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

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 4:09 pm on 13th January 2016.

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Photo of Kwasi Kwarteng Kwasi Kwarteng Conservative, Spelthorne 4:09 pm, 13th January 2016

There is always a case for Government supporting industry by setting the table, by setting the context—making sure the economic management is good and the regulation tolerable. I am reminded of the phrase of Adam Smith—I mention him not simply because he was Scottish but because he made some good points—about easy taxes and a tolerable administration of justice. These are the things Governments can affect. It is difficult, however, for Governments directly to subsidise individual industries exposed to the vagaries of international markets and massive price fluctuations.

This has been a valuable debate with some very good speeches, but I suggest we think more about how the British economy has evolved, instead of using terms that date from the 1960s and before, when the structure of British industry was very different.