HC Deb 05 February 1998 vol 305 cc1210-1
3. Mr. Dalyell

Pursuant to her answer of 18 November 1997, Official Report, column 105, on locating in Scotland, if she will make a statement on the status of the Committee on Overseas Promotion after the establishment of a Scottish Parliament. [25686]

The Minister of State, Department of Trade and Industry (Mr. Ian McCartney)

I expect the Committee on Overseas Promotion to continue as an administrative forum which enables the Invest in Britain Bureau and all its partner agencies in the UK to liaise and to co-ordinate their activities as necessary.

Mr. Dalyell

Who will umpire the game of beggar-my-industrial-neighbour between Holyrood and Westminster?

Mr. McCartney

My hon. Friend asked that question in my deaf ear.

The proposals are intended to secure better coordination and co-operation between all parts of the United Kingdom—Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales—and to provide best value for United Kingdom taxpayers, ensuring best practice and transparency so that the United Kingdom remains the No. 1 location for inward investment. That is what the Government have attempted to do and will continue to do. When we are ready, we will announce the proposals relating to the concordat.

Mr. Baldry

The Minister seems a bit confused. The question is about overseas promotion, while the concordat is clearly about inward investment. We know that there will be a concordat on inward investment, but will there also be something akin to the concordat to ensure that there is no competition between the various parts of the United Kingdom in the promotion of exports?

Mr. McCartney

The whole purpose of the Government's strategy is to promote not only inward investment but exports. That is why we have shown the way that the Government are moving forward on our competitive agenda. The body will co-operate and co-ordinate activities in these areas. That approach differs from that of the hon. Gentleman and the previous Government who did nothing to co-ordinate activities in this area.