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Business in Scotland: Support

Volume 647: debated on Tuesday 16 October 2018

6. What recent discussions he has had with the Chancellor of the Exchequer on the level of UK Government financial support available to businesses in Scotland. (907076)

The Chancellor and I work closely together to support businesses across the United Kingdom. I also work with the Cabinet Secretary for Finance, Economy and Fair Work in the Scottish Government to ensure that we can create the right environment for innovative businesses throughout Scotland to thrive. Indeed, I will be meeting him again later this afternoon.

I hope the Secretary of State has heard that the Scottish Government have provided £18 million as part of a £65 million package of investment for its National Manufacturing Institute, which will be good news for manufacturers in Airdrie and Shotts, so will he change his industrial strategy to match that funding?

The industrial strategy is something on which we have good collaboration with the Scottish Government. It is right that we should work together for the long term. If we want to make sure that Scottish businesses can thrive, there needs to be a competitive environment. One thing that I know is very much on the minds of Scottish businesses is that Scotland is the highest taxed part of the United Kingdom, which is a substantial drain on confidence. I hope the hon. Gentleman will take that back to his colleagues and discuss it with them.

The hon. Member for Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross (Jamie Stone) has Question 21, which is on the matter of businesses, and he does come from Scotland. It therefore would be pertinent for him to come in at this point if he wishes.

21. Really first-class broadband connectivity is crucial to young people getting into business. Do Her Majesty’s Government recognise that the low level of broadband connectivity is a serious issue in my constituency? (907092)

I do recognise that, not just in the case of hon. Gentleman’s beautiful but remote constituency but in the case of those of very many hon. Members across the country. This is a commitment that we have made in the industrial strategy. If we are to be a successful economy, using digital skills and attracting digital businesses, we need an upgrade in our broadband infrastructure.