Lords debates UK economic growth

22 June 2012

The House of Lords discussed the government's growth strategy for the UK economy in a debate yesterday (Thursday 21 June).

Members with expertise in areas such as trade and industry, economic policy and inner city development spoke during the debate.

Baroness Kramer (Liberal Democrat), a former spokesperson for the Treasury and former shadow secretary of state for trade and industry, opened the debate. She outlined issues such as the budget deficit, the decline in manufacturing and unemployment and spoke of potential growth areas like small businesses and housing: 'I think that a sector-by-sector approach to stimulating growth at this point would be powerful in assisting the economy,' she said. 

A director in the UK hospitality industry, Lord Popat (Conservative), spoke of his desire to encourage exports and help small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to export their goods.

He stated: 'Those SMEs which do not export often start doing so because of fortune rather than any strategic priority; and they tend to export to familiar markets, such as the eurozone, rather than high-growth markets such as India, China and, in the next 10 years, Africa. If we can reverse these trends, the effect on the UK's economy will be positive for many years to come.'

Lord Bhattacharyya (Labour), chairman of Warwick Manufacturing Group and member of West Midlands Innovation and Technology Council presented the need for a manufacturing infrastructure and a sustained investment programme in his speech. He said: 'We need to bring together research funding, procurement, skills and the supply chain, and give our key industries a voice in each.'

Baroness Valentine (Crossbench) declared her interest in the topic under debate as chief executive of London First (a not-for-profit business membership organisation aiming to improve London's business environment).

She spoke of innovation and investment in two categories. 'The first is in areas where the government need to finance and fund investment, typically in transport infrastructure... The second is where government can stimulate new or additional economically productive investment in privately provided infrastructure,' she explained.

Lord de Mauley (Conservative) responded on behalf of the government and concluded: 'Continued deficit reduction and monetary activism are vital to rebalance the economy and achieve strong, sustainable and balanced growth... These issues are vital for the UK economy; noble Lords made that point forcefully today'.

Further information

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