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19 September 2011

David Mowat Conservative MP for Warrington South

Question and Comment!



David Mowat MP

With recent figures from the OECD suggesting that Britain's economic recovery could be jeopardised unless there is growth in the North of England, what initiatives are having the greatest impact in the North West in terms of lifting growth rates? And what more can be done?

 "With seven million people in the North West, the region has a larger population than most EU countries. Putting the region's size into this context highlights the significant role that it has to play in the future prospects of the UK economy.

 "Although no one would claim that high-speed rail on its own could solve the north-south divide, the implementation of HS2 might go some way to restoring the balance. The economic benefits from the project as a result of the direct and indirect job creation, as well as the improved infrastructure and connectivity with the rest of the UK, could have the greatest impact on the region.

 In recent years, the North West has capitalised on the dramatic growth of the financial services sector as well as the rising demand for renewable energy, digital and creative services and biomedical science, as identified by the success of The North West Fund's sector sub-funds. However, if the region is to take advantage of the opportunities in high growth sectors, our schools and universities need to be producing better quality graduates.

"Currently, I would say that the greatest threat to growth in the North West and UK is the prospect of an inadequately skilled labour force. Without the right people, it will be more difficult for firms to remain, invest in or move to the North West and the jobs will simply move elsewhere in the UK or abroad.

"Crucially, the region's ability to respond to the changing economic environment is dependent on the health of our small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs), which are our greatest source of employment. These businesses are eager to access the right financial and managerial support to fulfill their potential, so it is encouraging to see the likes of The North West Fund stepping in to fill the gap.

"Reducing red tape and the fiscal burden on SMEs will also help to stimulate enterprise. Businesses across all sectors need to be given the room to penetrate new markets or develop new products and services so that we can create a more balanced and dynamic economy."

David Mowat is the Conservative MP for Warrington South


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