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Advanced Manufacturing

Volume 618: debated on Tuesday 13 December 2016

We are working to make the UK even more competitive in advanced manufacturing by cutting corporation tax and red tape and by increasing our support for the research and innovation that is crucial to success. We are doing that not least through our £300 million investment in the high-value manufacturing catapult centre.

Given the potential increase in tariffs due to Brexit, how does the Minister plan to ensure that high-value manufacturing does not deteriorate?

High-value manufacturing is extremely important to our future—it presents many opportunities but also presents risks that we have to manage—and so will be an important part of our industrial strategy. On the broader concerns about tariffs, the hon. Gentleman has heard it often enough, so he should start believing it: the Government are listening carefully, as I witnessed yesterday, to manufacturing and other sectors about their priorities and concerns as we shape and finalise our negotiating position.

Will the Minister, or one of his ministerial colleagues, meet me and representatives from M+W Group and DBD from my constituency, which are part of a consortium bidding for a vitrification project in China’s nuclear sector? It would give them a lot of confidence if he and his team could meet them and help them to win the contract, which would create hundreds of jobs in this country.

The Government are committed to supporting successful British business to win contracts and generate jobs, so the answer is yes.

The low-carbon energy sector could drive the energy manufacturing industry in this country and be very helpful in developing the industrial strategy, which I fully support. One practical example is small nuclear reactors. Can the Minister tell the House when we can get an announcement on the funding and help for this important sector?

We are reviewing our priorities in relation to the energy innovation portfolio, which sits inside our Department, and the hon. Gentleman will have noticed the comments by the Chancellor at the autumn statement. We are reviewing our priorities and will announce them shortly.