[Katy Clark in the Chair] — Manufacturing and Engineering

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 9:30 am on 6th March 2012.

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Photo of Neil Carmichael Neil Carmichael Conservative, Stroud 9:30 am, 6th March 2012

That is right, and a good point, which underlines the one I was making. I like statistics that do that, so I thank my hon. Friend. We simply must make sure that we have that kind of range and opportunity.

I wanted to discuss planning. We need a cultural change in local authorities. They must start to think in terms of economic growth, as well as slapping up houses, so to speak. We cannot have them being awkward about business planning applications. I came across a good example yesterday, relating to investment in our super-broadband highway. Too often planning authorities stand in the way of the very investment that is needed, by being awkward about granting planning permission; that is something we must deal with.

Procurement is the next area I want to mention. There is another great firm in my constituency: DuroWipers makes the best wipers imaginable for battleships, or any ships, in really rough weather. They will not break. What does the firm want? It just wants better access to the big buyers such as the Ministry of Defence. We say that we want small businesses to have that access, and we must make sure they get it. DuroWipers is a good example of the kind of firm that would benefit enormously.

My hon. Friend the Member for Filton and—