Industrial Strategy Consultation

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 4:46 pm on 23rd January 2017.

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Photo of Greg Clark Greg Clark The Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy 4:46 pm, 23rd January 2017

I thank the hon. Gentleman for his thoughtful remarks. I am impressed that he has reached page 90 already, which shows his diligence. He says that we are brutally honest, but if we are to look forward and have an industrial strategy that reflects the challenges we face, we need to be clear-eyed. On technical education levels and the imbalances, some areas are prosperous and some can catch up, so it is right to be ambitious in that.

The research and development money that the Chancellor announced in the autumn statement is separate from whatever might be decided on the European funds. It was independently granted and is available to universities and research institutions. The consultation on how that money is spent is part of the consultation on this exercise, and the money is for research and development. One of the points we make is that we have often been excellent at producing brilliant new ideas but less successful at commercialising them. Pushing further on how we translate good ideas into practice is an important feature of addressing that.

The hon. Gentleman mentions renewables, which of course are important in Scotland. The emissions reduction plan, which is currently being prepared, will particularly address that but, on the green economy, a chapter of the Green Paper has a big commitment to doing what we can to make sure that we obtain industrial advantage from the investments we are making in green technology.

Finally, the hon. Gentleman says that the biggest threat to the economy is the exit from the European Union. The United Kingdom has been very successful in recent years, and I would say that the biggest threat to that is if the successful alliance of our nations in the United Kingdom were broken up by the independence of Scotland.