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

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 6:21 pm on 13th January 2016.

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Photo of Michelle Thomson Michelle Thomson Independent, Edinburgh West 6:21 pm, 13th January 2016

Thank you, Madam Deputy Speaker, for giving me the opportunity to be the final speaker before the debate is summed up. I must say that I have enjoyed it immensely. The quality of speeches by Members on both sides of the House has been fantastic.

I have a little warning for Richard Graham on the use of the term “doom”. In Scotland, we say that facts are chiels that winna ding. The facts brought out by my hon. Friend Stewart Hosie at the start of the debate stand and are very important. Such a reality check about some of the serious issues in the UK economy must be acknowledged.

Let us turn to the issue of balance. The Chancellor commented in a lecture in 2010:

We have to move away from an economic model that was based on unsustainable private and public debt. And we have to move to a new model of economic growth that is rooted in more investment, more savings and higher exports.”

How did that work out?

Such a sentiment does not extend to the present Government. During an open Business, Innovation and Skills Committee sitting, I questioned the Minister for Small Business, Industry and Enterprise about whether she regretted successive UK Governments’ lack of a cohesive industrial strategy. I make that point because SNP Members sometimes sit listening to the biff-boff from either side of the Chamber, but I think there has been a lack of strategy year on year, regardless of whether it has been under the Tories or Labour. One of the significant benefits in Scotland of constantly having an SNP Government, which I hope will be re-elected, is that we can see the signs of a strategy that has been put in place and acted on, and of the resulting commensurate benefits.