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Industry (Government Support)

Part of Opposition Day — [1st allotted day] – in the House of Commons at 1:37 pm on 16th June 2010.

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Photo of Vincent Cable Vincent Cable The Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills 1:37 pm, 16th June 2010

The Chancellor of the Exchequer made a very good statement earlier, setting up the commission that will look at the structure of banking. Indeed, we are working together on improving the very poor performance of the banking sector in terms of credit to small and medium-sized lending. The record of the Labour party is terrible in that respect, and we will improve on it.

It is clear that the last Government had an industrial policy. I cede that point. We have to go back to the seminal moment when the former Prime Minister, the right hon. Member for Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath, made one of his famous factory visits-to the headquarters of Lehman Brothers in London-and announced:

"I would like to pay tribute to the contribution you and your company make to the prosperity of Britain".

The consequences of that policy are with us today, in the costs of the collapse, the recession that followed and the enormous problems that we have inherited. That was the industrial policy; that was the imbalance of which hon. Members complain.

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