenticeship starts during this Parliament, building on the 2 million of the last Parliament. It means protecting our vital science spending in real terms until the end of the decade and expanding our important network of catapult centres. It means delivering infrastructure projects such as HS2 and Crossrail and the largest investment in our roads since the 1970s. It means rolling out superfast broadband to 95% of premises by 2017. The hon. Member for Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey (Drew Hendry) will, I hope, welcome the productivity plan’s commitment to extending development rights to taller mobile masts. It also means setting out a plan for future infrastructure challenges, with the creation of our National Infrastructure Commission. The Government have a clear productivity plan; we have a plan for the whole of the United Kingdom. It is a blueprint to fix the foundations of our economy and is a vital step towards securing the prosperity and livelihood of generations to come.

The rebalancing of the economy is another central theme of this afternoon’s debate. The profound changes we want to see in the structure of our economy will not take place overnight, and there is of course much work to do. Already, however, we can see significant progress in key areas where we want to see rebalancing. Job opportunities are being spread much more evenly than before. Opportunities for people have burgeoned outside our booming capital city and the south of the country, with some of the fastest rates of growth in job creation seen in the north of England. Indeed, since 2010, three out of four jobs have been created outside London.

Scotland has been a big part of the national story. In Scotland, 178,000 more people are in employment than in 2010, with the private sector up by 150,000.

13 Jan 2016 : Column 958

Stewart Hosie: The Minister has prayed in aid very heavily the productivity plan, “Fixing the foundations”, and he read out a large number of its component parts. Will he do something that his right hon. Friend the Minister for Small Business, Industry and Enterprise did not do and commit to repeating that the Government intend to double exports to £1 trillion by 2020? That is also in the plan, so can we take it that that target has now been abandoned?

Joseph Johnson: I shall come on to exports shortly, but we remain strongly committed to that target. It is right that we set ourselves a challenging and ambitious target for exports. The whole Government are working towards achieving that goal.

Our regions are at the centre of our plan. A crucial part of the Government’s plan is to devolve powers to local leaders and enable them to drive growth, attract investment and create jobs, as we are doing with the development of the northern powerhouse and the midlands engine. We have secured an historic city deal for Glasgow and the Clyde valley, and I am pleased that discussions are under way for Aberdeen and Inverness, too.

The manufacturing sector is a part of this renewal. While our manufacturing sector faces headwinds, as we have seen in recent statistics, from the sharp fall in the oil price, a strong pound and slowing external markets, manufacturing output since 2010 has expanded by 18.5%, and by 17% in Scotland. Quite contrary to the assertion of the hon. Member for Dundee East (Stewart Hosie), there are more manufacturing jobs, too, than in 2010. There are 90,000 more of them in our economy today than in September 2010.

While we are about it, let us not miss an opportunity to celebrate the remarkable growth in motor vehicle manufacturing. The 6.4% increase over the past year underscores an historic transformation in that key industry’s fortunes which has been under way since 2010. The Government need no lessons from Opposition parties on manufacturing generally, given that, as many know, it suffered its fastest decline on record as a share of GDP under Labour.

Business investment is increasing too. It has been growing by well over 4% a year in real terms since 2010. Specifically, investment in research and development rose to £19.9 billion in 2014, well up on where it was in 2010. The record levels of support that the Government are providing for innovative businesses through our R and D tax credit are a big part of the reason for that. Our support rose from £1.1 billion in 2010 to £1.75 billion in 2013-14, and the tax credit is helping more than 18,000 businesses to engage in innovative R and D investment.

The hon. Member for Dundee East said that there was a missed opportunity for Scotland. I disagree; the evidence shows otherwise. The hon. Gentleman should, perhaps, note that there were 1,045 successful claims for R and D tax credit from Scottish businesses in 2013-14. He should also recall that the five parties in the Smith commission agreed that corporation tax and its associated reliefs should not be devolved, on the basis of a strong body of evidence that such a move would not be in Scotland’s interests. It was striking that neither Opposition party joined businesses in welcoming our plan to cut corporation tax to 18% by 2020. Companies throughout the United Kingdom will benefit from that, just as they are benefiting now from our R and D tax credit.

