Live Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Questions House of Commons


Live Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Questions

Live coverage of questions in the House of Commons to business, energy and industrial strategy secretary Greg Clark and his ministerial team.


Similar Content

Browse content similar to Live Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Questions. Check below for episodes and series from the same categories and more!

Transcript


LineFromTo

the day, at 11 o'clock tonight. First we have questions from the

:00:00.:00:00.

business, energy and industrial strategy secretary Greg Clark and

:00:00.:00:14.

his team of ministers. Questions on energy strategy. Question one Mr

:00:15.:00:21.

Speaker. Mr Nick Hurd. I will ask this question with Foran 14. Between

:00:22.:00:27.

1990 and 2015 hour missions have fallen over a third while our

:00:28.:00:33.

economy has grown over 60%, since 2010 policy has contributed to the

:00:34.:00:39.

state-run bling of renewable electricity capacity. I thank the

:00:40.:00:47.

Minister for his answer, businesses and Scottish renewables sector

:00:48.:00:50.

predict that one in six jobs are at risk in the next six months due to

:00:51.:00:55.

changes in government support. Will the government take action now to

:00:56.:00:59.

make sure that we grasp the opportunities that our fantastic

:01:00.:01:04.

energy resources provide. Few countries certainly in Europe done

:01:05.:01:09.

more to expand renewable energy and electricity capacity since 2010, and

:01:10.:01:16.

the economy sector now employs over 220,000 people. She's questioning

:01:17.:01:21.

our continuing commitment to renewable energy, I refer her to the

:01:22.:01:26.

public commitment to the forthcoming thing to secure less renewable --

:01:27.:01:31.

assessment your renewable technologies. This report, and

:01:32.:01:39.

another one on North American biomass both concluded that the use

:01:40.:01:45.

of these pellets, are high carbon. Given that, there was a review

:01:46.:01:50.

promised in 2012, will the government conduct an urgent review,

:01:51.:01:54.

a moratorium on new subsidies for biomass. As the honourable gentleman

:01:55.:02:03.

knows, we have reviewed and adjusted this in relation to biomass and we

:02:04.:02:06.

will keep that under regular reviews. Thank you Mr Speaker given

:02:07.:02:12.

that Scotland's renewable energy will be cheaper than that produced

:02:13.:02:16.

at Hinkley Point by the time it is complete and Brexit is already

:02:17.:02:20.

pushing out build cost in an environment where the UK Government

:02:21.:02:25.

has unilaterally decided to abandon the protection of Europe Tom. Will

:02:26.:02:30.

we scrap the costly nuclear accession instead replace it with

:02:31.:02:38.

nuclear. You bless me with powers I'd date possess. Previous

:02:39.:02:46.

governments, neglected the power infrastructure, this is a challenge

:02:47.:02:51.

that the government is gripping. As I said before, few countries have

:02:52.:02:55.

done more to make the transition to cleaner energy, a trebling of

:02:56.:02:59.

capacity in terms of renewable electricity and the commitment to

:03:00.:03:03.

Hinkley Point offers are so potential, 7% of the electricity,

:03:04.:03:09.

low carbon -based power. Colleagues in both houses have signed an

:03:10.:03:16.

offshore blade, on the Isle of Wight. While also arranging a

:03:17.:03:21.

schools outreach programme. With my right honourable friend agree that

:03:22.:03:26.

this sort of initiative raises awareness of how low-carbon

:03:27.:03:29.

renewable energy technology can insure, that the UK reaches its

:03:30.:03:34.

potential of exporting its first-class engineering and advanced

:03:35.:03:42.

manufacturing worldwide? I thank my honourable friend and I wholly

:03:43.:03:47.

endorse what he is saying, and the Secretary of State and myself saw

:03:48.:03:50.

first visiting this new Siemens offshore wind blade turbine factory

:03:51.:03:56.

in Hull, just what this technology and engineering can do to inspire

:03:57.:04:00.

particularly young people in the area about opportunities for

:04:01.:04:06.

employment in this exciting sector. Layla nuclear power is an important

:04:07.:04:10.

part of the transition to a low carbon economy, can the minister

:04:11.:04:19.

update us on the small reactor competition. Can I welcome the

:04:20.:04:25.

ladies election to the select committee. She is right, any

:04:26.:04:31.

innovation is critical to our future ability to reducing the cost of geek

:04:32.:04:38.

organisation. To unlocking, the opportunity, so we are reviewing our

:04:39.:04:42.

plans, I feel I can say that the nuclear industry is a very important

:04:43.:04:46.

part of those plans and I hope we will have something to say shortly.

:04:47.:04:51.

In the south-west we don't share the SNP's negative view on the Hinkley

:04:52.:04:56.

Point power station project. Will he reassure me about what work the

:04:57.:04:59.

government is doing to ensure that the young people have the skills to

:05:00.:05:07.

take the jobs in these industries? I thank my honourable friend for

:05:08.:05:09.

correcting the impression that investment in new jobs in the

:05:10.:05:13.

nuclear industry is somehow bad news given the commitment that 75% of the

:05:14.:05:19.

content of Hinkley Point should be supplied from this country. But just

:05:20.:05:24.

as important is the contribution it makes to upgrading the power

:05:25.:05:27.

infrastructure to make sure that the country has the ability to access

:05:28.:05:32.

reliable low-carbon stuff in the future. Last week the budget failed

:05:33.:05:37.

to stop the 800% rise in business rates for companies that installed

:05:38.:05:41.

solar panels, this week research published in the journal nature

:05:42.:05:44.

energy says that to achieve our targets in the Paris agreement, we

:05:45.:05:49.

need to set out longer-term plans beyond 2050, the government has now

:05:50.:05:54.

dithered for five years and still refuses to publish its own

:05:55.:05:57.

implementation plan, even up to 2030. How does the minister proposed

:05:58.:06:01.

to increase the low-carbon exports when he can't even set out how we

:06:02.:06:06.

will achieve the medium-term targets. The honourable gentleman

:06:07.:06:12.

accuses us of dithering, if you see is the performance on emissions, one

:06:13.:06:17.

of the most successful, since 1990. He talks about delaying the

:06:18.:06:21.

emissions, and also, the fifth carbon budget was only set last

:06:22.:06:25.

July. This country and this government has a very proud record

:06:26.:06:29.

in terms of proving that we can reduce emissions while growing the

:06:30.:06:35.

economy. The 30 large wind turbines in Kettering Borough, is becoming

:06:36.:06:39.

very close to generating more green electricity than it consumes. But

:06:40.:06:43.

what incentives are there in the business rate system, the planning

:06:44.:06:48.

system, to award housing developments and business start-ups

:06:49.:06:55.

that are low-carbon? I thank my honourable friend for pointing out

:06:56.:06:58.

how much progress we are making at the local level as well as the

:06:59.:07:03.

national level in terms of the transition. That has been

:07:04.:07:06.

facilitated by a series of substantial investment, through

:07:07.:07:11.

public subsidies, and we review now, as we look to encourage the

:07:12.:07:14.

deployment of renewable energy through competitive markets, what

:07:15.:07:20.

else we can do through the tools of government to facilitate that. Our

:07:21.:07:26.

concern on Hinkley Point is that the government appears to be stacking

:07:27.:07:29.

the deck in favour of nuclear power over much cheaper renewable energy.

:07:30.:07:35.

The strike price for Hinckley was 92.5 in 2012 compare to a much lower

:07:36.:07:44.

