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Leaving the EU: Regional Economic Effects

Volume 617: debated on Thursday 1 December 2016

4. What plans his Department has to assess the potential economic effects of the UK exiting the EU across different regions and nations of the UK. (907592)

The Department is carrying out a programme of work to analyse the economic significance and trade dynamics of more than 50 sectors of the economy. That includes analysis at both national and regional levels. Ministers and officials also have an extensive programme of bilateral meetings and visits across the country to listen to the views of business.

But we know from academic research that the regions in the north of England will be hit the hardest by Brexit. Further to previous questions that I have raised in this House about the fact that the Department has no staff based outside London, may I ask the Minister whether that position has now been reconsidered, and if so, how many will be based in Merseyside?

The hon. Lady is entirely wrong. The north-west of England is extremely important to our Department’s consideration of the negotiations and the terms of Brexit. I have to tell her that if she regards the Government’s proposals for the northern powerhouse as something that is inimical to the interests of the north-west, I am astonished.

14. Does the Minister agree that there are potential economic impacts on the regions, nations and ports of this country, including the Port of Dover, which accounts for a quarter of the trade with the European Union? Will he meet me to look at whether we can prioritise it for investment to ensure that it continues to boom post-Brexit? Will he visit Dover? (907604)

My hon. Friend is entirely right: ports are absolutely crucial to the economic welfare of this country, not only in their own right but as enablers of trade. Ports have an extremely high significance, and I will of course be pleased to meet him to discuss the matter further.

16. My constituency is one of the most deprived areas in Europe. The last round of regional EU funding for Neath and Port Talbot launched 485 small and medium-sized enterprises, supported 7,300 people into work, and created 1,355 jobs and 5,000 apprenticeships. What is the Government’s plan to continue this vital financial support for Neath, Wales and the UK regions once the UK exits the EU? (907606)

As the hon. Lady will know, my right hon. Friend the Chancellor has absolutely guaranteed the continuance of support for such programmes to 2020. She has to bear it in mind that the European Commission itself will not be making its own consideration of any future schemes until that time. We will of course take very seriously the issues that she mentions, but at this stage I cannot confirm anything.

23. Rolls-Royce is one of the largest employers in my constituency and aerospace is of critical importance to the north-west economy. Will my right hon. Friend assure me that the concerns of the aerospace sector will remain one of his top priorities? (907613)

Yes. We fully acknowledge the importance of the aerospace sector, which is a major employer in his constituency and in many other parts of the country. It is very clear to us that, for example, integrated supply chains are important to that industry, which is why we are engaging extremely closely with the industry. Indeed, I had meetings earlier this week.

Can the Minister detail the “significant powers”—to use the words of his colleague the Secretary of State for Scotland when he appeared on the “Sunday Politics Scotland” programme—due to be devolved to Scotland?

The matter of what powers reside where after we leave the European Union remains to be considered.