HC Deb 11 May 1994 vol 243 c312
12. Mrs. Gorman

To ask the President of the Board of Trade when he will issue his White Paper on competitiveness.

Mr. Heseltine

The White Paper on competitiveness will be published on 16 May 1994.

Mrs. Gorman

I thank my right hon. Friend for that information. Does he agree that the key markets in which Britain will have to compete in the future are those in the far east, and that we shall not have to compete just in Europe? Does he agree that the European idea that markets somehow require a level playing field is the antithesis of what we need, which is the development of this country's comparative advantages? This will require us to keep control not only of the regulatory structure under which our industries work but of the way in which we deal with and handle our labour.

Mr. Heseltine

My hon. Friend will understand that if we are to have a market that is free and fair, there must be a regulatory system that is common to all parts of it. She can be very sure that if we are not able to influence the regulatory system in other parts of the market it will be rigged against the interests of British exporters.

Dr. Bray

Before the President publishes his White Paper on competitiveness will he read the unanimous reports of the Select Committees on Science and Technology and on Trade and Industry that were published recently? These point out that there are a great many factors other than price competitiveness in the overall national competitiveness scene. Will the right hon. Gentleman take into account the Committees' many recommendations on precisely the question he has raised —how to increase productivity?

Mr. Heseltine

I am most grateful to the hon. Gentleman, who has particular knowledge of, and a particular interest in, this matter. He will find that our White Paper on competitiveness does address the much wider horizon that he has in mind.