Foreign Direct Investment

Oral Answers to Questions — Scotland – in the House of Commons on 20th February 2019.

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Photo of Theresa Villiers Theresa Villiers Conservative, Chipping Barnet

What steps he is taking to encourage foreign direct investment in Scotland.

Photo of Mel Stride Mel Stride Financial Secretary to the Treasury and Paymaster General

The UK promotes UK FDI throughout the world. In 2017, 76,000 new jobs were created in the UK as a consequence. There are 141 FDI projects in Scotland, creating about 4,000 jobs in Scotland.

Photo of Theresa Villiers Theresa Villiers Conservative, Chipping Barnet

Does my right hon. Friend agree that one of the reasons behind record levels of foreign direct investment into Scotland is its place in the United Kingdom, the most successful political union in history?

Photo of Mel Stride Mel Stride Financial Secretary to the Treasury and Paymaster General

I agree entirely with that. Scotland benefits enormously through being part of what is the world’s fifth largest economy and one of the most dynamic and successful economies in the world.

Photo of Stewart McDonald Stewart McDonald Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Defence)

Does the Financial Secretary agree with me that the First Minister has an important role to play in bringing foreign investment to Scotland, and that any criticisms, including those from his own colleagues in Holyrood, border on the provincial to the ridiculous, unless of course they believe that the office of First Minister is a stay-at-home job?

Photo of Mel Stride Mel Stride Financial Secretary to the Treasury and Paymaster General

The First Minister of course has a critical role in ensuring that investment is channelled towards Scotland, but I do not believe that promoting Scottish independence is a way of attracting investment.

Photo of Kirstene Hair Kirstene Hair Conservative, Angus

On the First Minister’s recent trip to Canada, it was reported that she did not mention Scotland’s proudest export, Scotch whisky, once. Does the Minister agree with me that the best way for the First Minister to secure more foreign direct investment into Scotland is to stop prancing around the world flogging independence, and do what she is supposed to be doing, which is to be back in the country she is supposed to be leading? She should be reducing taxes, bettering our public services and making Scotland a more lucrative place in which to do business?

Photo of Mel Stride Mel Stride Financial Secretary to the Treasury and Paymaster General

My hon. Friend is entirely right. Increasing investment in Scotland is not about promoting Scottish independence; it is about promoting Scottish products and business. We froze duty on whisky at the last Budget —whisky itself represents about 20% of all the food and drink sales from the United Kingdom. We will stand behind that and other Scottish exports.