82.54 offshore wind in 2015. Yet when looking in the value for money

:07:45.:07:50.

assessment, the government assumes a 90 strike price for renewables, they

:07:51.:07:55.

inflating the pricing pass on to Hinckley? I hope the honourable

:07:56.:07:58.

gentleman doesn't want to give the wrong impression, he knows with his

:07:59.:08:03.

expense that one of the keys to successful energy policies died

:08:04.:08:08.

averse to supply. That is the key of energy security. And ensuring that

:08:09.:08:12.

diversity of supply is what we are trying to do as a government. The

:08:13.:08:17.

Minister has completely missed the point about the comparison and they

:08:18.:08:22.

commission frontier economic to look at the whole impact of electricity

:08:23.:08:28.

generation models. Despite repeated Parliamentary questions, that report

:08:29.:08:31.

has not been published. Mr Speaker if the government has nothing to

:08:32.:08:36.

hide, why are they hiding things? I'm not aware of hiding anything,

:08:37.:08:40.

I'm making a point of the diverse energy supply. One of the most

:08:41.:08:45.

encouraging things is the progress that we have made in terms of policy

:08:46.:08:50.

structure to drive greater competition, to get better prices

:08:51.:08:54.

for consumers and the taxpayer from the public subsidies available, and

:08:55.:08:57.

I hope that will be evident very soon in the results of the

:08:58.:09:04.

forthcoming auctions. We are committed to making the UK the

:09:05.:09:07.

global go to nation for scientists, in orators and tech investors, and

:09:08.:09:12.

that is why as part of the industrial strategy, we will

:09:13.:09:15.

announce the increase of ?4.7 billion in public are indeed funds,

:09:16.:09:18.

the biggest increase in site support for 40 years. I welcome the

:09:19.:09:25.

government 's recent 40 million investment, and development in space

:09:26.:09:29.

technology including the university led National space Park. Could the

:09:30.:09:32.

minister tell a house what further steps you can take to encourage the

:09:33.:09:35.

space industrial cluster in the Midlands? The space industry has an

:09:36.:09:42.

important role to play in driving growth across the UK and the

:09:43.:09:44.

government is working closely with the centre to make this a reality.

:09:45.:09:48.

I'm pleased that Leicestershire is grasping this. The satellite

:09:49.:09:54.

applications catapult has funded a centre of excellence, focused on

:09:55.:09:58.

linking industry to local and national expertise, in addition, the

:09:59.:10:02.

UK space agency is supporting business incubators in Leicester,

:10:03.:10:04.

Nottingham and Loughborough to develop innovative start-ups. The

:10:05.:10:13.

page 98 of the government industrial strategy talks about the importance

:10:14.:10:17.

of long-term institutions and many of those who work in science and

:10:18.:10:20.

industry in Wirral and elsewhere feel that the single market is a

:10:21.:10:23.

long-term is that you should that has served them well. Can I ask the

:10:24.:10:27.

Minister whether he has asked the Prime Minister to change course and

:10:28.:10:30.

keep our country in the single market. The UK is indeed a

:10:31.:10:37.

powerhouse for academic research and collaborations with institutions in

:10:38.:10:40.

Europe and around the world are an important part of that success. We

:10:41.:10:44.

want through the industrial strategy to continue to play to a great

:10:45.:10:47.

strengths as a science and research powerhouse and we will continue to

:10:48.:10:51.

welcome agreement to collaborate with our European partners on major

:10:52.:10:54.

science and technology programmes in years to come. Agri- science is

:10:55.:11:01.

playing a vital part in this industrial strategy but more can be

:11:02.:11:06.

done. Is the minister whereof the excellent work, of a constituency

:11:07.:11:09.

which is exporting it all over the world?

:11:10.:11:15.

I am indeed aware of the excellent work that is undertaken by that

:11:16.:11:19.

institution and the honourable members in my honourable friend's

:11:20.:11:23.

constituency. Considerable source port is being received through our

:11:24.:11:31.

investment in R The European medicines agency, a European

:11:32.:11:34.

institution based in the UK, is one of the reasons why our farming

:11:35.:11:39.

industry is so successful -- pharmaceutical industry is so

:11:40.:11:44.

successful. When we crash out of the EU, what will happen to that

:11:45.:11:46.

organisation and what is the science Mr doing to make sure we have

:11:47.:11:50.

effective regulations which support our pharmacology and history? She

:11:51.:11:57.

should wait until we have embarked upon the negotiations our future

:11:58.:12:01.

relationship with European funding streams and we will anticipate

:12:02.:12:05.

continuing to collaborate closely with our European partners so that

:12:06.:12:09.

our scientists can develop institutions such as the one she

:12:10.:12:22.

mentions. Bill yesterday I talked about science technology business

:12:23.:12:25.

which is on the British Chamber of Commerce business of the year and

:12:26.:12:29.

export business of the year. Can my right honourable friend join me in

:12:30.:12:36.

congratulating that business for championing and promoting the best

:12:37.:12:40.

of British science and research? I'm delighted to be able to congratulate

:12:41.:12:44.

them and it is companies like those that are really doing well at

:12:45.:12:48.

exploiting the research undertaken to the benefit of this country,

:12:49.:12:53.

maximising commercial opportunities from the significant public

:12:54.:12:57.

investment we are putting into R and D. Looking beyond the two-year

:12:58.:13:00.

period when we exit the EU, wilderness to ensure that liaison

:13:01.:13:07.

with the devolved institutions will be restored before then, so that

:13:08.:13:10.

excellent facilities like the science centres in Belfast and

:13:11.:13:14.

Londonderry can be availed of an replicated right across the UK to

:13:15.:13:20.

ensure we get the maximum advantage? Through the creation of UK research

:13:21.:13:26.

and innovation, which is a UK wide global funding and research agency,

:13:27.:13:30.

we will continue to ensure that excellent science and research is

:13:31.:13:33.

supported throughout the UK in years to come. Thank you, Mr Speaker. The

:13:34.:13:44.

oil and gas sector is very important for the UK economy, energy security

:13:45.:13:49.

and jobs. That's why over the past two years the Government has

:13:50.:13:51.

established the oil and gas authority as a strong independent

:13:52.:13:55.

regulator and provided a ?2.3 billion package of support to

:13:56.:13:59.

encourage investment and exploration in the UK. In the spring budget last

:14:00.:14:03.

week, the Chancellor and as the government will consider how tax can

:14:04.:14:08.

be used to assist sales of oil and gas assets in the North Sea, helping

:14:09.:14:13.

to keep unproductive the longer. Does this government stand by

:14:14.:14:20.

comments made by the Scottish Conservatives energy spokesman

:14:21.:14:23.

Alexander Burnett and must be that the oil and gas industry does not

:14:24.:14:27.

need any help, saying people in Aberdeen are not asking for any more

:14:28.:14:32.

at the moment? I'm not sure I entirely caught the remarks he

:14:33.:14:35.

mentions but the Government has been very clear in its support not just

:14:36.:14:42.

for the UK continental shelf and the companies on it but in support for

:14:43.:14:47.

Aberdeen through the ?250 million city deal we have announced. Is my

:14:48.:14:53.

honourable friend aware that at this very moment crude oil is trading at

:14:54.:15:00.

$48.31 per barrel? As he read the report by the OECD which says that

:15:01.:15:05.

because of this and many other structural factors, an independent

:15:06.:15:11.

Scotland would have a worse debt per population ratio than even Greece?

:15:12.:15:19.

