Our modern industrial strategy for our whole country will ensure that the UK remains one of the most competitive locations in the world for manufacturing investment. We are investing over £600 million in the high-value manufacturing Catapult, and up to £167 million in our “Made Smarter” industrial digitalisation programme. I hope and believe that this will help UK manufacturers develop, adopt and exploit new technologies to make us really successful in the future.
The British soft drinks industry plays a very important part in the manufacturing sector in our country and should really be applauded for the way in which it has adapted to meet the recent sugar tax. With the Government’s announcement that a bottle return scheme will be introduced in the next few years, will my hon. Friend assure the industry and this House that this scheme will be uniform right across the country?
Much as I would like to do so, I cannot give my hon. Friend that assurance, because waste and recycling policy is a devolved matter. However, it is our preference that the scheme is UK-wide, and we will really be pushing that with the devolved authorities.
The latest monthly figures from the Office for National Statistics reveal that manufacturing output has collapsed into recession territory, with a sixth consecutive month of falling output. As part of that, manufacturing fell 4.9% in the final quarter of last year. Will the Government listen to Labour, trade unions and businesses, and take the threat of a no-deal Brexit off the table to restore manufacturing sector confidence and protect my constituents’ jobs?
I agree with the hon. Lady and with the Prime Minister that a hard Brexit without a deal would be a disaster for the economy of this country, and Toyota, Jaguar Land Rover and many people have said how important the just-in-time process is. I hope that the hon. Lady will listen, and that she will vote for the Prime Minister’s deal, which will give the motor and manufacturing industries the transition period they need.