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Industrial Strategy

Part of Laser Misuse (Vehicles) Bill [Lords] (Programme) – in the House of Commons at 6:39 pm on 18th April 2018.

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Photo of Lee Rowley Lee Rowley Conservative, North East Derbyshire 6:39 pm, 18th April 2018

I am glad of the opportunity to speak in this important debate. It is a pleasure to follow my hon. Friend Stephen Kerr, who speaks for his area with characteristic vigour. It is also a pleasure to follow my hon. Friend Rachel Maclean, who made the sterling point that the way in which to make sure our country develops economically is through private enterprise and free markets, and ensuring innovation in the private sector, which can create economic growth and jobs. We all want that and have seen it in the past eight years. We hope that that will continue to happen.

I also agree wholeheartedly with my hon. Friend Matt Warman that we should embrace change. We have an opportunity, over the next 10 to 20 years, to make our country into an even better place; to grow the jobs we know we can have, and to develop the new skills and new industries we know are coming. We should embrace them rather than be scared of them. What a contrast those fine speeches were compared to the dystopian and very unbalanced vision from Rebecca Long Bailey about how this country will fall away. I can see how that could happen only under a Labour Government.

I welcome the Government defining some of our key challenges over the next 10 to 20 years: growth, artificial intelligence, meeting the needs of an ageing population, and mobility. I want to focus on mobility. We have heard today about a potential sector deal for the rail industry, which I would welcome wholeheartedly. My area has an historic link to railways and rail manufacturing. My county is the home of Bombardier, although it is not in my particular constituency, which builds a significant number of trains around the country. What a difference the last few years have made, from a company in an industry that may have been struggling to having a really good order book that shows the renaissance of our railways. When I walk out from the station in my town tomorrow, I will see the statue of George Stephenson. He lived just a few miles away from my part of the world and it was his son who developed the Rocket. My part of the world is steeped in history.

When the Secretary of State considers a sector deal for the rail industry, which I endorse wholeheartedly and hope will come forward, I hope there is an opportunity for a cluster in the east midlands, just like the other clusters and sector deals we have talked about and the wonderful work going on in the automotive sector. There is an opportunity for the east midlands to build on Bombardier in Derby, build on the academy that has been put forward in Northampton, build on the news about additional train manufacturing in Lincolnshire and build on all the other opportunities we will have in the future. As part of the industrial strategy and the Government’s mission to build on and improve economic growth and economic development, and the opportunities we have as a country, I hope we can have a sector deal for rail and a cluster that is supported in the fastest growing region outside London and the south-east, which is the east midlands.