Scottish Parliament

Oral Answers to Questions — Trade and Industry – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 5 February 1998.

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Photo of Mr Tam Dalyell Mr Tam Dalyell Labour, Linlithgow 12:00, 5 February 1998

Pursuant to her answer of 18 November 1997, Official Report, column 105, on locating in Scotland, if she will make a statement on the status of the Committee on Overseas Promotion after the establishment of a Scottish Parliament. [25686]

Photo of Ian McCartney Ian McCartney Minister of State (Competitiveness), Department of Trade and Industry

I expect the Committee on Overseas Promotion to continue as an administrative forum which enables the Invest in Britain Bureau and all its partner agencies in the UK to liaise and to co-ordinate their activities as necessary.

Photo of Mr Tam Dalyell Mr Tam Dalyell Labour, Linlithgow

Who will umpire the game of beggar-my-industrial-neighbour between Holyrood and Westminster?

Photo of Ian McCartney Ian McCartney Minister of State (Competitiveness), Department of Trade and Industry

My hon. Friend asked that question in my deaf ear.

The proposals are intended to secure better coordination and co-operation between all parts of the United Kingdom—Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales—and to provide best value for United Kingdom taxpayers, ensuring best practice and transparency so that the United Kingdom remains the No. 1 location for inward investment. That is what the Government have attempted to do and will continue to do. When we are ready, we will announce the proposals relating to the concordat.

Photo of Tony Baldry Tony Baldry Conservative, Banbury

The Minister seems a bit confused. The question is about overseas promotion, while the concordat is clearly about inward investment. We know that there will be a concordat on inward investment, but will there also be something akin to the concordat to ensure that there is no competition between the various parts of the United Kingdom in the promotion of exports?

Photo of Ian McCartney Ian McCartney Minister of State (Competitiveness), Department of Trade and Industry

The whole purpose of the Government's strategy is to promote not only inward investment but exports. That is why we have shown the way that the Government are moving forward on our competitive agenda. The body will co-operate and co-ordinate activities in these areas. That approach differs from that of the hon. Gentleman and the previous Government who did nothing to co-ordinate activities in this area.