Productivity

Oral Answers to Questions — Treasury – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 6th November 2018.

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Photo of Lee Rowley Lee Rowley Conservative, North East Derbyshire 12:00 am, 6th November 2018

What steps he is taking to increase productivity in the economy.

Photo of Robert Jenrick Robert Jenrick The Exchequer Secretary

The Budget set out the next steps in our plan to raise productivity and to grow the economy. That included increasing the national productivity investment fund to more than £37 billion to fund the largest sustained investment in our national infrastructure since the 1970s.

Photo of Lee Rowley Lee Rowley Conservative, North East Derbyshire

With that very increase in infrastructure funding to £37 billion, what opportunities are there in places such as North East Derbyshire to invest in regeneration and communities?

Photo of Robert Jenrick Robert Jenrick The Exchequer Secretary

The plans set out in the Budget were designed exactly for parts of the country such as my hon. Friend’s constituency. The £28.8 billion national roads fund will provide the largest ever investment in our strategic roads, and more money for potholes and pinch points. The future high streets fund will enable small towns across the country, including in the midlands, to be transformed and become thriving communities once more.

Photo of Chris Leslie Chris Leslie Labour/Co-operative, Nottingham East

How does the announcement in the Budget that non-NHS capital funding will actually fall in the coming years help the country’s productivity?

Photo of Robert Jenrick Robert Jenrick The Exchequer Secretary

The Budget announced the largest increase in capital spend in our economic infrastructure since the 1970s. Under this Government, investment in our economic infrastructure will be £460 million a week higher than under the last Labour Government.

Photo of Andrew Jones Andrew Jones Vice-Chair, Conservative Party

The Chancellor has announced that he will be improving productivity by stopping inefficient public sector contracting—basically, abolishing the use of the private finance initiative and private finance 2. Can more be done to reduce the £240 billion bill to our country left by the Labour party?

Photo of Robert Jenrick Robert Jenrick The Exchequer Secretary

Yes. We are ending the scandal of PFI that was created by the last Labour Government. Eighty-six per cent. of PFI contracts were signed by the last Labour Government—91% by value. In addition to retiring PFI we are creating a crack team, beginning in the Department of Health and Social Care, to look back at some of those old contracts and to clean out the stable left by the last Labour Government.

Photo of John Cryer John Cryer Labour, Leyton and Wanstead

This Government and their coalition predecessors have overseen the longest slump in wages in living memory. What effect has that had on productivity?

Photo of Robert Jenrick Robert Jenrick The Exchequer Secretary

The hon. Gentleman may not be aware of this, but real wages are rising. The Government believe that the best way to support working people across the country is to get them into work. Employment is now at its highest level in my lifetime, with 3 million more jobs created and 1 million fewer people on the dole.