13 Jan 2016 : Column 959

The hon. Member for Livingston (Hannah Bardell) mentioned the important issue of equality. We are active in that respect as well. There are more women in work than ever before—a record 14.6 million—and the number has risen by nearly 1 million since 2010. We are also taking steps to eliminate the remaining gender pay gap through new transparency requirements, and, as part of our broader goal of achieving full employment in our economy, we recently set out our aim of halving the disability employment gap. This is not the uncaring, uncompassionate Government whom the Opposition parties seek to portray.

Let me say something about the business environment. As part of our economic plan, we want to make Britain the best place in Europe in which to do business, with a business environment that supports investment, productivity, growth and job creation. When Labour was in government, corporation tax stood at 28% and national insurance was set to increase, which would have had a devastating impact on jobs. By contrast, this Government have shelved the planned national insurance increase, increased investment allowances, and introduced the most competitive corporation tax regime in the G20. While we are about it, we are deregulating too, building on the steps that have been taken since 2010. We are committed to cutting the cost of red tape by a further £10 billion during the current Parliament. It is no surprise that Britain has just leapfrogged others in the World Bank’s global ease of doing business rankings to become the top country in the G7 in which to do business.

Let me now turn to another aspect of today’s debate: trade and exports. Our long-term economic plan will enable us to move towards an economy with a stronger export performance. While we are, of course, facing real global headwinds, including a slowdown in China and continued weakness in the eurozone, we are backing British businesses with global ambitions. The number of United Kingdom companies that are exporting is growing strongly—it has increased by 18% since 2010—and Scottish companies are also exporting more. In 2011 there were 9,300 Scottish exporters; now there are 11,100. Our trade deficit is responding, and narrowed in the three months to November.[Official Report, 27 January 2016, Vol. 605, c. 2MC.]

As Members have noted, our £1 trillion export goal is rightly ambitious, and much depends on factors that are out of our control. What we can do as a Government is offer effective support for exporters, and push for ambitious trade agreements that will help them to break into new markets. That is why the Government have recently established the cross-Government exports implementation taskforce to drive a new and tough whole-of-Government approach in support of our export target and our aim to increase by 100,000 the number of UK firms exporting by 2020. The Government are also pushing hard for ambitious trade deals that will remove tariff and non-tariff barriers facing British exporters and open up new markets.

Bill Esterson: A number of Members have mentioned the steel industry. The Minister for Small Business, Industry and Enterprise questioned my comments about state aid rules so will the Minister confirm that the European Commission has now said that energy-intensive industries, including steel, can benefit from state aid rules, and that Belgium, France, Italy, Germany and Spain have all benefited in this way?

13 Jan 2016 : Column 960

Joseph Johnson: The Government are working hard with our European partners to give the support that is possible to the steel industry, and are working hard with all the companies involved to assure good outcomes in line with our competition regime.

I shall return to the subject of the trade agreements. TTIP holds tremendous potential for the British economy; it is potentially worth up to £10 billion a year to the UK economy. Let me be clear in response to Members’ concerns on this point that there is no threat whatever from the TTIP deal, or any other trade and investment agreement, to the NHS and our other vital public services. The Government, the European Commission and the United States—in fact all of those involved—have been 100% clear on that point. We have over 90 bilateral investment treaties and there has never been a successful claim against the UK. There is no evidence of the kind of regulatory chill that some fear will materialise in the event that we successfully conclude TTIP. TTIP is of course just one of a number of such deals, and we are also supporting ambitious deals with Japan and China.

Members have mentioned support for science and innovation. It is precisely because we are taking the difficult decisions to fix Britain’s finances that we can now afford to prioritise science and other areas that support growth. As the Chancellor announced in the spending review, the Government will protect the science budget in real terms to the end of the decade. That means £4.7 billion in resource funding, rising with inflation, and it also means we are able to deliver on our manifesto commitment of record investment in our country’s scientific infrastructure at £6.9 billion all the way out to 2021.