I'm sure my colleague will understand that I'm not going to

:15:20.:15:23.

comment on the specific economic issues he raises. What I would say,

:15:24.:15:28.

however, and I admire him for his spot awareness of the oil spot

:15:29.:15:32.

price, is that we as a government have managed to engineer a

:15:33.:15:38.

significant fall in oil and gas supply costs on the continental

:15:39.:15:44.

shelf. Order! Mr Boswell, a cerebral minister is at the box responding to

:15:45.:15:50.

a pertinent inquiry and the honourable gentleman is very and

:15:51.:15:52.

characteristically behaving in a mildly boorish fashion. But I'm sure

:15:53.:15:58.

it is an exceptional case. -- uncharacteristically. I'm not sure

:15:59.:16:02.

anyone can recover from the accusation of being cerebral! Let me

:16:03.:16:06.

just say that the way the oil and gas authority has lowered costs is

:16:07.:16:11.

itself a testimony to how competitive our economy can be in

:16:12.:16:15.

oil and gas, even where oil and gas prices are falling. Thank you very

:16:16.:16:26.

much indeed. The UK space sector is world leading. A quarter of the

:16:27.:16:30.

world's telecommunication satellites are either built here all with key

:16:31.:16:34.

UK components. Our recently announced space flight bill will now

:16:35.:16:38.

UK businesses tend a global market with an expected ?25 billion over

:16:39.:16:43.

the next 20 years and our industrial strategy will ensure we build on

:16:44.:16:46.

this and continue to be a global leader in this important sector.

:16:47.:16:51.

Many people think my constituency, North Swindon, is out of this world

:16:52.:16:54.

and they are not wrong as we are home to the UK space agency. Will

:16:55.:17:00.

they tell me how the upcoming space bill will enable the UK to build on

:17:01.:17:03.

our strengths in science, research and innovation? It has a stellar

:17:04.:17:12.

member of Parliament, as well! It is one of our most important industries

:17:13.:17:17.

and the space flight bill in particular will move us forward and

:17:18.:17:20.

enable us to be in the business not only of manufacturing satellites but

:17:21.:17:26.

launching them, which gives us further industrial opportunities

:17:27.:17:28.

that I know not just Swindon but the whole of the UK can benefit from.

:17:29.:17:37.

A collaborative approach of the UK aerospace sector is one of the

:17:38.:17:39.

lessons that this Government needs to remember in the difficult years

:17:40.:17:46.

that are moving ahead. Will the Secretary of State please come to

:17:47.:17:50.

one of the most important aerospace sectors in the country, North East

:17:51.:17:55.

Wales, see the excellent work that is being carried forward and the

:17:56.:17:59.

potential threats that now exist to one of the most successful

:18:00.:18:02.

industries in our country? I'm grateful to him for his point

:18:03.:18:07.

and he is right that one of the reasons that the space and satellite

:18:08.:18:12.

sector has been so successful is the collaboration between firms there

:18:13.:18:16.

and government and research institutions. That is very much the

:18:17.:18:21.

way forward and my honourable friend the Parliamentary undersecretary is

:18:22.:18:25.

going to visit North Wales and the facilities he mentions and I look

:18:26.:18:27.

forward to hearing from him all about it. Somebody who has

:18:28.:18:34.

calculated inertia matrices, I'm very pleased that the government has

:18:35.:18:37.

a focus on this area. Can he tell me what assessment he has made for the

:18:38.:18:42.

capacity for the UK commercial space flight sector and what steps he is

:18:43.:18:46.

going to take to supported? I'm glad he is not questioning me on inertia

:18:47.:18:51.

ratios and matrices! The capacity is there but it requires planning

:18:52.:18:55.

ahead, which is why the industrial strategy mentions the need to invest

:18:56.:18:59.

in science and research and development - very important that we

:19:00.:19:04.

should do that and that we should look forward to make sure we have

:19:05.:19:09.

the skills that can fulfil the order books. That is the purpose of having

:19:10.:19:13.

a long-term industrial strategy, so we are prepared to reach those

:19:14.:19:24.

opportunities. -- reap. With a mission, I'll answer this

:19:25.:19:28.

together with number nine. Small businesses are vital to the economy

:19:29.:19:31.

and we are providing additional access to finance and support to

:19:32.:19:35.

help scale businesses to enable them to reap the benefits from future

:19:36.:19:39.

trade with the EU and the rest of the world. Can I start by wishing

:19:40.:19:50.

everybody a happy parade day -- Pi day. The UK government failed to

:19:51.:19:58.

consult the business community on the changes to national insurance

:19:59.:20:03.

for the self-employed. Will the government now tackle the ongoing

:20:04.:20:05.

uncertainty that these changes could bring to work as' rights, such as

:20:06.:20:11.

maternity, paternity pay, sick pay, annual leave and pensions? The

:20:12.:20:17.

Government is absolutely committed, as the Prime Minister has said on

:20:18.:20:21.

several occasions, to protect workers' rights as we leave the

:20:22.:20:24.

European Union and not just to protect them but also to enhance

:20:25.:20:29.

them if necessary, and she has set up a review to examine the details.

:20:30.:20:39.

I'm sad to note the absence, rather uncharacteristic, the honourable

:20:40.:20:41.

gentleman but we will do our best to bear up with such fortitude as we

:20:42.:20:48.

can muster. In the oil and gas sector, there are a number of small

:20:49.:20:51.

businesses in the supply chain that have been hit disproportionately by

:20:52.:20:55.

the oil price reduction. Myself and the honourable member for Aberdeen

:20:56.:20:59.

South held a meeting last week to encourage members to access

:21:00.:21:03.

different methods of capital finance to grow. What is the UK government

:21:04.:21:07.

doing to encourage these businesses to access capital finance? Although

:21:08.:21:13.

support for business in Scotland is largely devolved, the British

:21:14.:21:18.

business bank does fund a vast number of companies in Scotland.

:21:19.:21:25.

?415 million of finance for Scottish companies, including the start-up

:21:26.:21:30.

loan, and over 1600 companies in Scotland benefit from the enterprise

:21:31.:21:40.

Finance guarantee scheme. SMEs are the backbone of the south-west and

:21:41.:21:44.

much effort is being put into upping productivity in the region and in

:21:45.:21:49.

Taunton Deane, we recognise the recent government investment in

:21:50.:21:51.

infrastructure and the work being done on skills but to give us a real

:21:52.:21:56.

Filipe, would my right horrible friend agreed to come, or perhaps

:21:57.:22:00.

someone from the department, to the Taunton annual business partners

:22:01.:22:05.

conference on the 16th of June to boost the idea is that this

:22:06.:22:10.

government can help us with? I thank my honourable friend for such a

:22:11.:22:13.

wonderful invitation and although I have already been to the south-west,

:22:14.:22:18.

I'm sure I can find an occasion on June six to do so again.

:22:19.:22:25.

The honourable lady looks as though her cup has run of over. What a

:22:26.:22:31.

happy day for the honourable lady and, indeed, for Taunton Deane, not

:22:32.:22:39.

to mention the Minister. Thank you, Mr Speaker. One advantage for small

:22:40.:22:46.

businesses of the United Kingdom leaving the EU is that this House

:22:47.:22:55.

will be free to be able to repeal unwanted EU regulations. Can the

:22:56.:23:02.

ministers say what steps she is taking to consult with small

:23:03.:23:05.

businesses to be able to identify those regulations quite well

:23:06.:23:13.

I can assure him we consult small businesses all the time and the

:23:14.:23:17.

department for exiting the EU engages regularly with the

:23:18.:23:19.

