If he will make an assessment of the potential contribution of the Sirius Minerals polyhalite project to the industrial strategy.
The Sirius Minerals polyhalite project has the potential to create 1,000 skilled jobs at the mine near Whitby and on Teesside, with many more jobs in their supply chains. That is an important type of business that will benefit from our industrial strategy, creating skilled jobs in the north of England.
I am sure the Minister is aware of the recent Quod report, which shows the long-term economic benefits of this investment. The polyhalite fertiliser mining project does not only bring the 1,000 jobs that the Minister mentioned but is the largest single investment in the north. Product will be exported to the world through Teesport, growing the local economy by almost 20% and adding £2.3 billion to the economy. Does the Minister agree that that is precisely the kind of project that the Government should be getting behind as part of the modern industrial strategy?
I agree with my right hon. Friend. This is a very important project for him, as the Member of Parliament for Whitby. It is an important developing business, and I agree that it is exactly the kind of business that would benefit from our industrial strategy.
I worked for some years in the chemical industry, so let us talk in real terms. We are talking about potash, and as one of the biggest reserves of potash in Europe, this business is seriously important. On a day like today, when we face the ruination of Brexit, when my local engineering companies are desperate about losing their markets in Europe and when Ministers are resigning, it is vital that we use this resource to compensate for the disaster in the rest of the economy.
I agree with the hon. Gentleman; this potash project is very exciting and very good for the UK. It is exactly the kind of business that he would want in his area, and it will help businesses throughout the United Kingdom.