Economic Growth: South-west — [Albert Owen in the Chair]

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 3:49 pm on 5th February 2019.

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Photo of Jake Berry Jake Berry Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Housing, Communities and Local Government) 3:49 pm, 5th February 2019

It is a privilege to serve under your chairmanship, Mr Owen.

I congratulate my hon. Friend Sir Gary Streeter on securing this important debate. It is not about Brexit, but if I were channelling a famous son of Devon—Samuel Taylor Coleridge, who wrote “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner”—I would say that Conservative Members believe that Brexit is full of opportunities, while the Opposition have already shot the albatross and hung it round the neck of every business in this country, because they see Brexit only as a risk.

Chi Onwurah said that Labour has a real industrial strategy. As Minister for local growth, I must tell her that I visit businesses all over the United Kingdom and they tell me that they have one thing on their risk register at the moment: not Brexit, but a Labour Government. Industrial strategies are not created by political parties that believe in the appropriation and removal of businesses from their owners. It is a Labour Prime Minister, not Brexit, that is the real risk.