Federation of Small Businesses and we will be asking that department to

:23:20.:23:22.

hold a round table for small businesses to discuss the very

:23:23.:23:24.

issues he raises in due course. And the honourable member is so keen

:23:25.:23:44.

to hear my to this question. -- I'm glad. We support small businesses by

:23:45.:23:50.

ensuring they can access wider support. The British business bank

:23:51.:23:55.

are already supporting with 3.4 billion finance over 54,000 small

:23:56.:23:59.

businesses and I am leading a task force to enable SMEs to accelerate

:24:00.:24:04.

their growth potential and realise their growth prospects. From my own

:24:05.:24:10.

experience I know that rugby is a great place to run a business,

:24:11.:24:15.

however many small businesses continued to tell me that an

:24:16.:24:18.

obstacle to their expanding remains a shortage of suitable industrial

:24:19.:24:22.

premises so at a time when our local authority is preparing its local

:24:23.:24:25.

plan, I wonder what discussions my honourable friend has had with

:24:26.:24:30.

counterparts at DCLG to ensure adequate land is allocated for the

:24:31.:24:36.

development of businesses. In answer to my honourable friend, we work

:24:37.:24:40.

closely with the department for Communities and Local Government and

:24:41.:24:42.

I weaselly co-chaired a successful round table with the Minister of

:24:43.:24:48.

state for Mr and planning. -- recently co-chaired. We will be

:24:49.:24:51.

having a further meeting and I will take into consideration the needs of

:24:52.:24:59.

businesses in rugby for more space. Small businesses in Doncaster have

:25:00.:25:03.

expressed concern to me about how to access apprenticeships. Will

:25:04.:25:09.

minister work with the DfEE and draw a regional analysis, especially in

:25:10.:25:15.

Yorkshire and the Humber, of how small businesses can find effective

:25:16.:25:19.

ways to access those schemes, especially in the light of the

:25:20.:25:24.

apprenticeship Levy? We will certainly talk to businesses in the

:25:25.:25:27.

Doncaster region, as elsewhere in the Yorkshire area, but I'm

:25:28.:25:34.

delighted to say that only 1.3% businesses will actually pay the

:25:35.:25:37.

apprenticeship Levy and for all other businesses, particularly small

:25:38.:25:41.

businesses, the Government will fund 90 % of their training costs

:25:42.:25:45.

following the introduction of the Levy proper next month. Last week's

:25:46.:25:51.

business rates announcement by my right honourable friend the

:25:52.:25:54.

Chancellor will be welcome relief to hundreds of independent small

:25:55.:25:56.

businesses in my constituency. Wilderness to join me in

:25:57.:26:02.

congratulating Visit Bass as they focus more attention to marketing

:26:03.:26:05.

the domestic and international markets out of our independent small

:26:06.:26:08.

businesses, which will bring jobs and growth in our constituency? I

:26:09.:26:12.

absolutely join with my honourable friend in congratulating Visit Bath

:26:13.:26:17.

in all the trade and ideas that that organisation brings to local SMEs.

:26:18.:26:23.

Many thanks Mr Speaker as chair of the disability all Parliamentary

:26:24.:26:31.

group, I have been hearing from people, saying that there are stark

:26:32.:26:37.

far too many barriers. This includes information even that on government

:26:38.:26:41.

Gateway that is accessible. So what specific measures are the government

:26:42.:26:45.

taking to support disabled entrepreneurs and what more can be

:26:46.:26:48.

done to address these very important issues. I thank durable lady for her

:26:49.:26:54.

excellent question, I do work closely for the Minister of people

:26:55.:27:00.

with disabilities and she is leading huge initiatives, to improve

:27:01.:27:04.

opportunities for people with disabilities and I will raise the

:27:05.:27:08.

specific question of entrepreneurs with disabilities with her. The

:27:09.:27:14.

truth is that the government has got to show a lot more love for small

:27:15.:27:19.

businesses. To reinforce the truth that the concerned parties the party

:27:20.:27:23.

from the printer is. Can my honourable friend the Minister start

:27:24.:27:29.

that, by eliminating the time limits on DIS investment on small

:27:30.:27:33.

businesses and finding a way, after we leave the EU that compliance with

:27:34.:27:38.

regulations for small businesses can be produced to a single checkmark --

:27:39.:27:44.

IES investment. I thank the honourable friend, as he knows I'm a

:27:45.:27:48.

great lover of small businesses, and entrepreneurs. I think that I can

:27:49.:27:53.

speak for the rest of the government in that, he knows that the EU

:27:54.:27:58.

governs those time limits and caps on DIS schemes at the moment and

:27:59.:28:02.

what happens post-Brexit negotiations will be a matter for

:28:03.:28:09.

the Treasury. Thank you, to speed don't think small businesses are

:28:10.:28:11.

really feeling the love after the budget week. The Federation of small

:28:12.:28:16.

business produced a report entitled 37 problems and tax is one. They

:28:17.:28:23.

said that the proposed national insurance tax grab is an absolute

:28:24.:28:26.

kick in the teeth for small business, just at a time that we

:28:27.:28:29.

need to create more entrepreneurs, not fewer. When the Minster said the

:28:30.:28:36.

government consults the Federation of small business, perhaps in the

:28:37.:28:40.

future they might listen to them and do what they suggest. Well I think

:28:41.:28:44.

that the small business world feels more love from this side of a house

:28:45.:28:48.

than they would from the opposition, were they to take our place in

:28:49.:28:53.

government. But on the specific question that he raises, the FSB I

:28:54.:28:57.

know lobbied hard on a number of points on national insurance, on

:28:58.:29:01.

also on business rates. And on quarterly reporting of tax accounts.

:29:02.:29:09.

On the latter two, they were very pleased with the outcome that the

:29:10.:29:14.

Chancellor provided and with regard to national insurance, he knows that

:29:15.:29:19.

over 60% of people, who are self-employed, will actually benefit

:29:20.:29:22.

from the changes that were mooted by the Chancellor last week. Chris

:29:23.:29:33.

Green. Thank you, as a matter of fact Mr Speaker just yesterday I was

:29:34.:29:36.

a few miles away from the gentleman 's constituency in Carrington,

:29:37.:29:41.

opening a new combined cycle gas turbine plant. And if you weeks

:29:42.:29:46.

before that I was in Folkestone for the new interconnect is being built

:29:47.:29:49.

through the Channel Tunnel. What these remind us of is the government

:29:50.:29:53.

's commitment to the UK energy infrastructure underscored by a

:29:54.:29:59.

capacity market and contracts for difference. We are also investing

:30:00.:30:05.

?320 million in new seat in the structure, and I think that

:30:06.:30:07.

undergirds the size of the whole thing. The bases and G supplier is

:30:08.:30:14.

fundamental to live ring the energy needs, since some do not provide

:30:15.:30:18.

baseload and there is pressure not to increase the consumption of

:30:19.:30:21.

hydrocarbons, does my right honourable friend agree with me that

:30:22.:30:26.

in the absence of energy storage capacity, future investment must go

:30:27.:30:29.

to the nuclear industry, perhaps small modular reactors. As he will

:30:30.:30:37.

know, we are spending a great deal of time working on developers with

:30:38.:30:42.

new investment alongside the plans already being executed at Hinkley

:30:43.:30:45.

Point. Small modular reactors are potentially part of that

:30:46.:30:49.

conversation. It is worth saying that the likelihood, there are many

:30:50.:30:53.

outcomes of possible technologies of which storage will come on stream

:30:54.:30:57.

over the next decade or two, that will also undoubtedly be part of the

:30:58.:31:03.

picture. The country needs 21st-century systems like smart

:31:04.:31:06.

metering, can the minister update the house on the progress of the

:31:07.:31:09.

roll-out and Cani have a word with the energy companies to stop them

:31:10.:31:14.

blaming this government for being part of a height in energy prices

:31:15.:31:19.

that is ripping off the consumer. We are in no doubt at all about the

:31:20.:31:22.

need for the energy companies to bear down on prices and as they will

:31:23.:31:28.

be aware, the cost of those policies are a relatively small part of it.

