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Amendment of the Law

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 5:42 pm on 24th March 2011.

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Photo of Ian Lucas Ian Lucas Shadow Minister (Business, Innovation and Skills) 5:42 pm, 24th March 2011

I do not have any time to give way; I am sorry. I know that the hon. Gentleman had only three minutes, but I have only nine.

We agree that the country needs to rebalance the economy, and that is why the Labour Government set up the Advanced Manufacturing Centre in Rotherham and the National Composites Centre in Bristol. I encourage the Secretary of State not just to reannounce projects that were set up by the previous Government, but to support manufacturing with some projects of his own. We welcome the progress made on the back of favourable exchange rates, but there are worrying signs in leading companies such as Pfizer and Novartis that we may be losing the edge that we previously enjoyed in hi-tech industry. There are real concerns that cuts in our universities sector will threaten our primacy in science.

When this Government set their course last year they made the wrong choice. Labour’s plan to reduce the deficit was measured and it was working. The Tory Government’s plan is reckless and is not working, a fact evidenced by the ending of growth in the last quarter. The Budget’s downgrading of growth figures is also a fact. They have undermined the fundamentals needed to deliver growth—adequate demand and confidence in the economy—and replaced them with a lack of confidence among businesses and consumers. The result is that there is a real risk of slipping back into recession. We believe that the evidence is there to justify the need for the Government to take a different course. They must change course before they create a further Tory—and this time Liberal Democrat—wasted generation.