Economic Trends

Oral Answers to Questions — Scotland – in the House of Commons at 11:30 am on 23rd March 2016.

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Photo of Karen Lumley Karen Lumley Conservative, Redditch 11:30 am, 23rd March 2016

What recent discussions he has had with business groups on economic trends in Scotland.

Photo of David Mundell David Mundell The Secretary of State for Scotland

I regularly meet a wide range of business organisations to discuss economic issues in Scotland. As I alluded to, last week I shared a platform with the First Minister of Scotland at the annual forum of the Scottish Council for Development and Industry, where we discussed the important issue of productivity.

Photo of Karen Lumley Karen Lumley Conservative, Redditch

Given that businesses in Redditch have welcomed the devolution deal for Birmingham, what representations have business groups in Scotland made to my right hon. Friend about city deals there?

Photo of David Mundell David Mundell The Secretary of State for Scotland

I have been particularly delighted at the welcome from business groups in Scotland for the announcement yesterday of the Inverness and Highland city deal. The Scottish Government, UK Government and Highland Council will deliver a £315 million package. I welcome in particular the early-day motion from Drew Hendry and his colleagues. I pay tribute to him for his part in bringing the deal about.

Photo of Liz McInnes Liz McInnes Shadow Minister (Communities and Local Government)

The Secretary of State will be aware that about 400,000 workers in Scotland earn less than the living wage. The Government claim to be on the side of working people, so why have his Scottish Tory colleagues voted repeatedly alongside the SNP Government to thwart Scottish Labour proposals to extend the living wage?

Photo of David Mundell David Mundell The Secretary of State for Scotland

I will resist the temptation to give the hon. Lady a lecture on the Scottish Labour party’s woes and the fact that it has not been a credible opposition to the SNP in Scotland. This Government are very, very clear on our proposals to increase the wages of the poorest in society by the introduction of the national living wage.

Photo of John Stevenson John Stevenson Conservative, Carlisle

Local government clearly has a role to play in economic development. Does the Secretary of State agree that it is important that the Scottish Parliament also devolves power to local government? Might it look to England for a lead—on elected mayors, for example?

Photo of David Mundell David Mundell The Secretary of State for Scotland

I very much take my hon. Friend’s comments. When I spoke with the First Minister of Scotland at the Scottish Council for Development and Industry forum last week, I was particularly encouraged by what she said about her support for city deals. I hope that the city deals we see emerging in Scotland will not just include financial packages but go on to include greater devolution within Scotland.

Photo of Lisa Cameron Lisa Cameron Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Climate Justice)

People in my constituency are extremely concerned about the perceived impact on the local economy and local jobs of the proposed closure of HMRC sites. What impact assessment is being made of these closures on the local economy and jobs?

Photo of David Mundell David Mundell The Secretary of State for Scotland

Initial proposals have been set out for the future shape of HMRC. We hear repeatedly in the House about the wish to make HMRC more efficient and effective, but no steps will be taken in the hon. Lady’s constituency or elsewhere without full consultation with all those involved.