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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

Indeed they were, although I do not think that the right hon. Gentleman can quite make up his mind whether to apologise or deny.

The IFS is an independent body-it has nothing to do with the Government-and I am talking about what it anticipated. It would be useful to contrast the scale of the cuts that the right hon. Gentleman and Lord Mandelson and his friends were planning to make in their area of government with what we have already done. In the first week of office we had to find cuts, and we found £830 million-we got £200 million back in recycled money and we have made a cut of £630 million. That is a large sum of money, but it is about an eighth of what we know a Labour Government would have taken out of my Department's spending. [ Interruption. ] We can quibble about the number, but very large cuts were being planned by the Labour Government, had they been returned to office. Let us be clear about that.

It would be useful to know what Labour was planning to do. The right hon. Gentleman objects to cuts in RDAs and cuts in industrial support, and he objects to the fact that student numbers are not rising by as much as he wanted, but where are the cuts going to come from? All from the science budget? All from FE colleges? I do not know. Perhaps he is too embarrassed to stand up and tell his colleagues on the Benches behind him what he was planning to do, but I would like to know, because we are in the middle of a very difficult spending exercise. I would like his advice, so perhaps I can set up a private meeting with him and Lord Mandelson, so that they can tell me what they were going to do. I would find that instructive.

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