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Volume 405: debated on Friday 16 May 2003

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To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what steps is he taking to support manufacturing in the North West. [113464]

Manufacturers globally are facing difficult times as the world economy slows. This Government remains committed to delivering a stable macroeconomic environment which will allow businesses to plan, invest and grow, whilst at the same time taking a range of measures to boost Productivity, Enterprise and Skills.In particular, corporation tax is now lower than in any major industrialised country. Cuts in capital gains tax mean the UK's CGT regime will be more favourable than the US's since April. R&D tax credits for large companies will provide an important boost to UK manufacturing and Regional development Agencies have been created to drive growth in every region.The North West has a forward-looking RDA, pioneering new approaches to better co-ordination and delivery of business support and workforce development, and to working more closely with universities. The North West development Agency has helped create the UK's first regional Science & Industry Council, helping to finance science-led projects in bio-manufacturing and the creation of a world-class science and technology university hub in Manchester. The NWDA has also been allocated £991 million for the three years to 2005–06 to play a key role in driving economic development and regeneration across the region.