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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

I have taken an enormous number of interventions; I will take one from the hon. Gentleman later.

Before I leave the car industry, I must point out that these projects were part of an assistance scheme for the industry, and I think that the Opposition Front-Bench spokesman would acknowledge that they were time limited. Other projects have already made applications, which are being properly considered, but we cannot have a situation in which the car industry, or any other, assumes that it can come to the Government for money, just because it has an interesting project.

It is worth underlining the point that, in large parts of the British car industry, brilliant companies have got through the recession without Government support. My first visit as a Minister was to the Bentley factory in Crewe- [ Laughter. ] Hon. Members might laugh, but that factory provides thousands of highly skilled jobs and a high-quality product. It is a subsidiary of BMW. It was very badly hit by the recession-it lost half its output-but it kept going. The management took a big pay cut, and the workers joined them, accepting that they had joint responsibility for the company. The company survived; it is now flourishing-it has some of the most sophisticated technology in Britain-and it did all that without a Government guarantee.

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