Skip to main content

Business Growth

Volume 539: debated on Thursday 2 February 2012

The plan for growth commits the coalition to creating the most competitive tax system in the G20. We will make the UK the best place in Europe to start, finance and grow a business and we will create a more educated work force who will be the most flexible in Europe.

I am most grateful for that answer. Given the vital role of exports in trying to grow our economy and yesterday’s disastrous news about Typhoon not being take up by the Indians, will the Minister meet me and other BAE Systems MPs to find out what his Department can do to get behind BAE Systems?

Let us be absolutely clear that the Prime Minister, the Secretary of State and I have all been on trade missions to India because we recognise its importance as an export market. British exports are growing by 10% and we will continue to argue the case for Typhoon as an excellent and cost-effective deal for the Indian Government. Of course, Ministers would be very happy to meet employees.

Economic growth has been greatly enhanced in east Kent by the huge amount of work done by BIS for the enterprise zone and the regional growth fund. What more can be done through UK Trade & Investment to promote life sciences internationally and to get inward investment into east Kent?

My hon. Friend is absolutely right. Of course, this week is the first anniversary of the announcement by Pfizer that it was planning to close completely its facility at Sandwich. That will now be transformed into a research and business park, not least thanks to the excellent efforts of my hon. Friend. Indeed, Pfizer will be an anchor tenant employing, we believe, 750 Pfizer staff. That shows we can fight back and we can maintain life sciences activity in this country. Through the proposals we set out in December, we aim to increase that.

If we are to get business growth in our country, we must provide finance. Does not the report that the Minister has just made on the green bank show the truth that we want that sort of bank in each region, particularly in Yorkshire and the Humber? We want a bank for every region that knows the local circumstances and will invest in our regions.

I have a lot of sympathy with the argument that overall we need to see much greater diversity in British banking. Indeed, one reason why the Government are implementing the proposals from the Vickers commission is precisely to make it possible to have once more local banks that understand the needs of the local business community and local individuals, but our position on the green investment bank has been made clear by the Secretary of State.