Extract from a speech by the Rt Hon Pat McFadden MP, UK Minister for Business, Innovation and Skills to CII.
Like many other countries in the world we have come through a difficult economic period in the UK over the last couple of years, but in the last quarter saw a small but significant return to growth.
From the top of the recession to the bottom there was a contraction of some 6 per cent in GDP, smaller than some other countries affected but still of course a very difficult time for our companies and their workforces.
Unemployment rose but rose less than many commentators expected because of determined government action including our fiscal stimulus, the bringing forward of capital spending and focused job search and training help delivered through our Jobcentre Plus network.
We have necessarily incurred debt to help get the country through the recession, as have a number of other countries and I know that fiscal stimulus was also part of the response to the downturn here in India too. We have set out a plan to halve the deficit over four years while at the same time doing everything we can to protect front line services such as health and schools which the public rely on.
Having come through these difficult economic times, the UK is now well placed to expand.
Our manufacturing companies took their share of pain during the recession but recent figures show manufacturing output up and a competitive exchange rate makes the UK an attractive source of manufacturing goods for the rest of the world.
We are committed to growth and in January published our growth plan committed to expansion in skills, infrastructure growth and access to capital for businesses in the coming years.
We see manufacturing as important in contributing to that growth. Sometimes it is said that Britain is a post manufacturing economy but that is not true. We are the sixth biggest manufacturing country in the world and the expertise of UK companies can be of huge help to India, for example in infrastructure projects, automotive supplies, aerospace, defence and pharmaceuticals.
We have also just completed the agreement on civil nuclear development with India where UK companies have a great deal to offer in world class engineering.
The two way investment flow between Britain and India is strong but I believe it can become even stronger in future years. We are both committed to open trade and see the opportunities presented by globalisation as well as its challenges.
The UK has been a favoured destination for Indian companies in recent years, with India rising up the league of inward investors. The UK is home to 60 per cent of the Indian inward investment that comes to Europe and we have some 500 Indian owned companies, attracted by our business environment.
The World Bank has identified the UK as the number one location in Europe for doing business and Indian companies wishing to invest will find a good regulatory environment, a well trained and flexible workforce, a well funded and world class higher education and scientific base and a government committed to business success.
We are the best location in Europe for such investment.
Notes to Editors
1. For India media queries, please contact Deepti Soni on Deepti.Soni@fco.gov.uk or call on +91-9810312913.
2. For UK media queries, please contact Rachel Clarke, BIS press office, on Rachel.firstname.lastname@example.org or call: 18002 020 7215 5945.
3. The UK Minister for Business, Innovation and Skills, Pat McFadden, addressed the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) at CII House, Delhi on Wednesday 17 February 2010.
4. Mr McFadden is visiting India (13-17 February) to strengthen scientific and innovation collaboration between the two countries, particularly on key challenges for the UK and India. These include improving the provision of education, equipping people with the tools and skills to rebuild the global economy, and mitigating the effects of climate change. More details about the visit can be found at http://ukinindia.fco.gov.uk
Notes to editors
Department for Business, Innovation & Skills
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