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UK Productivity

Volume 706: debated on Tuesday 11 January 2022

As we recover from the pandemic, the Government are seizing the opportunity to drive up productivity. We seek to level up the private sector in all parts of the UK.

I recently visited the Financial Planning Corporation in my constituency, whose impressive productivity has enabled it to expand its business. Will the Secretary of State confirm that if bills and taxes go up in the spring, local businesses will continue to operate in a productive environment, free from bureaucracy and unnecessary red tape?

Absolutely. I know that my hon. Friend is doing an excellent job of representing his constituents and making sure that the Government deliver on the levelling-up agenda.

Buying British is a great way for the Government to boost productivity, so why are they buying so many covid tests from China? Many of those tests have only temporary approval from the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency and are now banned in the United States. In contrast, the MHRA is delaying approval for British test manufacturers, who have approval and can sell around the world but not here. Surely the Secretary of State is not going to tell us that the MHRA has a different set of standards from those in all other countries. When will he get behind British manufacturers who want to play their part in fixing the shortage of covid tests?

The hon. Gentleman will know that the UK has led the world in life sciences manufacturing. I am delighted that the Under-Secretary of State, my hon. Friend the Member for Mid Norfolk (George Freeman), has taken up the role of life sciences Minister. He has engaged with our manufacturing base, and people look to the UK as an outstanding example of a world-leading life sciences manufacturing nation.