Industrial Strategy (Rural Areas)

Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 12th September 2017.

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Photo of Philippa Whitford Philippa Whitford Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Health) 12:00 am, 12th September 2017

What plans he has to ensure that the industrial strategy is effectively implemented in rural areas.

Photo of Greg Clark Greg Clark The Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy

Some of the biggest economic opportunities are in the rural parts of the United Kingdom, and I welcome the contribution of many rural representative groups to the development of our industrial strategy, including several organisations in Ayrshire.

Photo of Philippa Whitford Philippa Whitford Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Health)

Ayrshire has enormous industrial potential, including as a possible site for the medical manufacturing innovation centre and, of course, for the UK’s first spaceport, but for it to succeed and for local people to benefit and access those jobs we require wider infrastructure development. Ayrshire is not covered by a city deal, so will the Secretary of State speak to the Chancellor and back a full Ayrshire growth deal?

Photo of Greg Clark Greg Clark The Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy

The hon. Lady knows that I have great enthusiasm for a deal in Ayrshire, and conversations around that are ongoing. I am sure that she will welcome the progress being made on the spaceport, which is important for Prestwick, and the £3.5 million support for the Halo project at the old Johnnie Walker bottling plant in Kilmarnock. A lot is being done in Ayrshire, but I would like that progress to continue.

Photo of Jo Churchill Jo Churchill Conservative, Bury St Edmunds

Has the Secretary of State considered rural enterprise zones? Small, targeted areas within small rural communities would help to drive business in those environments.

Photo of Greg Clark Greg Clark The Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy

My hon. Friend makes an excellent suggestion. There are particular opportunities for start-ups and smaller businesses to locate in rural areas, where premises may be more available than in towns. Clustering them together so that they can support each other is an excellent suggestion and I will take it forward.