I hope the hon. Member for Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath (Roger Mullin) will welcome the fact that researchers and universities across the UK will benefit from a decade of protection for science under this Government. With respect to his specific concerns for the biomedical catalyst, which is jointly funded by the Medical Research Council and Innovate UK, I am unable to comment on individual budget allocations while we are still in the middle of this process, but the MRC will of course be a big beneficiary of the fact that we have had a massively successful science settlement during the spending review.

Let me also point out to SNP Members that Scotland is punching well above its weight in getting access to this science money, securing 10% of Innovate UK funding and 11% of research council funding, much more than its 8% share of the UK population and 6% share of UK businesses. A few months ago I was pleased to open a world-class medical imaging centre in Glasgow, which has benefited from £16 million of UK Government funding through the MRC, illustrating precisely this point.

On innovation support, different businesses need different forms of financial support to innovate and grow. The lack of available financing at acceptable terms is an obstacle we want to address, learning from countries such as France, Finland and the Netherlands that use a variety of financial instruments. The hon. Member for Sefton Central (Bill Esterson) wrongly painted a gloomy picture of Innovate UK funding, which I must correct. Overall, core funding for Innovate UK has increased from £253 million in 2009 to £453 million in 2016-17, and will reach £471 million in 2019-20. It is this positive

13 Jan 2016 : Column 961

settlement that is enabling us to deliver on our manifesto commitments to protect and expand our catapult network.

Raising productivity and balancing the economy are the key economic challenges for this Parliament and are central to our long-term economic plan. Thanks to the hard work of the British people, this long-term economic plan is working: the deficit is down by more than a half, 2.7 million more people are in private sector jobs and over 900,000 more businesses are trading today than in 2010. But there can be no complacency. The Chancellor has already pointed to the dangerous cocktail of risks—

Mike Weir (Angus) (SNP): claimed to move the closure (Standing Order No. 36).

Question put forthwith, That the Question be now put.

Question agreed to.

Main Question accordingly put.

The House divided:

Ayes 241, Noes 299.

Division No. 164]