:31:29.:31:34.

Tidal energy gives the UK an opportunity to find clean

:31:35.:31:36.

predictable sources of renewable energy. It is a sector where we have

:31:37.:31:40.

world leading businesses. Will my right honourable friend consider

:31:41.:31:46.

giving tidal a higher priorities so that we can maintain our competitive

:31:47.:31:51.

edge? The honourable lady will know that we are looking at tidal energy

:31:52.:31:54.

and related issues closely in the context of our consideration of the

:31:55.:32:03.

review. Doctor John Pugh? When a final decision will be made on the

:32:04.:32:09.

Swansea tidal thing? I think it is fair to say that we will be coming

:32:10.:32:14.

to the house as soon as we can for the matter is presently under

:32:15.:32:20.

consideration. The minister mentioned is the capacity market and

:32:21.:32:23.

I'm sure he will agree with me that the prime purpose of that market has

:32:24.:32:28.

been to procure new infrastructure capacity. Can the Minister tell me

:32:29.:32:32.

how many new gas-fired power stations had been procured by ?3.4

:32:33.:32:37.

billion that has been spent so far on the capacity market and what

:32:38.:32:41.

plans does he have to improve that number, and to be helpful the answer

:32:42.:32:45.

is one new power plant in King's Lynn. I'm all in favour of the self

:32:46.:32:56.

answering question, Mr Speaker. Might I just remind you that the

:32:57.:33:01.

last capacity market, procured energy at a cost of ?7 per kilowatt

:33:02.:33:07.

hour which I think is cheaper than any possible conceivable

:33:08.:33:16.

alternative. With no common definition of the gig economy,

:33:17.:33:19.

numbers vary in terms of how many workers are involved in it so we

:33:20.:33:22.

have commissioned new research that will be published this summer and it

:33:23.:33:26.

will look at the number of individuals working through digital

:33:27.:33:29.

platforms in the UK and their experiences. The number of

:33:30.:33:35.

freelancing mums has increased by 79% since 2008, whilst I remember,

:33:36.:33:41.

the government 's announcement, on fairer maternity pay, this was

:33:42.:33:46.

recommended 13 months ago, why is it taking the government so long to act

:33:47.:33:49.

on this crucial issue for these women when it took a stroke of a pen

:33:50.:33:57.

to increase their taxes? Well as I said in my previous answers, the

:33:58.:34:01.

increase in taxes under review, will be ruling out in terms of the

:34:02.:34:09.

maternity and paternity issues that she raises I should hasten to add.

:34:10.:34:17.

And, that consultation will run its course this summer, and she will

:34:18.:34:25.

have an answer the end of the year. Mr Speaker does the Minister begin

:34:26.:34:28.

to understand the sense of grievance on the part of the growing army of

:34:29.:34:34.

the self-employed, who are reluctant conscripts to self-employment in the

:34:35.:34:39.

gig economy, that they work in a twilight world of insecurity without

:34:40.:34:43.

basic rights, are now having to pay more in tax, when there was not one

:34:44.:34:48.

measure in the budget that put the burden on the shoulders of those

:34:49.:34:51.

truly responsible, the goobers of this world. The right honourable

:34:52.:35:00.

gentleman knows that we have in place the Taylor review that is

:35:01.:35:02.

currently examining all of the issues that he raises, I'm very

:35:03.:35:11.

concerned about the plight of some low paid workers who may be workers

:35:12.:35:15.

rather than self-employed and valleys up to the courts and the

:35:16.:35:18.

government to conclude later this year but I can assure him that we to

:35:19.:35:21.

take the issues that he raises very seriously. Thank you Mr Speaker

:35:22.:35:28.

thank you very much indeed, with your permission Mr Speaker, I'd like

:35:29.:35:32.

to answer this question together with question 14. Last week we

:35:33.:35:35.

published the Midlands engine strategy. It is further

:35:36.:35:43.

demonstration that this government is committed to investing in the

:35:44.:35:49.

Midlands, a region that has seen over 180,000 more people in

:35:50.:35:56.

employment since 2010. I thank the Minister for his reply. Increasing

:35:57.:36:00.

investment, inward investment from businesses in the automotive supply

:36:01.:36:03.

chain, such as Polytech and Magna Carta bringing Weald jobs and growth

:36:04.:36:09.

to it. Does the Minister agree that Telford is set to play a key role in

:36:10.:36:14.

the engine strategy with its reputation for innovation and

:36:15.:36:16.

advanced manufacturing and will he congratulate these businesses on

:36:17.:36:19.

helping to build a successful business future for Telford? My

:36:20.:36:23.

honourable friend's constituency of Telford which includes Coalbrookdale

:36:24.:36:29.

has a good claim to be the cradle of the first Industrial Revolution. It

:36:30.:36:41.

has a good claim, it is disputed. I think Derby is fairly early. Now it

:36:42.:36:44.

is at the heart of the fourth Industrial Revolution. Absolutely

:36:45.:36:50.

the T54 site is proving to be a very important location for the supply

:36:51.:36:55.

chain for the automotive sector. With the secretary of state agree

:36:56.:36:58.

with me that one of the pivotal things that is needed to be in an

:36:59.:37:02.

industrial strategy for the West Midlands is to close the skill gap

:37:03.:37:05.

which is held back in the West Midlands for too long so that areas

:37:06.:37:09.

like the Black Country can continue to work to become leading

:37:10.:37:14.

specialists in areas like aerospace, automotive, advanced manufacturing

:37:15.:37:17.

which I know are critical on the agenda of the Conservative candidate

:37:18.:37:23.

for the West Midlands now. I agree with my honourable friend, he is

:37:24.:37:28.

absolutely right, the reputation of the Black Country, is very strong.

:37:29.:37:34.

There is a phrase, made in the Black Country, sold around the world. But

:37:35.:37:37.

in order to do that you need good skills. Andy Street, being a person

:37:38.:37:43.

of great expense in business, is the best person available to bring that

:37:44.:37:46.

business acumen to bring in more businesses to the whole of the West

:37:47.:37:52.

Midlands. Hearing about an industrial strategy rather than an

:37:53.:37:57.

electoral strategy, but here you go. The Black Country is the birthplace

:37:58.:38:02.

of Industrial Revolution. Can I ask the Secretary of State in terms of

:38:03.:38:06.

transport spending, which is a key for the industrial strategy, when he

:38:07.:38:11.

expects to persuade his colleagues Secretary of State for Transport to

:38:12.:38:14.

spend as much per capita Ron the West Midlands as he does in London.

:38:15.:38:19.

The honourable gentleman who is an assiduous reader of these things,

:38:20.:38:24.

will see that in his industrial strategy, we propose a commitment,

:38:25.:38:29.

to in the structure right across the country. I hope he will respond to

:38:30.:38:33.

that, so that when we have the budget later in the year, we will be

:38:34.:38:37.

in a position to make further such announcements. Thank you Mr Speaker,

:38:38.:38:47.

can my right honourable friend of, talk about particular those in Mike

:38:48.:38:52.

assiduous of North Warwickshire. The board have a very important role to

:38:53.:38:56.

play, one of the trends that colleagues across all sides of the

:38:57.:39:00.

house will know, is that the development of supply chains, one of

:39:01.:39:03.

the key sources of innovation in many industries, and within that,

:39:04.:39:08.

start-up businesses including those by the self-employed can make a big

:39:09.:39:12.

contribution to making us attractive for jobs and new businesses. Mr

:39:13.:39:20.

