Around 630,000 jobs in the north-west were supported by exports in 2016, and export—[Interruption.]
Export activity helped support a further 472,000 jobs in the region through the consumption spending of export workers in the wider economy. In total, more than 1.1 million jobs—not a laughing matter, Mr Speaker—in the region are linked to exports in some way.
Napoleon said that Britain was a nation of shopkeepers; I want to say that Bolton is a town of exporters. I recently hosted the parliamentary export programme in Bolton North East, seeking to help Bolton businesses such as Ajax Equipment and Velden Engineering to take advantage of new trading relations. Across Greater Manchester, foreign direct investment and foreign capital investment are worth £37 billion to the local economy. What actions is the Minister taking to put Bolton North East at the forefront of the global stage when it comes to research and development?
It is as much my hon. Friend as me who is putting Bolton North East at the forefront. He has joined colleagues as a member of the parliamentary export programme, and I congratulate him on hosting a recent event. He will have seen that we are working hard to help Bolton North East companies take advantage of new global opportunities and promoting a strong north-west R&D offer to international investors through the high potential opportunities programme in frontier sectors such as molecular diagnostics, lightweighting and sustainable packaging.