During a debate in Parliament on Thursday 15 March on the effectiveness of UK Trade and Investment (UKTI), the Government agency which helps UK companies export their products worldwide, Geoffrey Clifton-Brown, MP for The Cotswolds, and Neil Carmichael, MP for Stroud, stressed the importance of their work to the economy and jobs in Gloucestershire.

UKTI, which was formed in 2003 and now employs around 2,400 staff and advisers globally, has the vital task of enhancing the competitiveness of companies in Britain through overseas trade and investments; and attract a continuing high level of quality foreign direct investment (FDI) into the UK.

Speaking in the debate Mr Clifton-Brown, citing the example of Renishaw Plc, emphasized the significant benefits that companies achieve through exports saying:

“The effectiveness of the work of UKTI is vital to our economic recovery. A company in my constituency called Renishaw plc, chaired by the excellent David McMurtry, is doing incredibly well.”

“Its revenues for the past six months, ending 31 December 2011, were up by a record 11% -that is £147 million-and as a result it is now employing 16,050 staff, with 130 vacancies, including 25 apprenticeships and 30 graduate positions.”

“That is the real importance of exports: the growth of the economy, but also employment prospects-graduate and work placement prospects, which are so vital for youngsters leaving education.”

Mr Clifton-Brown also praised the work of the Gloucestershire Chamber of Commerce and encouraged the Government to make greater use of their expertise. This was a point addressed by Mark Prisk MP, the Business and Enterprise Minister, in his response:

“My hon. Friend the Member for The Cotswolds mentioned chambers [of commerce], which he has rightly championed for a long time. “

“Chambers are a part of a number of private sector consortia that are delivering foreign direct investment.”

Commenting after the debate, Mr Carmichael said:

“In Gloucestershire and my constituency, we have had some striking successes with UKTI, for example, Green Fuels has developed businesses in Nevada and Mexico with their assistance.”

“UKTI will be a vital tool to rebalancing our economy and providing sustainable economic growth for the future.”

Also commenting afterwards, Mr Clifton-Brown said: “I very much welcomed the opportunity to speak on this very important matter.

“High levels of exports and FDI have always been an indicator of the health of an economy and it is imperative that the Government does all it can to promote exports from the UK and attract FDI “

“There are huge benefits to companies who export, like Renishaw, and to our local economy in terms of the jobs these companies will create.”

“I very much hope that the Government will consider those points made during the debate and continue to improve the work of UKTI.”

Source: Geoffrey Clifton-Brown MP Member of Parliament for The Cotswolds