Speaker, with your permission I will answer this with question 16, I

:39:21.:39:26.

think I'm right in saying. We have had great success over the years, in

:39:27.:39:30.

developing key sectors including aerospace and the automotive sector.

:39:31.:39:35.

To build on this we have set up proposals for a new business led

:39:36.:39:38.

sector deals in the dust shall strategy. The first set of deals are

:39:39.:39:42.

already under development, and we are taking steps to drive growth in

:39:43.:39:45.

sectors across the economy including with funding four sides, and

:39:46.:39:54.

education. Does the Secretary of State share my concern for the

:39:55.:39:57.

fermentation of industrial strategy will focus solely on the big

:39:58.:40:00.

players, what does he do to ensure that the SMEs in those sectors, get

:40:01.:40:06.

their FSA and their fair share? The honourable gentleman, that is not

:40:07.:40:10.

the case, I have regular discussions with the Federation of small

:40:11.:40:14.

business, with the British Chambers of commerce, and the smaller

:40:15.:40:18.

businesses right across the country. The supply chain, and making our

:40:19.:40:22.

country more attractive to supply chain businesses, is absolutely

:40:23.:40:29.

foundation to success. That is particularly in regard to the small

:40:30.:40:33.

businesses. Side security is one of the most important sectors of this

:40:34.:40:37.

growth but the UK has the highest skills gap in cyber security in the

:40:38.:40:41.

world. Does the Secretary of State think that the government 's current

:40:42.:40:45.

commitment to educate 1% of our students by 2021 in cyber security

:40:46.:40:49.

is anywhere near enough? I think the honourable lady makes a very good

:40:50.:40:53.

point, if we are to take advantage of the opportunities that are there,

:40:54.:40:57.

we need to upgrade our technical education. That is why in the budget

:40:58.:41:02.

last week the Chancellor made such a clear commitment, prominence in the

:41:03.:41:07.

industrial strategy, to transform the level of technical education

:41:08.:41:12.

including to increase by 50% the hours of tuition that are available.

:41:13.:41:22.

Thank you. I welcome a ?90 million in the budget that the Chancellor

:41:23.:41:28.

has given for PHP places. I would like to ask the Secretary of State

:41:29.:41:32.

whether he has determined how they will be distributed and whether the

:41:33.:41:36.

academically excellent area of Cambridgeshire will benefit from

:41:37.:41:40.

this funding. Yes, Mr Speaker. I would expect all competitive places

:41:41.:41:46.

to make a bid for these places and in Cambridgeshire, both the

:41:47.:41:50.

University of Cambridge and Anglia Ruskin and other institutions more

:41:51.:41:53.

broadly across the country will be in a good position to benefit from

:41:54.:42:02.

these. The aerospace sector is vital importance to my constituency and I

:42:03.:42:09.

was delighted to take place as a ground-breaking ceremony for

:42:10.:42:11.

Rolls-Royce on a new site. How can the government help grow the

:42:12.:42:18.

aerospace sector? It has been an important -- an important sector and

:42:19.:42:23.

our discussions this morning reflect the track record of working together

:42:24.:42:28.

and that will continue and be reinforced. I think all members

:42:29.:42:30.

across the House will have been as delighted as I was that Boeing made

:42:31.:42:36.

a commitment to their first ever UK plant in Sheffield, showing how

:42:37.:42:40.

attractive we are too advanced manufacturing businesses like that.

:42:41.:42:48.

Thank you, Mr Speaker. The select committee recent report stated that

:42:49.:42:53.

the green paper provides little clarity on how things will work in

:42:54.:42:59.

practice and that it appears to lack political will, falling short of

:43:00.:43:03.

providing a clear framework for decision-making in the long term so

:43:04.:43:06.

I ask the Secretary of State, is it lack of clarity or lack of political

:43:07.:43:11.

will that has led to a bespoke Brexit deal for certain

:43:12.:43:14.

manufacturers whilst leaving others and other industries in a state of

:43:15.:43:21.

uncertainty. Can I wrote them her to her first oral questions on this and

:43:22.:43:28.

I see her predecessor before her. She is my third opposite number in

:43:29.:43:31.

the eight months since I've had this job. The first was appointed in the

:43:32.:43:36.

summer, the second in the autumn and she was appointed in the winter. I

:43:37.:43:40.

notice this week the birds were singing and the sun was out so I

:43:41.:43:43.

hope this is not bad news for the honourable lady! In terms of apology

:43:44.:43:48.

asked about the industrial strategy, the sector deals that we have

:43:49.:43:53.

proposed have been widely welcomed. We have set out a number of initial

:43:54.:44:00.

deals in life sciences, for example, in the creative industries. We are

:44:01.:44:03.

already talking to other sectors such as the steel sector but I know

:44:04.:44:06.

a lot of colleagues in the House would want to see taken forward. Oh,

:44:07.:44:13.

the Secretary of State is cheeky! But he might want to refer to the

:44:14.:44:17.

report because it also states that the White Paper on exiting the EU

:44:18.:44:20.

failed to meaningfully referred to an industrial strategy and

:44:21.:44:25.

reinforced a lack of coordination between the Government's major

:44:26.:44:29.

challenge and its principal plank of business policy. Given that last

:44:30.:44:34.

week's budget failed to mention Brexit or industrial strategy, does

:44:35.:44:37.

the Secretary of State agree with the recent foreign affairs select

:44:38.:44:41.

committee report that the Government has provided no evidence of

:44:42.:44:45.

industrial contingency planning in the event of a no deal? If not, what

:44:46.:44:52.

is his no deal plan? She will have to do a bit better than that because

:44:53.:44:56.

I've got the budget here and she says it doesn't mention the

:44:57.:44:59.

industrial strategy but I can tell her it is mentioned in the first

:45:00.:45:04.

paragraph of the first page of the budget and throughout it. Given the

:45:05.:45:11.

honourable lady's interest in this, she ought to read the budget! I'm

:45:12.:45:18.

keen that the Northwest should play its part in the Government's

:45:19.:45:25.

industrial strategy to drive up competitiveness in our area. I would

:45:26.:45:28.

like to know how small businesses can play their part in my area. In

:45:29.:45:35.

her area, as in every area in the country, the opportunities for the

:45:36.:45:38.

supply chain to be attractive and locate in this country to supply the

:45:39.:45:43.

major manufacturers and service providers, also to the world is one

:45:44.:45:49.

of the key themes that is emerging from the sector deals that are being

:45:50.:46:02.

negotiated. Number 19, yes. Nearly ?56 billion has been invested in

:46:03.:46:06.

renewable energy since 2012. In the budget last year, my friend the

:46:07.:46:13.

honourable former Chancellor, announced investments for projects

:46:14.:46:17.

including offshore wind. The renewable heat incentive was

:46:18.:46:23.

announced at ?1.15 billion by 2021. We have heard a lot about the

:46:24.:46:27.

importance of small business this morning but there are 44,000 small

:46:28.:46:32.

businesses that have their own smaller sola Micra generators that

:46:33.:46:35.

are currently exempt from business rates but from April one they face

:46:36.:46:40.

an 800% increase in business rates. This is clearly damaging for them

:46:41.:46:44.

and the solar industry. Hopefully, it isn't deliberate so will the

:46:45.:46:46.

