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Volume 583: debated on Thursday 26 June 2014

Office for National Statistics figures for April show that manufacturing output in the UK rose by 4.4% year on year—the fastest pace since February 2011. Industrial production rose by 1.1% in the three months to April compared with the previous three months—the strongest three-monthly growth since June 2010.

I thank the Minister for that encouraging answer. With the need for more skills in energy engineering in mind, does he agree that it is a very good idea to have a centre for those skills at the now-decommissioned Berkeley power station, and that that represents a significant step in the right direction for the long-term economic plan?

Yes, I do agree. That project is a key part of Gloucestershire’s economic plan, and it can provide the skills that we will need for the next generation of nuclear power stations at Hinkley and Oldbury. We are currently considering Gloucestershire’s request for local growth funding to support the project. I hope to announce the allocation for Gloucestershire as part of the growth deal before the summer recess.