7.00 pm


Abbott, Ms Diane

Abrahams, Debbie

Ahmed-Sheikh, Ms Tasmina

Alexander, Heidi

Anderson, Mr David

Arkless, Richard

Austin, Ian

Bailey, Mr Adrian

Bardell, Hannah

Barron, rh Kevin

Beckett, rh Margaret

Benn, rh Hilary

Berger, Luciana

Betts, Mr Clive

Black, Mhairi

Blackford, Ian

Blackman, Kirsty

Blomfield, Paul

Boswell, Philip

Brock, Deidre

Brown, Alan

Brown, Lyn

Bryant, Chris

Burden, Richard

Burgon, Richard

Burnham, rh Andy

Butler, Dawn

Byrne, rh Liam

Cadbury, Ruth

Cameron, Dr Lisa

Campbell, rh Mr Alan

Campbell, Mr Ronnie

Carswell, Mr Douglas

Champion, Sarah

Chapman, Douglas

Chapman, Jenny

Coaker, Vernon

Cooper, rh Yvette

Corbyn, rh Jeremy

Cowan, Ronnie

Cox, Jo

Crausby, Mr David

Crawley, Angela

Creagh, Mary

Creasy, Stella

Cryer, John

Cummins, Judith

Cunningham, Alex

Cunningham, Mr Jim

David, Wayne

Davies, Geraint

Day, Martyn

Docherty, Martin John

Donaldson, Stuart Blair

Doughty, Stephen

Dowd, Jim

Dromey, Jack

Dugher, Michael

Durkan, Mark

Eagle, Maria

Edwards, Jonathan

Efford, Clive

Elliott, Julie

Ellman, Mrs Louise

Esterson, Bill

Evans, Chris

Farrelly, Paul

Farron, Tim

Field, rh Frank

Flello, Robert

Fletcher, Colleen

Flint, rh Caroline

Flynn, Paul

Fovargue, Yvonne

Foxcroft, Vicky

Gardiner, Barry

Gibson, Patricia

Glass, Pat

Godsiff, Mr Roger

Goodman, Helen

Grady, Patrick

Grant, Peter

Green, Kate

Greenwood, Lilian

Greenwood, Margaret

Griffith, Nia

Gwynne, Andrew

Haigh, Louise

Hamilton, Fabian

Hanson, rh Mr David

Harpham, Harry

Harris, Carolyn

Hayes, Helen

Healey, rh John

Hendrick, Mr Mark

Hendry, Drew

Hepburn, Mr Stephen

Hodgson, Mrs Sharon

Hollern, Kate

Hopkins, Kelvin

Hosie, Stewart

Howarth, rh Mr George

Hunt, Tristram

Huq, Dr Rupa

Hussain, Imran

Irranca-Davies, Huw

Jarvis, Dan

Johnson, rh Alan

Jones, Gerald

Jones, Graham

Jones, Mr Kevan

Jones, Susan Elan

Kane, Mike

Kaufman, rh Sir Gerald

Keeley, Barbara

Kendall, Liz

Kerevan, George

Kerr, Calum

Kinnock, Stephen

Kyle, Peter

Lamb, rh Norman

Lammy, rh Mr David

Lavery, Ian

Law, Chris

Leslie, Chris

Lewell-Buck, Mrs Emma

Lewis, Clive

Long Bailey, Rebecca

Lucas, Caroline

Lucas, Ian C.

Lynch, Holly

Mactaggart, rh Fiona

Madders, Justin

Mahmood, Mr Khalid

Mahmood, Shabana

Malhotra, Seema

Mann, John

Marris, Rob

Marsden, Mr Gordon

Maskell, Rachael

Matheson, Christian

Mc Nally, John

McCabe, Steve

McCaig, Callum

McCarthy, Kerry

McDonagh, Siobhain

McDonald, Andy

McDonald, Stewart Malcolm

McDonald, Stuart C.

McDonnell, John

McFadden, rh Mr Pat

McGarry, Natalie

McGinn, Conor

McGovern, Alison

McInnes, Liz

McKinnell, Catherine

McLaughlin, Anne

McMahon, Jim

Meale, Sir Alan

Miliband, rh Edward

Monaghan, Carol

Moon, Mrs Madeleine

Morden, Jessica

Morris, Grahame M.

Mulholland, Greg

Mullin, Roger

Murray, Ian

Newlands, Gavin

Nicolson, John

O'Hara, Brendan

Onn, Melanie

Onwurah, Chi

Osamor, Kate

Owen, Albert

Paterson, Steven

Pearce, Teresa

Perkins, Toby

Phillips, Jess

Pound, Stephen

Powell, Lucy

Pugh, John

Qureshi, Yasmin

Rayner, Angela

Reed, Mr Steve

Rees, Christina

Reynolds, Jonathan

Rimmer, Marie

Ritchie, Ms Margaret

Robertson, rh Angus

Robinson, Mr Geoffrey

Rotheram, Steve

Ryan, rh Joan

Salmond, rh Alex

Saville Roberts, Liz

Shah, Naz

Sharma, Mr Virendra

Sherriff, Paula

Shuker, Mr Gavin

Siddiq, Tulip

Skinner, Mr Dennis

Slaughter, Andy

Smeeth, Ruth

Smith, rh Mr Andrew

Smith, Angela

Smith, Cat

Smith, Jeff

Smith, Nick

Smith, Owen

Spellar, rh Mr John

Starmer, Keir

Stephens, Chris

Stevens, Jo

Streeting, Wes

Stuart, rh Ms Gisela

Tami, Mark

Thewliss, Alison

Thomas, Mr Gareth

Thomas-Symonds, Nick

Thomson, Michelle

Thornberry, Emily

Timms, rh Stephen

Trickett, Jon

Turley, Anna

Turner, Karl

Twigg, Derek

Twigg, Stephen

Umunna, Mr Chuka

Watson, Mr Tom

Weir, Mike

West, Catherine

Whiteford, Dr Eilidh

Whitehead, Dr Alan

Whitford, Dr Philippa

Williams, Mr Mark

Wilson, Corri

Wilson, Phil

Winnick, Mr David

Winterton, rh Dame Rosie

Woodcock, John

Wright, Mr Iain

Zeichner, Daniel

Tellers for the Ayes:

