Opposition Day — [15th Allotted Day] — Trade, Exports, Innovation and Productivity

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 1:38 pm on 13th January 2016.

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Photo of Anna Soubry Anna Soubry The Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills 1:38 pm, 13th January 2016

We are absolutely delivering, and not just on energy costs. I am hugely proud of the way in which we have changed the procurement rules. The hon. Lady knows that we are determined to continue to do everything we can to keep what the Prime Minister has called a vital industry in production. We do not want to see the blast furnaces close at Port Talbot any more than we want to see them close at Scunthorpe. I note that Anna Turley, as ever, is present. No doubt she will want to intervene at this point, but I must move quickly on; perhaps she will join in the debate later. Let me say to her that if we could have done anything to secure SSI, we would have, because we recognise the importance of the steel industry to the British economy. She can have that assurance. Indeed, the same is true at Dalzell and at Clydebridge. I pay tribute to the Scottish Government: I have been pleased to work with the Deputy First Minister in trying to ensure that we do all we can to keep those two plants open in Scotland.

Trade, exports, innovation and productivity are vital components of the Government’s strategy. That is why we have developed a clear plan of action, and why Scotland, and indeed all parts of the United Kingdom, benefit from our continued commitment to those key priorities. Scotland has been a part of the economic and jobs success story of the last six years as our economic plan for the whole United Kingdom continues to deliver economic security and prosperity for all our people. The biggest threat to businesses, growth and jobs would be a Scotland isolated and cut off from the United Kingdom, led by a party that wants to return to the failed policies of more spending and more borrowing that led us to economic oblivion last time.

Let us stick to the plan that has rescued our economy from the brink and turned it into the fastest-growing economy in the advanced world, and is now tackling the long-term structural issues head on to ensure that there is a more secure future not just for our children but, notably, for our grandchildren. I will not support the motion, and I urge other Members not to support it either.