Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Performance)
Opposition Day — [10th Allotted Day]
Gavin Williamson (South Staffordshire, Conservative)
As hon. Members say, the name was changed to the Department for Education because that is what it is. I am very proud that the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills is not about to change its name again for about the fourth or fifth time in as many years.
While the Labour Government focused on name and branding, they ignored the importance of our manufacturing base, which is much talked about. As has been pointed out, 4.3 million people were employed in manufacturing in 1997, but only 2.5 million were employed in 2010. That is a catastrophic decline. Opposition Members might say that there was an increase in output, but the reality is shown in OECD figures. In the industrial sector, which covers manufacturing, mining and energy production, UK gross value added was 25% in 1997-the same as in Germany. However, the figures for 2008, which are the latest figures, show that gross value added was 26% in Germany, but only 18% in the UK. That is decline in anyone's judgment, and it is the dreadful legacy of Lord Mandelson, the Labour party and their inaction.