Treasury Questions: High-technology Manufacturing
8th February 2011
George Freeman welcomes the prospects for high-tech manufacturing suggested by the latest indicators on manufacturing business confidence.
George Freeman (Mid Norfolk) (Con): What assessment he has made of prospects for growth in the high-technology manufacturing sector. 
The Economic Secretary to the Treasury (Justine Greening): The Office for Budget Responsibility sets out the official economic and fiscal forecasts. However, high-tech manufacturing is a key part of our growth plan and we need to ensure that Britain is not just open for business but making things again.
George Freeman: Is my hon. Friend aware of the latest data on manufacturing business confidence? January's purchasing managers indicators show a sharp jump, suggesting annualised growth this year of 2.6%. Intuit, the software survey business, reports that 66% of small and medium-sized enterprise owners say that the VAT rise has no impact on their business, and Investec reports that two thirds of owner-managers plan to hire more staff in 2011. Does that not show that the Government's policy is working and that the right hon. Member for Morley and Outwood (Ed Balls) is out of touch?
Justine Greening: What it shows is that we have the right plan to get our economy back on track. My hon. Friend mentions the purchasing managers index for January, which was at a record high since the series began in 1992. We recognise that our road to recovery will still be choppy, which is one reason why we will bring forward the first phase of the growth review in the Budget that is coming up. That will examine how we can ensure that we create the conditions for our companies to be successful.