Minister meet with the Chancellor to see what can be done to relieve

:46:47.:46:52.

this? I'm grateful for the question. The impact of rates does differ from

:46:53.:46:55.

company to company as regards the solar panels. They have three

:46:56.:47:01.

quarters of the businesses projected to have rates that fall next year

:47:02.:47:07.

and they're is transitional rate relief. We as a department long

:47:08.:47:13.

recognise the problems in some cases she refers to. Number 24, or is it

:47:14.:47:23.

22? 23! The honourable gentleman was close on either side! I will respond

:47:24.:47:32.

shortly to the Competition and Markets Authority report and take

:47:33.:47:35.

steps to increase competition and tell consumers. If he is successful

:47:36.:47:40.

in generating much-needed competition, will we need a

:47:41.:47:47.

regulator at all? The aim of government policy must be to have

:47:48.:47:50.

such vigorous competition in markets that that takes care of itself. I

:47:51.:47:55.

don't think we are in that position so I'm determined to make sure

:47:56.:47:58.

customers are treated fairly. Topical questions. Number one, Mr

:47:59.:48:08.

Speaker. As well as continuing the consultation on our own just real

:48:09.:48:10.

strategy green paper, we are acting ice diagnosis. We set out our plan

:48:11.:48:17.

to transform technical education, increasingly our students are taught

:48:18.:48:22.

by 50%, increasing funding for technical education by 01 ?5 billion

:48:23.:48:25.

a year and new Institute of technology. We announced in the butt

:48:26.:48:32.

of the first ?270 million of projects under the industrial

:48:33.:48:35.

strategy Challenge Fund, including a world leading investment in the

:48:36.:48:39.

development, design and manufacture of batteries to power the next

:48:40.:48:43.

generation of electric vehicles and we announced ?100 million Fellowship

:48:44.:48:46.

fund to attract the world's brightest minds to come and work in

:48:47.:48:53.

the UK. I'm pleased my honourable friend is planning to visit the

:48:54.:48:57.

Astra Joker site in the UK, the largest in the UK, but can he tell

:48:58.:49:03.

us what plans there are to further support life sciences? My honourable

:49:04.:49:09.

friend, a great champion for life sciences, as well as the Treasury

:49:10.:49:14.

economy, knows that the opportunity to negotiate a sector deal for life

:49:15.:49:18.

sciences, which is being led by Sir John Bell, is going to be good for

:49:19.:49:22.

the whole country but will have particular relevance to Cheshire and

:49:23.:49:26.

to Macclesfield and I'm looking forward to visiting his constituency

:49:27.:49:32.

to see these facilities myself. Will the Secretary of State join me in

:49:33.:49:36.

congratulating the greatest evening newspaper in the country, the

:49:37.:49:41.

express and Star, and the brilliant work of Wolverhampton University,

:49:42.:49:46.

who launched a scheme which has now successfully distributed ?4 million

:49:47.:49:50.

of regional growth fund money, supporting 65 businesses, creating

:49:51.:49:56.

or protecting 600 jobs and extraordinarily generating over ?11

:49:57.:49:59.

million in private sector investment to support businesses in places like

:50:00.:50:05.

Dudley, which everybody knows is the real birthplace of the industrial

:50:06.:50:10.

revolution. I'm going to dip my toes into controversy by talking about

:50:11.:50:16.

the industrial revolution so I am not going to talk about the best

:50:17.:50:19.

local newspaper in the country. I gather that the Foreign Secretary

:50:20.:50:22.

began his illustrious career on the express and Star. I'm not sure if

:50:23.:50:27.

this shows their pre-shins or whether they have recovered from

:50:28.:50:32.

that particular judgment, but it is... Local newspapers make a vital

:50:33.:50:37.

contribution to the success of local business and I'm delighted to hear

:50:38.:50:40.

the initiative of the express and Star. My constituency of Rochester

:50:41.:50:50.

and Strood has seen 8800 apprenticeships started across many

:50:51.:50:54.

sectors and very soon I will be hosting my first apprenticeship

:50:55.:50:58.

there, bringing together local students and businesses. With the

:50:59.:51:01.

Minister outlined what steps he is taking to encourage more small

:51:02.:51:05.

businesses to engage and take on more apprentices in places like my

:51:06.:51:08.

constituency of rust just and Strood? The new phase of the get in,

:51:09.:51:17.

go far campaign focused on the benefits of apprenticeships and they

:51:18.:51:22.

support this by contacting small businesses who have previously

:51:23.:51:25.

engaged with the programme and this will be of great benefit to SMEs in

:51:26.:51:32.

their constituency. There are talks of needs to close the skills gap and

:51:33.:51:37.

invest in so, Secretary of State explain to the House on childcare

:51:38.:51:42.

isn't mentioned once? What I would say is that making ourselves

:51:43.:51:47.

attractive as a country to the workforce, making sure we are the

:51:48.:51:50.

best place to operate a business and to work as an important theme of

:51:51.:52:00.

that and I will look forward to the her contribution to the

:52:01.:52:08.

consultation. I thank him for his support for the Midlands engine. In

:52:09.:52:11.

Stafford, we build them and last week I have the honour of opening

:52:12.:52:16.

the technical training centre and large engine plant in Stafford.

:52:17.:52:20.

Would he agree with me that this shows just how important it is for

:52:21.:52:25.

businesses to be proactive in putting together the facilities for

:52:26.:52:33.

apprentices and taking on more? I quite agree with my honourable

:52:34.:52:38.

friend. It does demonstrate the need for all businesses, especially SMEs

:52:39.:52:41.

to take advantage of the 3 million apprenticeship target we have and

:52:42.:52:48.

the huge improvement in quality that is supported by the national

:52:49.:52:53.

apprenticeship service. Thank you, Mr Speaker. Given that the Brexit

:52:54.:52:58.

negotiations are about to start, can the Secretary of State to tell us

:52:59.:53:01.

whether he agrees with his right honourable friend the Prime Minister

:53:02.:53:07.

that no deal is better than a bad deal? Does my right honourable

:53:08.:53:19.

friend... Could he set out how he is intending to shape the regulatory

:53:20.:53:22.

environment as we leave the EU, including things like these

:53:23.:53:26.

allegations, to ensure that the UK remains at the forefront of the

:53:27.:53:29.

technical revolution? The UK is the number one place in

:53:30.:53:34.

Europe for investment in technology and the Government's industrial

:53:35.:53:37.

strategy will deliver the prime minister's vision of Britain as a

:53:38.:53:43.

magnet for talent and home to the innovators and pioneers that will

:53:44.:53:54.

shape the future. Scotland's economy, from its thriving

:53:55.:54:00.

universities to its economic food and drink sector, relies on EU

:54:01.:54:04.

freedom of movement. How does the Minister hoped to close the skills

:54:05.:54:07.

gap and pave the way for highly skilled economy if he cannot

:54:08.:54:10.

safeguard the rights of EU nationals living here? The Government,

:54:11.:54:16.

including at the highest level, have made clear on many, many occasions

:54:17.:54:21.

that we value tremendously the important contribution that EU

:54:22.:54:25.

nationals make to the success of our higher education institutions and

:54:26.:54:27.

our scientific establishments across the country, including in Scotland,

:54:28.:54:32.

and we have every intention that continuing years ahead. When I

:54:33.:54:39.

visited the corgi steelworks on Friday, there was a real enthusiasm

:54:40.:54:42.

for a sector deal for the steel industry and a real commitment to

:54:43.:54:47.

ongoing partnership working. Would my right honourable friend the

:54:48.:54:49.

