John Denham MP, Labour’s Shadow Business Secretary, today challenged Vince Cable in Parliament on Pfizer’s closure of its R&D centre and the failures of the Business Department to deliver a plan for growth, saying:
“It’s time they got a grip. The Tory-led Government has no plan, no strategy, no vision, no leadership and no urgency. By the time of the Budget it will be 321 wasted days of complacency, drift and inactivity.
“They make the odd superficially eye-catching announcement to make it look as though they doing something, but fundamentally they don’t believe in an active role for Government.”
John Denham pointed to the Pfizer decision:
“This is one of the industries in which Britain should be leading the world. We have a huge advantage in fundamental and applied research. The NHS has a huge potential advantage for properly regulated clinical trials. And yet, one of the world’s leading manufacturers is closing a major plant here in Kent.
“The Tory-led Government and Business Department just wasn’t a player in this huge decision. In the last year, the Business Department has done nothing, apart from implement Labour’s Patent Box tax relief. Science spending has been cut in real terms and science capital investment is cut by 40%. They have not set out a clear vision of the future of the pharmaceutical and bio-science industries, how government will support it; to make it clear to the rest of the world that we will fight tooth and claw for the largest share of this global industry.”
John Denham also challenged the Business Secretary for taking the “wrong choices” and “sowing doubt and confusion instead of creating certainty and confidence” as the “last thing business needs”. He highlighted the chaotic abolition of the RDAs, the chaotic changes to the planning system, the delay to the roll out of broadband and confusion over the future of R&D tax credits.
The Shadow Business Secretary challenged the Tory-led Government for failing to provide a growth plan:
“Governments cannot create private sector growth, but Governments can create the conditions in which the private sector is most likely to grow. In the areas where we do and can hope to compete with the best in the world in the future – in advanced manufacturing, business services, the creative industries, IT and the low carbon economy – every part of Government policy; from fundamental research to export support needs to be properly aligned, working together. But the Business Department has failed to produce any plan for growth and jobs.”