HC Deb 06 November 1996 vol 284 c1237
18. Mr. Foulkes

To ask the President of the Board of Trade if he will carry out an examination of the relative cost-effectiveness of Government support for indigenous and inward investment in industry. [545]

Mr. Greg Knight

In 1993, the Department of Trade and Industry, in conjunction with the Scottish and Welsh Offices, published a report of an evaluation of regional selective assistance. The three Departments will shortly be commissioning further work to evaluate the continuing cost-effectiveness of the scheme.

Mr. Foulkes

I am grateful for that answer. Of course we all welcome inward investment by companies such as Toyota, Chunghwa and Lucky Goldstar from Japan, Korea and Taiwan. That raises an interesting question, however. Why can British companies no longer manufacture cars, picture tubes and electronics for the European market? Is that because of some deficiency in British industry, or because there is a bias in the Department of Trade and Industry in favour of inward investment and against indigenous industries?

Mr. Knight

The hon. Gentleman is working under a misapprehension. The availability of regional selective assistance does not depend on the ownership of the company; it is available to British companies, as well as to foreign companies.

Mr. Beggs

When the Minister is further considering regional assistance for inward investment, will he make representations to the Secretaries of State for Scotland and for Northern Ireland with respect to increasing investment in the A75 in Scotland and the A8 in Northern Ireland, thereby increasing the free flow of passengers and freight and the success of tourism in those areas?

Mr. Knight

I will certainly pass on those comments to my right hon. Friends.