Emma Lewell-Buck – 2015 Parliamentary Question to the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills

The below Parliamentary question was asked by Emma Lewell-Buck on 2015-12-02.

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, what steps his Department has taken to encourage (a) UK-owned and (b) UK-based private sector companies to invest in UK energy and manufacturing supply chains.

Anna Soubry

The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) has worked jointly with Department of Energy & Climate Change (DECC) and UKTI to encourage investment in UK energy supply chains, in both UK-owned and UK-based companies, and to achieve higher levels of UK content in energy infrastructure. We have worked constructively with project developers to enhance the opportunities for UK-based companies to win contracts and with top tier suppliers to encourage them to invest in the UK.

BIS continues to work with DECC and the Oil & Gas Authority (OGA) to encourage investment in the UK Continental shelf (UKCS) and these arrangements include the formation of a Supply Chain Board to promote development of the oil and gas supply chain. Subsequent to the Oil & Gas Skills Analysis Report we maintain a regular dialogue with Offshore Petroleum Industry Training Organisation (OPITO), the oil and gas skills body, who advise on skills gaps.

For large renewable energy projects, developers are required to have their Supply Chain Plans approved by Government, setting out how they will boost competition, innovation and skills, before they are eligible to apply for price support under the Contract for Difference regime. BIS has supported the GROW: Offshore Wind programme to help SMEs in England to compete in the offshore wind supply chain and the Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult to help companies bring new technologies to market.

Open competition is important to bring down the costs of energy and, in open competition, UK bidders do not always win the contracts. We have made no specific assessment of the impact of UK contractors failing to win contracts on the UK economy, including the Scotland economy, and on the UK skills base.

More widely, the Government is taking a number of steps to strengthen UK manufacturing supply chains and help these businesses compete in global markets.

First and foremost, we are building a strong economy and a competitive business environment. We are backing manufacturers by cutting corporation tax, slashing red tape by a further £10billion and investing £6.9billion in the UK’s infrastructure. This is creating the right economic conditions to encourage the business investment crucial to UK manufacturing productivity growth and jobs.

Through the sectors councils we are working closely with manufacturing companies to understand their needs and remove barriers in their path. The Government continues to invest in our world leading aerospace, automotive, defence and transport sectors and has reformed procurement rules so the supply chain can reap maximum benefit; whilst the High Value Manufacturing Catapult shows how companies can adapt to new technologies reduce their costs and boost productivity. One in six manufacturers have reshored production over the past three years and around one third of the 2,000 new Foreign Direct Investment projects landed in 2014/15 were in the areas of advanced manufacturing and life sciences. Business has the confidence to invest and make things in the UK again because the Government is getting the fundamentals of the economy right and creating a highly competitive, pro-business environment.