Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy: Business in Scotland: Support (16 Oct 2018)
Greg Clark: The Chancellor and I work closely together to support businesses across the United Kingdom. I also work with the Cabinet Secretary for Finance, Economy and Fair Work in the Scottish Government to ensure that we can create the right environment for innovative businesses throughout Scotland to thrive. Indeed, I will be meeting him again later this afternoon.

Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy: Sainsbury’s and Asda: Merger (16 Oct 2018)
Greg Clark: I will indeed. Our supermarkets make an important contribution to our high streets, as do independent stores, and we want that to continue in the future. Sainsbury’s plays an important role on the high street.

Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy: Leaving the EU: Business Growth in Scotland (16 Oct 2018)
Greg Clark: The hon. Gentleman’s point underlines why it is important that we secure a positive deal, and the implication of that analysis is that if we do secure that deal, as I hope and expect that we will, there will be a substantial upside for the economy. The hon. Gentleman is interested in the negotiations because they provide us with access to European markets, but it is a matter of record...

Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy: Small Business: Rates (16 Oct 2018)
Greg Clark: When the right hon. Gentleman was a Minister in the Business Department, he took part in a decision to defer revaluation, for reasons that he understands. I accept the point—it has been made strongly by the Retail Sector Council—that reflecting the contribution that high street businesses make to their communities is a significant need. As business rates are reviewed, that is one...

Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy: Leaving the EU: Business Growth in Scotland (16 Oct 2018)
Greg Clark: The proposals have been warmly welcomed by businesses across the country, including in Scotland, because they would allow us to continue what are successful trading arrangements without frictions.

Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy: Sainsbury’s and Asda: Merger (16 Oct 2018)
Greg Clark: My hon. Friend raises an interesting point. That is why the CMA is conducting its investigation, and it has powers to prevent the loss of competition if it is in prospect.

Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy: Leaving the EU: Business Growth in Scotland (16 Oct 2018)
Greg Clark: We need to make sure that we have a negotiated deal along the lines of the proposals made in the White Paper that have been welcomed by the manufacturing industry in all parts of the UK.

Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy: Business in Scotland: Support (16 Oct 2018)
Greg Clark: I do recognise that, not just in the case of hon. Gentleman’s beautiful but remote constituency but in the case of those of very many hon. Members across the country. This is a commitment that we have made in the industrial strategy. If we are to be a successful economy, using digital skills and attracting digital businesses, we need an upgrade in our broadband infrastructure.

Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy: Leaving the EU: Business Growth in Scotland (16 Oct 2018)
Greg Clark: My hon. Friend is right. Part of the industrial strategy is about making more patient capital available in Scotland and all across the UK for growing businesses, of which he has many in his constituency.

Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy: Leaving the EU: Business Growth in Scotland (16 Oct 2018)
Greg Clark: Reaching a good agreement with the European Union will have a positive effect on business growth in Scotland and in every other part of the United Kingdom. In Green GB Week, it is important to highlight the huge clean growth opportunities in Scotland in a sector that supports tens of thousands of jobs and brings £11 billion into Scotland’s economy.

Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy: Leaving the EU: Business Growth in Scotland (16 Oct 2018)
Greg Clark: My hon. Friend anticipates some negotiations that will need to take place on our future economic partnership. Suffice it to say, however, that we have a mutual interest in the interconnection between the UK and the continent, and it is strongly in the interests of consumers in this country and on the continent that the ability to trade over those interconnectors should continue.

Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy: Sainsbury’s and Asda: Merger (16 Oct 2018)
Greg Clark: I am always very happy to meet the trade unions. As I have said, I met the chief executive of Sainsbury’s yesterday. The company intends to run the Asda and Sainsbury’s businesses separately. It does not propose store closures or changes to the terms and conditions of the separate employees.

Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy: Leaving the EU: Business Growth in Scotland (16 Oct 2018)
Greg Clark: It would be disastrous. The value of exports from Scotland to the rest of the UK is £45.8 billion, compared with around £12.5 billion to the rest of the EU, so anyone who, like me, is interested in being able to trade without frictions should apply their own analysis to their own policy of pulling out of the UK.

Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy: Sainsbury’s and Asda: Merger (16 Oct 2018)
Greg Clark: The hon. Gentleman raises a very important question. The essence of the CMA investigation is to see whether there could be—not just nationally, but in particular places—any diminution of competition. If the CMA thinks that that is in prospect, it has the powers to block the merger or to place conditions on it, such as requiring the sale of businesses to a competitor.

Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy: Leaving the EU: Business Growth in Scotland (16 Oct 2018)
Greg Clark: I hope that the hon. Gentleman supports the Government’s determination to ensure that the integrity of the whole of the United Kingdom is guaranteed by the negotiation. He suggests that the consequences of no deal would be negative; of course they would. That is why we are doing everything we can, with increasing confidence, to secure a positive deal with the rest of the European Union....

Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy: Business in Scotland: Support (16 Oct 2018)
Greg Clark: The industrial strategy is something on which we have good collaboration with the Scottish Government. It is right that we should work together for the long term. If we want to make sure that Scottish businesses can thrive, there needs to be a competitive environment. One thing that I know is very much on the minds of Scottish businesses is that Scotland is the highest taxed part of the...

Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy: Sainsbury’s and Asda: Merger (16 Oct 2018)
Greg Clark: Sainsbury’s has confirmed that there are no planned store closures as a result of the merger. The proposed merger of Sainsbury’s and Asda remains conditional on clearance by the Competition and Markets Authority. I wrote to the CMA on the issue in May, and the Under-Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, my hon. Friend the Member for Rochester and...

Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy: Small Business: Rates (16 Oct 2018)
Greg Clark: The small business sector is thriving. We have 5.7 million small and medium-sized enterprises, and we are ranked in the top 10 in the world for ease of doing business. As the right hon. Gentleman knows, the Government have taken significant action on business rates in each of the last three Budgets, including £9 billion of support announced in 2016, making sure that nearly two thirds of...

Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy: Sainsbury’s and Asda: Merger (16 Oct 2018)
Greg Clark: It is true that the directors of the company have an obligation to have regard to the workforce. The CMA is independent of the Government, as the hon. Gentleman knows. It will make its report and assessment, and I am sure that it will look at all the companies’ responsibilities.

Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy: Small Business: Rates (16 Oct 2018)
Greg Clark: My hon. Friend can reflect on the fact that the Government have taken action to permanently double business rates relief from 50% to 100% and to raise the threshold from £6,000 to £12,000. That means that a third of all properties, including small shops, now pay no business rates at all.


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