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I welcome you to your new post, Mr Deputy Speaker.
Before I get to that, however, may I congratulate everyone who made their maiden speech today? They spoke with passion, commitment and humour, and all bring something special to this very special place. I want to mention in particular the contribution of my new hon. Friend Tom Blenkinsop, who spoke superbly about his predecessor, Ashok Kumar, who was both a colleague and a friend to those of us who were elected before 2010.
I congratulate the Government and, in particular, the Prime Minister. They got the decision on the £21 million for Nissan absolutely right, confirming the investment made by the Labour Government. It offers welcome reassurance to the highly skilled work force, some of whom live in my constituency, to the companies in the supply chain, and to the region as a whole. If the Government insist on revisiting all the spending commitments that were made in the preceding months before the election, I hope that when they do so, they will follow the model that they have developed in looking at the Nissan grant. It is important that they get on with it, because if they do not, they risk sapping the confidence of business in the region.
I want to make it absolutely clear, as did the shadow Secretary of State, my right hon. Friend Mr McFadden, that we accept the need for deficit reduction, but we also accept that there needs to be a strategy for growth alongside it.
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