The Government’S Productivity Plan

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 4:11 pm on 28th February 2017.

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Photo of Chi Onwurah Chi Onwurah Shadow Minister (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) (Industrial Strategy) 4:11 pm, 28th February 2017

I agree with the hon. Gentleman that it is not only about what we invest but about the returns and where those returns go. For example, it is about how the public sector ensures that it reaps those returns.

We can use statistics in many different ways, and I will not attempt a battle of statistics here, but I hope the hon. Gentleman is not arguing that the UK is leading the world. However we account for it, the UK is not leading the world in investment in technology, science and R and D, which is where our future lies. We need greater investment in that. [Interruption.] I am not sure what the Minister is saying from a sedentary position, but I hope to be enlightened at some point.

Again, the Government’s industrial strategy has absolutely nothing to say about ensuring that sectors such as retail can take up technology. The Government chose to cherry-pick certain favoured sectors for backroom deals and failed to address the root cause of our productivity crisis, leaving the majority of British workers out in the cold.

Skills and technology are key to improving productivity, but we also need a strategic vision, which is notably absent from the Government’s productivity plan. As Amanda Milling highlighted, we need a plan and a strategy. When the Government’s industrial strategy came out, we saw that it had plenty of pillars but no vision. Adding the 10 pillars of the industrial strategy to the two pillars of the productivity plan results in 12 pillars and no vision. The Government are building pillars on hot air.

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