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Volume 406: debated on Wednesday 11 June 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what assessment she has made of the impact of the change in outsourcing outside the UK on (a) employment and (b) job creation. [115047]

Outsourcing is one element of globalisation that also includes rising world trade, and greater flows of foreign direct investment (FDI). The key challenge for the UK is to seize the benefits of globalisation, allowing us to attract more FDI, and sell our goods and services into expanding global markets. The UK has the highest stock of FDI as a percentage of GDP in the G7, demonstrating our success in adapting to the opportunities provided by globalisation.The Office for National Statistics does not produce estimates of job losses arising from outsourcing. The Government do recognise that job losses, from wherever they arise, are regrettable. However, the role of Government is to ensure that the labour market is flexible enough to generate new opportunities, and that workers have the skills to take advantage of them. Employment is close to a record level, and is nearly 1.5 million higher than in April 1997. Moreover, new jobs continue to be created. Around two million people either move into employment or change jobs each quarter.