HC Deb 21 December 1988 vol 144 cc443-4
13. Mr. Ian Taylor

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what assessment he has made of the level of business awareness there is in Scotland of the opportunities presented by 1992 and the completion of the single market in Europe.

Mr. Rifkind

There is widespread awareness of the implications of the single market among the Scottish business community, but we propose to continue and intensify our efforts to ensure that businesses in Scotland are the best prepared in Europe.

Mr. Taylor

I thank my right hon. and learned Friend for that answer. Bearing in mind that over 50 per cent. of exports from Scotland go to the European Community, will he constantly remind Scottish firms that they are benefiting from the low-taxation, high-growth economy which is the result of the policies of this Conservative Government?

Mr. Rifkind

That is the case. I do not think that Scottish industry needs to be reminded of it, because spokesmen for Scottish industry have themselves made that point and welcomed the Government's economic strategy.

Mr. Worthington

Is the Secretary of State aware that there cannot be a single economic market until there is a uniform business rate for the whole of the United Kingdom and that the impact—[interruption.] This is absolutely true. Is it correct that there will not be a uniform business rate until after a second revaluation in 1995, and, therefore, not until about 1996–97?

Mr. Rifkind

I congratulate the hon. Gentleman on his ingenuity in managing to get away with asking a question about the uniform business rate on a question about the single European market. Unlike all previous Labour Governments who tolerated higher rates poundages in Scotland compared with other parts in the United Kingdom, this Government are the first to say that we intend to work towards a common rates poundage.