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Capital Gains Tax (Rates)

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 4:09 pm on 23rd June 2010.

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Photo of Geoffrey Clifton-Brown Geoffrey Clifton-Brown Chair, Committee of Selection 4:09 pm, 23rd June 2010

I am grateful to my hon. Friend. I know that she was upbraided by Mr Deputy Speaker a little while ago-it takes a long time to sort out parliamentary language, and references to "you" and the "hon. Gentleman". She is absolutely right. I was modelling my remarks exactly on Digby Jones, who did a huge amount of work for this country, and spent an enormous amount of time travelling around the world. He had great, in-depth knowledge of huge sections of industry, having served as chairman of the CBI. We need to appoint someone of that calibre, who has the time, energy and availability to be able to do precisely that job.

As I said, the notion that RDAs should have offices around the world competing with one another led to a huge dilution of the UK brand. It caused confusion in the country in which they were located, and it did not serve our interests of attracting foreign direct investment to this country. I have no doubt that Ministers will abolish that structure rapidly, thereby producing much better results. I welcome the proposals for local enterprise partnerships, which are a huge step forward. We can help the private sector by not having a stratified structure of RDAs across the country. We need different structures in different parts of the country, to deal with the problems in each area. We must concentrate Government advice on business sectors, rather than on regions. It was complete nonsense that the Government's car adviser was based in the north-east, unable to give advice to car manufacturers and component suppliers in Birmingham. We must concentrate on sectors, so that the automotive sector, for example, has a proper advice team in the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.

We must try to support those sectors that the UK is good at, and see how we can improve their export structure. I say this with hesitation at the moment, but our oil sector was respected throughout the world. Our pharmaceuticals, defence and financial services sectors were respected throughout the world, too, and in line with Sir James Dyson's recommendations, we must aim to become the No.1 high-tech exporter in Europe. We will do that by concentrating on the new, high-growth market sectors, such as those involving low-carbon and green technologies. Those are the industries of the future, and we ought to concentrate on them. We must also ensure that our universities and their basic research are world-beating, and that companies have the incentive to develop those world-beating ideas into products and services that we can sell in greater and greater quantities throughout the world.

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