Ceramic and Brick Industries

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 5:13 pm on 15th June 2016.

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Photo of Kevin Brennan Kevin Brennan Shadow Minister (Business, Innovation and Skills) 5:13 pm, 15th June 2016

My hon. Friend is absolutely right, which is why the issues that have been identified in the debate are so important and why it is very important that the Minister responds to each of the asks in the EARTH campaign, with particular reference to the Government’s slight obsession with pushing through market economy status for China. It is clear from the recent vote in the European Parliament—it was cross-party, cross-sector and an overwhelming result—that there are strong feelings about that matter, yet the Government seem intent on pushing ahead, despite such a strong expression of opinion. I would be grateful if the Minister could update us on whether that is having any influence on the thinking and whether the Government are listening seriously to the voice of industry with regard to that.

I do not want to take up any more time because we want to hear from the Minister, but I urge her to listen to the requests from hon. Members and the demands from the industry, and tell us what she is doing about the proposal to create a materials catapult for the UK sector, with bricks and ceramics at the heart of that research and development, together with steel, aluminium, glass and those sorts of materials. That could give the sort of assurance to those great British industries that secures their continuity well into the 21st century.