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Plan for Growth Sector Visions

Volume 697: debated on Tuesday 22 June 2021

What industries his Department is planning to include in the sector visions set out in the Plan for Growth. (901601)

The details of the sector visions will be set out by the relevant Departments in the coming months. In developing the visions, the Government will consider the role of the state in supporting high-growth sectors that have the potential to build a globally competitive advantage, as well as how the sectors can also be used to support wider objectives, for example levelling up or enabling a transition to net zero.

I am very grateful to the Financial Secretary for his response. He heard the Chairman of the Treasury Committee, the right hon. Member for Central Devon (Mel Stride), mention the tourism and travel sectors, and I encourage him to look on them favourably, but from my perspective, aerospace remains the No. 1 private employer in my constituency and across Northern Ireland. It employs more than 6,500 people. Last year was a difficult year for aerospace and still it turned over £1.4 billion. It has high-end and high-level manufacturing skills that we cannot lose. I hope the sector will feature in the plans that are brought forward.

I am very grateful to the hon. Gentleman for the comments he makes. I share his view that aerospace is a very important strategic industry for the country as a whole and, of course, particularly for Northern Ireland and his constituency. Let me reassure him that the sector visions we are discussing will be guided by considerations of comparative advantage—we have a considerable comparative advantage in many areas of aerospace—and future growth potential—I do not think anyone doubts that that is an area. He will know that we are investing very heavily in supporting that sector in the transition to net zero, with green fuels and electric flights, and also supporting levelling up. Those all play into a very positive story for Northern Ireland as well as the rest of the UK.