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Science Funding (North-East)

Volume 447: debated on Thursday 15 June 2006

I have received a number of representations on regional funding, including on science and innovation, and will consider them in our work on public spending over the coming year.

Will my hon. Friend join me in congratulating Durham county council and the County Durham Development Company on their NETPark project, a major science park being developed in County Durham? Does he agree that it is important that such innovation has the full backing of all Government agencies, including the regional development agency? Will he look into why £4 million of funding has been withdrawn from the new plastic electronics centre at the site for budgetary reasons?

I gladly join my hon. Friend in congratulating Durham county council and I agree that it is an important issue for the region’s productivity. That is why I welcome the decision of One NorthEast to commit £200 million over five years to building up the scientific research and innovation of the north-east. I will certainly look further into the particular case that he mentioned. Last week, I met the chief executive of AddIt North-East, whose role is to pool public sector communications demand as a lever to build a world-class infrastructure for the region. That lever is being applied with particular success in the north-east.