Autumn Statement: 23rd November 2016

Anna Soubry (Broxtowe) (Con)
I congratulate my right hon. Friend on a wide range of measures—short term, medium term and long term—that will undoubtedly turbocharge our economy and give it the boost it needs as we face the realities of Brexit. Does he agree that it has never been more important for British business to be at the heart of local enterprise partnerships, great ideas such as the midlands engine, and all the infrastructure plans? Such projects should be driven by British business, not politicians.
 Mr Hammond
I absolutely agree with my right hon. Friend and I am grateful for her comments. I passionately believe that business should be engaged at the heart of this process—that is the right way to do it—and local enterprise partnerships and area-specific project organisations are a good innovation for delivering it. However, this is also part of meeting the challenge of regional imbalance, which as I said earlier is not just a social problem, but an economic problem. When we look at our productivity gap when compared with other advanced economies, we should logically look for the things in our country that are different from those in our comparators. The gap between our capital city and our other cities and regions is one of the defining features of the UK economy. By working with businesses from across the country and the regions, in particular by promoting our regional cities, we can at last start to address the problem.