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Industry (Government Support)

Part of Opposition Day — [1st allotted day] – in the House of Commons at 5:34 pm on 16th June 2010.

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Photo of Ian Mearns Ian Mearns Labour, Gateshead 5:34 pm, 16th June 2010

I welcomed the hon. Lady's comment about the number of Members from the north-east of England who had spoken today. Obviously, when it comes to our region and our regional development agency, our perspective is very different from that of many Conservative Members. As was pointed out earlier, geography is an important factor.

In the north-east, one of the magnificent benefits of the RDA has been its fantastic "Passionate People, Passionate Places" tourism regime, which has received national and international acclaim and has massively boosted the tourism industry in our region. That is vital to us, given that the nearest capital city to Tyneside, for instance, is Edinburgh, 100 miles to the north. The amount spent on tourism per head of population by the Scottish Government is significantly greater than the amount spent in the north-east of England. That is the market in which we have to compete. We are peripheral to the English economy. I welcome what the hon. Lady has said about strategy and infrastructure, because it is vital to the integrity of the regional economy.

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