Economic Productivity

Oral Answers to Questions — Treasury – in the House of Commons on 5th March 2019.

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Photo of Julian Sturdy Julian Sturdy Conservative, York Outer

What fiscal steps he is taking to increase economic productivity.

Photo of Robert Jenrick Robert Jenrick The Exchequer Secretary

The best way to sustainably drive economic growth is to raise productivity, and that is a priority for this Government. We are increasing public investment in economic infrastructure to its highest sustained level in my lifetime. In the autumn Budget, we set out further investments to support business, technical skills and new technologies.

Photo of Julian Sturdy Julian Sturdy Conservative, York Outer

Last month, the Chief Secretary to the Treasury saw for herself the investment that York-based Pavers Shoes is making to change its productivity, yet local businesses are concerned about the effect of traffic congestion on local productivity. With that in mind, will my hon. Friend the Exchequer Secretary assure me that the Treasury is fully behind the Department for Transport’s proposals to fund the dualling of the York northern ring road?

Photo of Robert Jenrick Robert Jenrick The Exchequer Secretary

My right hon. Friend the Chief Secretary says that she saw some very good leopard-print shoes at Pavers Shoes—and she knows a potential customer for them. Pavers is a highly successful business; I have seen for myself in India the success that it is having in selling shoes. We are committed to increasing transport investment in the north of England; the Secretary of State for Transport recently announced the dualling of the A1237 York outer ring road as a scheme in development for the major road network funding.

Photo of Jim Cunningham Jim Cunningham Labour, Coventry South

Does the Minister agree that one of the ways to increase productivity is by maintaining grants at European levels of investment in research and development? We have a lot of good universities in this country.

Photo of Robert Jenrick Robert Jenrick The Exchequer Secretary

This Government are absolutely committed to maintaining research and development; that is why we will be investing in it at record levels. We are also supporting the private sector, for example by making research and development tax credits more generous so that businesses across the country can collaborate with universities to drive the economy forward.

Photo of Bill Grant Bill Grant Conservative, Ayr, Carrick and Cumnock

Does my hon. Friend the Minister agree that the Ayrshire growth deal and other growth deals nationally can act as a catalyst for jobs and productivity? Will he do all he can to support that growth deal?

Photo of Robert Jenrick Robert Jenrick The Exchequer Secretary

Absolutely. We are very excited about the £100 million Ayrshire growth deal and will continue to support that part of Scotland.