Pete Wishart


Owen Thompson


Adams, Nigel

Afriyie, Adam

Aldous, Peter

Allan, Lucy

Allen, Heidi

Amess, Sir David

Argar, Edward

Atkins, Victoria

Bacon, Mr Richard

Baker, Mr Steve

Baldwin, Harriett

Barclay, Stephen

Barwell, Gavin

Bebb, Guto

Bellingham, Sir Henry

Benyon, Richard

Beresford, Sir Paul

Berry, Jake

Berry, James

Bingham, Andrew

Blackman, Bob

Blackwood, Nicola

Boles, Nick

Bone, Mr Peter

Borwick, Victoria

Bradley, Karen

Brady, Mr Graham

Brazier, Mr Julian

Bridgen, Andrew

Brine, Steve

Brokenshire, rh James

Bruce, Fiona

Buckland, Robert

Burns, rh Sir Simon

Burrowes, Mr David

Burt, rh Alistair

Cairns, Alun

Campbell, Mr Gregory

Carmichael, Neil

Cartlidge, James

Cash, Sir William

Caulfield, Maria

Chalk, Alex

Chishti, Rehman

Chope, Mr Christopher

Churchill, Jo

Clark, rh Greg

Clarke, rh Mr Kenneth

Cleverly, James

Clifton-Brown, Geoffrey

Coffey, Dr Thérèse

Collins, Damian

Costa, Alberto

Cox, Mr Geoffrey

Crabb, rh Stephen

Crouch, Tracey

Davies, Byron

Davies, David T. C.

Davies, Dr James

Davies, Mims

Davies, Philip

Davis, rh Mr David

Dinenage, Caroline

Djanogly, Mr Jonathan

Donaldson, rh Mr Jeffrey M.

