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Volume 574: debated on Thursday 23 January 2014

18. What assessment he has made of the potential for reshoring and import substitution in the UK economy. (902151)

There is great potential for business reshoring to Britain. We surveyed manufacturing small and medium-sized enterprises and found that 11% have reshored some production to the UK in the past 12 months. The Automotive Council has identified £3 billion of additional sourcing opportunities. Businesses are bringing activities back to Britain as we become a more flexible and competitive economy.

I believe there is more we can do to help reshoring, for example by making cash contributions to regional growth funds, cutting business rates locally for manufacturers bringing back jobs and adding reshoring to the UK Trade & Investment job description. Does the Minister agree that on import substitution there is a real opportunity to encourage supply chains to get local suppliers to compete for business? For example, Gloucestershire-based ADEY Professional Heating Solutions recently gave a £1.5 million contract to Future Advanced Manufacture, business that was previously being done in China.

My hon. Friend is absolutely right. We are, of course, an open economy and we export and welcome companies from abroad that invest here, but we can do more to support our supply chains so that more prime manufacturers in Britain also purchase from SMEs across the country. Indeed, I remember visiting the company to which he refers. It is an excellent example of what we are talking about.