Finance (No. 2) Bill

Part of Bill Presented – in the House of Commons at 3:15 pm on 1st April 2014.

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Photo of Bridget Phillipson Bridget Phillipson Opposition Whip (Commons) 3:15 pm, 1st April 2014

That is absolutely the case. One of the ways in which Sunderland has diversified its economy has been to move towards software. The number of new small software firm start-ups is among the highest in the UK. Many of them are looking to expand into and open offices in Europe and I have no doubt that they do not find helpful the constant discussion we are having about Britain’s role in Europe. They want to expand what they export and their role in Europe by opening offices there. They do not want to have a pointless debate about Britain’s role; they just want to get on, create jobs, invest in our region and continue to diversify our economy. I have no doubt that my hon. Friend, like me, will recognise the fact that there was a big shift in the north-east economy in the 1980s and ’90s. We have transformed our industries, although that has not been entirely of our own choosing—we had to transform them. In fact, given the transition that had to take place, we have been remarkably successful. The fact that the software sector in Sunderland continues to grow, including in Rainton Bridge in my constituency, shows what we are capable of in the north-east, but we need the Government to work with us to achieve it.