To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they intend to take to protect and strengthen the United Kingdom's international competitiveness.The reply by Baroness Wilcox was also very general:
My Lords, we are committed to maintaining and improving our international competitiveness by restoring macroeconomic stability, helping provide infrastructure, science and research and better linking higher and further education into the economy. We will ensure that regulation is proportionate and will work towards having the most competitive corporate tax regime in the G20.Then there were other general questions and answers. Towards the end of the allotted 7 minutes Lord Pearson asked:
My Lords, does the noble Baroness recall the estimates made by the EU enterprise and industry commissioner, Mr Gunter Verheugen, that EU overregulation was costing us some 6.4 per cent of GDP per annum-around £84 billion today? Why do Her Majesty's Government insist on staying on the "Titanic" when the iceberg of international competition is staring us in the face?To this Baroness Wilcox gave a very curious reply:
The noble Lord will be very pleased to know that we have already said that we will look seriously at the gold plating that we have been doing to European Union regulations. I am sure that he will support us in that.Very nice, too, except that this was a reply to a completely different question, one that had not been asked.