Secretary of State be willing to visit the corgi works to discuss

:54:50.:54:53.

these opportunities? I would be delighted to visit corgi with my

:54:54.:54:57.

honourable friend. He is right that my discussions with the steel

:54:58.:55:02.

industry show a real appetite to set out a long-term sector deal to

:55:03.:55:05.

secure the future of the steel industry. Given the decimation of

:55:06.:55:12.

Scotland's renewable sector and the fact Scotland has very different

:55:13.:55:14.

energy capabilities than the rest of the UK, why does this government

:55:15.:55:18.

continue to think that a one size fits all energy policy is in anyway

:55:19.:55:22.

appropriate for Scotland's very different energy capabilities? I've

:55:23.:55:28.

emphasised in earlier answers the importance of a diverse energy

:55:29.:55:32.

supply, which is at the root of energy security, and there is no

:55:33.:55:34.

question about this Government's commitment to investment in

:55:35.:55:40.

renewables. Driving forward the fourth industrial revolution in new

:55:41.:55:44.

sectors such as robotics and 3D printing, can he ensure that this

:55:45.:55:50.

sector engagement includes new challenges, not just incumbents? It

:55:51.:55:54.

certainly can't up through our industrial strategy, we are backing

:55:55.:55:57.

Britain's innovators with the biggest investment in science and

:55:58.:56:02.

ten and since 1979 and a new industrial strategy Challenge Fund

:56:03.:56:05.

to bring cutting-edge ideas out of the lab and into the wider economy.

:56:06.:56:11.

A recent resolution foundation report stated that one in three UK

:56:12.:56:15.

businesses admit to under investing over the last five years. What

:56:16.:56:18.

measures will the UK government take turn this round?

:56:19.:56:23.

Yes this country does recognise that it has been under investing in

:56:24.:56:29.

research and develop mud, that is why at the Autumn Statement and the

:56:30.:56:32.

budget we will be making the biggest investment in RND in over 40 years.

:56:33.:56:38.

Public investment in RND helps bring in money about ?1 36 for every pound

:56:39.:56:47.

of Marburg that at a big investment. Yellow mac can my right honourable

:56:48.:56:50.

friend outline what measures are included in the middle and strategy

:56:51.:56:54.

to support small businesses enterprises such as those in Cannock

:56:55.:56:59.

Chase. As the honourable lady knows through the growth deal, there is a

:57:00.:57:05.

bought through the local enterprise partnerships for small businesses

:57:06.:57:07.

both start-ups and growing businesses. Following Npower's 15%

:57:08.:57:15.

price hike last month, the government pledged that where

:57:16.:57:19.

markets are not working we are prepared to act. Given that Dion

:57:20.:57:23.

raised their prices by 14%, and SSE by 8% yesterday, and many more

:57:24.:57:28.

companies need to raise their prices until the government actually acts

:57:29.:57:31.

to stop energy customers from getting fleeced. The honourable

:57:32.:57:39.

gentleman is absolutely right, the behaviour is unacceptable, reported

:57:40.:57:42.

by Ofgem that there is no reason to increase prices. We have committed

:57:43.:57:48.

to a Green paper, on the issue. It will be published very shortly and

:57:49.:57:54.

the time is up for these companies. As the chairman for a VP for small

:57:55.:57:58.

businesses I never access to finance is a real challenge for small

:57:59.:58:02.

businesses. What advice could he give to those in my constituency who

:58:03.:58:05.

are looking to access to financing the early years? I can advise my

:58:06.:58:10.

honourable friend that the start-up loans company has already helped

:58:11.:58:16.

44,000 small start-ups, and will be on hand to support start-ups in his

:58:17.:58:23.

constituency. What plans does the Secretary of State had to encourage

:58:24.:58:27.

new innovation support for SMEs in our key foundation industries which

:58:28.:58:31.

make materials like glass, ceramics and steel for cars such as those

:58:32.:58:36.

needed, for those in my constituency. This could help create

:58:37.:58:40.

hundreds of jobs, in the supply chain that are actually made in

:58:41.:58:47.

Britain. Mr Speaker support renovation has received its biggest

:58:48.:58:52.

boost since 1979, the industrial strategy challenge fund has just

:58:53.:58:56.

seen the first allocations of ?270 million that will help boost

:58:57.:58:58.

innovation in key areas across the economy. The diesel power generators

:58:59.:59:10.

for poor and equality, small inoperative, in my constituency

:59:11.:59:12.

whose Mobile hybrid units provide green energy to the construction. My

:59:13.:59:19.

noble friend makes a good point and through him, can I congratulate the

:59:20.:59:22.

business involved that as my honourable friend. With the

:59:23.:59:27.

government 's plans, to improve the energy infrastructure, what positive

:59:28.:59:31.

impact will that have. On small businesses when it comes to

:59:32.:59:42.

electricity cost. The primary effect will be to keep the it down for

:59:43.:59:49.

small businesses. There is an excellent company and a new car is a

:59:50.:59:52.

pride chain that have excellent vacancies that will be on offer in

:59:53.:59:56.

Mike seventh annual Pendle jobs that. What more can we do to support

:59:57.:00:03.

the nuclear supply chain. Mr Speaker one of the things we have done to

:00:04.:00:07.

support the supply chain is to have a continuing commitment and it will

:00:08.:00:15.

benefit his constituents and through a network of training colleges, we

:00:16.:00:18.

will make sure that we grow the nuclear skills. I found the minister

:00:19.:00:23.

was a touch complacent in his earlier answer on smart meters,

:00:24.:00:28.

given this is going to coursed the taxpayer 11 billion by the end of

:00:29.:00:31.

the Parliament, what is he going to do by the fact that it doesn't work

:00:32.:00:40.

when you try to switch supplier. It will save ?47 billion by the end of

:00:41.:00:46.

that decade. When will the business rate review commenced an report, in

:00:47.:00:51.

the light that sticking plasters last week do little for the small

:00:52.:00:58.

businesses in York. The review will report in due course and in the not

:00:59.:01:04.

too distant future. Thank you Mr Speaker, the Digital strategy is a

:01:05.:01:08.

key component in the government 's industrial strategy, can he do

:01:09.:01:11.

better than decent MS and tummy which countries have committed to

:01:12.:01:15.

working Great Grimsby as part of the skills partnership. It is about

:01:16.:01:24.

invitation to businesses to come forward and pose to the government

:01:25.:01:26.

what is required to grow the jobs and skills there. That is the aim of

:01:27.:01:42.

all skills. They have felled to declare much more complimentary

:01:43.:01:47.

today, tenants are protesting outside the office, how long will

:01:48.:01:50.

they keep failing to do their duty and not facing up to the situation?

:01:51.:01:55.

The honourable gentleman knows that the Commissioner for Public

:01:56.:01:58.

avoidance stated that the panel did consider that there were no

:01:59.:02:01.

conflicts of interest in this case that would preclude Mr Newby from

:02:02.:02:08.

doing his job. We must now remove on. Statements, the Prime Minister.

:02:09.:02:15.

CHEERING Thank you Mr Speaker had with

:02:16.:02:18.

permission I would like to make a statement on last weeks European

:02:19.:02:21.

Council. And the next steps in preparing to trigger Article 50, and

:02:22.:02:25.

beginning in the process of leaving the European Union. The summit began

:02:26.:02:30.

by re-electing Donald Tusk as president of the European Council, I

:02:31.:02:33.

welcomed this because we have a close working relationships with

:02:34.:02:36.

Donald Tusk and we recognise the strong contribution he has made in

:02:37.:02:39.

office. In the main business

:02:40.:02:40.