Donelan, Michelle

Dorries, Nadine

Double, Steve

Dowden, Oliver

Drax, Richard

Drummond, Mrs Flick

Duddridge, James

Duncan, rh Sir Alan

Duncan Smith, rh Mr Iain

Dunne, Mr Philip

Elliott, Tom

Ellis, Michael

Ellison, Jane

Ellwood, Mr Tobias

Elphicke, Charlie

Eustice, George

Evans, Graham

Evans, Mr Nigel

Evennett, rh Mr David

Fabricant, Michael

Fallon, rh Michael

Fernandes, Suella

Field, rh Mark

Fox, rh Dr Liam

Francois, rh Mr Mark

Frazer, Lucy

Freeman, George

Fuller, Richard

Fysh, Marcus

Gale, Sir Roger

Garnier, rh Sir Edward

Garnier, Mark

Gauke, Mr David

Gibb, Mr Nick

Gillan, rh Mrs Cheryl

Glen, John

Goodwill, Mr Robert

Gove, rh Michael

Graham, Richard

Grant, Mrs Helen

Grayling, rh Chris

Green, Chris

Green, rh Damian

Grieve, rh Mr Dominic

Griffiths, Andrew

Gummer, Ben

Gyimah, Mr Sam

Halfon, rh Robert

Hall, Luke

Hammond, Stephen

Hancock, rh Matthew

Hands, rh Greg

Harper, rh Mr Mark

Harrington, Richard

Harris, Rebecca

Haselhurst, rh Sir Alan

Hayes, rh Mr John

Heald, Sir Oliver

Heaton-Harris, Chris

Heaton-Jones, Peter

Henderson, Gordon

Herbert, rh Nick

Hinds, Damian

Hoare, Simon

Hollingbery, George

Hollinrake, Kevin

Hollobone, Mr Philip

Holloway, Mr Adam

Howarth, Sir Gerald

Howell, John

Howlett, Ben

Huddleston, Nigel

Hunt, rh Mr Jeremy

Hurd, Mr Nick

Jackson, Mr Stewart

James, Margot

Javid, rh Sajid

Jayawardena, Mr Ranil

Jenkin, Mr Bernard

Jenkyns, Andrea

Jenrick, Robert

Johnson, Boris

Johnson, Gareth

Johnson, Joseph

Jones, Andrew

Jones, rh Mr David

Jones, Mr Marcus

Kennedy, Seema

Kinahan, Danny

Kirby, Simon

Knight, rh Sir Greg

Knight, Julian

Kwarteng, Kwasi

Lancaster, Mark

Latham, Pauline

Leadsom, Andrea

Lee, Dr Phillip

Leslie, Charlotte

Letwin, rh Mr Oliver

Lewis, Brandon

Lewis, rh Dr Julian

Liddell-Grainger, Mr Ian

Lidington, rh Mr David

Lilley, rh Mr Peter

Lopresti, Jack

Lord, Jonathan

Loughton, Tim

Lumley, Karen

Mackinlay, Craig

Mackintosh, David

Main, Mrs Anne

Mak, Mr Alan

Malthouse, Kit

Mann, Scott

Mathias, Dr Tania

May, rh Mrs Theresa

Maynard, Paul

McCartney, Jason

McCartney, Karl

McPartland, Stephen

Menzies, Mark

Mercer, Johnny

Merriman, Huw

Metcalfe, Stephen

Miller, rh Mrs Maria

Milling, Amanda

Mills, Nigel

Mitchell, rh Mr Andrew

Mordaunt, Penny

Morgan, rh Nicky

Morris, Anne Marie

Morris, David

Morris, James

Morton, Wendy

Mowat, David

Mundell, rh David

Murray, Mrs Sheryll

Murrison, Dr Andrew

Neill, Robert

Newton, Sarah

Nokes, Caroline

Norman, Jesse

Nuttall, Mr David

Offord, Dr Matthew

Paisley, Ian

Patel, rh Priti

Paterson, rh Mr Owen

Pawsey, Mark

Penning, rh Mike

Penrose, John

Perry, Claire

Phillips, Stephen

Philp, Chris

Pickles, rh Sir Eric

Pincher, Christopher

Pow, Rebecca

Prentis, Victoria

Prisk, Mr Mark

Pritchard, Mark

Pursglove, Tom

Quin, Jeremy

Quince, Will

Raab, Mr Dominic

Redwood, rh John

Rees-Mogg, Mr Jacob

Robertson, Mr Laurence

Robinson, Mary

Rudd, rh Amber

Rutley, David

Scully, Paul

Selous, Andrew

Shannon, Jim

Shapps, rh Grant

Sharma, Alok

Shelbrooke, Alec

Simpson, rh Mr Keith

Skidmore, Chris

Smith, Chloe

Smith, Henry

Smith, Julian

Smith, Royston

Soames, rh Sir Nicholas

Soubry, rh Anna

Spelman, rh Mrs Caroline

Spencer, Mark

Stephenson, Andrew

Stevenson, John

Stewart, Bob

Stewart, Iain

Stewart, Rory

Streeter, Mr Gary

Stride, Mel

Stuart, Graham

Sunak, Rishi

Swayne, rh Mr Desmond

Syms, Mr Robert

Thomas, Derek

Throup, Maggie

Tolhurst, Kelly

Tomlinson, Justin

Tomlinson, Michael

Tracey, Craig

Tredinnick, David

Trevelyan, Mrs Anne-Marie

Truss, rh Elizabeth

Tugendhat, Tom

Turner, Mr Andrew

Tyrie, rh Mr Andrew

Vaizey, Mr Edward

Vara, Mr Shailesh

Vickers, Martin

Villiers, rh Mrs Theresa

Walker, Mr Charles

Walker, Mr Robin

Wallace, Mr Ben

Warburton, David

Warman, Matt

Watkinson, Dame Angela

Wharton, James

Whately, Helen

Wheeler, Heather

White, Chris

Whittaker, Craig

Whittingdale, rh Mr John

Wiggin, Bill

Williams, Craig

Williamson, rh Gavin

Wilson, Mr Rob

Wilson, Sammy

Wollaston, Dr Sarah

Wood, Mike

Wragg, William

Wright, rh Jeremy

Zahawi, Nadhim

Tellers for the Noes:

Jackie Doyle-Price


Kris Hopkins

Question accordingly negatived.