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Investors And Risk Takers

Volume 227: debated on Monday 28 June 1993

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To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what intitiatives his Department has taken to encourage the investors, entrepreneurs and risk takers of the United Kingdom to produce scientific products for the world market.

Partnership for the creating of wealth lies at the heart of the White Paper on science, engineering and technology. As markers of that—there are too many aspects to go through in one question—each research council will have a mission statement that reflects that aim, and the Technology Foresight exercise will be identifying generic aspects of technology and research that are most useful for the United Kingdom's industrial base, a policy which has already proved to be successful in Japan. In support of that, the Department of Trade and Industry's innovation budget to assist small business will be increased by 15 per cent. this year.

Is my hon. Friend aware that trade and industry are delighted with the emphasis that the Government are now placing on the research councils' drive for wealth creation? That is just what industry and commerce want, and it is just what the doctor ordered.

I thank my hon. Friend for his comments. He is supported by several people, not least Richard Freeman, ICI's chief economist, who, referring to science and technology, said:

"A central feature of the White Paper is the commitment to the greater focus of S&T policy on United Kingdom competitiveness and wealth creation. Within more explicit guidelines … research is to have regard to its relevance and potential for appropriation by industry and other users. These are changes to be greatly welcomed."
I agree with him entirely.