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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

May I just finish this point?

It is clear that the Opposition's response in the motion to the budget cuts and to the issue of imbalance is really not very serious. Let us examine a couple of other fragments from it. It talks about the "business-led recovery" that they seem to want. I wonder how many people are aware that 21,000 new regulations affecting British companies were introduced in the past 10 years-that is six per working day. How on earth were the previous Government hoping to achieve a business-led recovery when businesses were being prevented from growing? A survey published today by Infotec shows that one in 10 British entrepreneurs were contemplating leaving the country for tax and regulatory reasons. That is the legacy that we now have to address.

The motion also states that the previous Government were

"laying the foundations for the UK to be globally competitive".

During their period in office, the competitiveness league tables-which are generally accepted-showed that this country fell from seventh to 13th. So that is what they meant by laying the foundations for us to be competitive.

Let me now turn to the vital industrial decisions about which several Labour Members are quite rightly exercised. A significant number of projects were signed up to before the election. Some were good; some were questionable. Many of them raised issues regarding value for money, affordability and other factors. Quite rightly and prudently, we are carrying out due diligence on those projects; we are working our way through them.

I can make one announcement today, however. It is right and proper that we should examine the decisions taken by the previous Government since 1 January, to ensure that they offer good value for money and are in line with the Government's priorities. That is entirely legitimate. This need for re-examination is something that the automotive industry, in particular, understands and accepts. Equally, however, it has urged us to reach our decisions quickly, given the time that has already elapsed in considering the loan guarantee projects.

The Prime Minister confirmed this week that the Government's support for the Nissan electric vehicle and associated battery plants would go ahead, and I am today able to announce that the Government have confirmed that a loan guarantee of £360 million will be offered to Ford, and one of £270 million to General Motors Vauxhall. This confirmation is, of course, subject to appropriate pre-conditions for our support being met, and to final decisions by the companies. We understand that GM is considering its next steps in the light of progress in obtaining funding from Germany, and I believe that it might not wish to proceed with our offer. However, the offer has been made and it is now confirmed. That is all I can say today. Decisions will be announced shortly on other specific projects.

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