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Industrial Strategy

Part of Laser Misuse (Vehicles) Bill [Lords] (Programme) – in the House of Commons at 6:50 pm on 18th April 2018.

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Photo of Richard Harrington Richard Harrington Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) 6:50 pm, 18th April 2018

I am very sorry, but there is not time to give way.

Following an Adjournment debate held by my hon. Friend Jack Brereton, I have met representatives of the ceramics industry and we are making progress—thanks to his efforts and those of other Members of Parliament, as well as the efforts of Laura Cohen and Kevin Oakes. We understand the ceramics business and we hope to be able to progress matters with them.

I thought at first that my hon. Friend Matt Warman was living in the 1840s, but the only person I know who does that is the Leader of the Opposition and he is not in the Chamber this afternoon. My hon. Friend showed us very eloquently that the lessons of the 1840s and the Government’s responsibility to harness developing technology go absolutely to the centre of the industrial strategy.

My hon. Friend Michelle Donelan talked about the skills gap in Wiltshire—another important aspect of the industrial strategy—and mentioned a retraining scheme, which is about people and places. My hon. Friend Vicky Ford mentioned many sectors in Chelmsford. She showed that she had really read the industrial strategy and seen what it means in her constituency, and she is continuing to support it.

My hon. Friend Rachel Maclean said that Birmingham is better than Manchester. I cannot comment on that, although I would say that neither of them is as good as Watford, but you would expect me to say that, Mr Speaker. Seriously, she continues to argue for a town deal for Redditch, and I am very happy to meet her to discuss the idea of a free port.

My hon. Friend Stephen Kerr is absolutely right to say that the University of Stirling is a jewel. Our universities are jewels, but the industrial strategy is helping them to work together with business and the commercial world, as I saw only two weeks ago when I helped to launch a new science hub at the University of Hertfordshire.