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Dyson Report

Volume 520: debated on Tuesday 21 December 2010

The coalition’s programme for government made a commitment to consider implementation of the Dyson review. The Government’s growth review will be one of the main mechanisms for taking forward the Dyson review’s aim of making the UK the leading high-tech exporter in Europe. The Treasury is currently consulting on the support that research and development tax credits provide for innovation, as part of wider corporate tax reforms.

I welcome that response. The Dyson report recommended tax credits for high-tech start-ups, including businesses such as Chelsea Technologies and TR Control Solutions in my constituency, which create new jobs by pioneering green technology. Can the Minister be encouraged to go one step further and introduce tax breaks to stimulate that niche area of the UK economy, which is good for jobs, revenue and the environment?

I take on board my hon. Friend’s comment, and we are determined to ensure that we do everything we can to help jobs and revenue. That is why we have been able to reduce the corporation tax rate from 28 to 24% over four years, and we are putting in place a stable and predictable tax system. I note his comments, and as I said, there is a review of the matter.

The Dyson report followed the work done by Hermann Hauser, and one of their recommendations is the creation of technology innovation centres, for which the Government correctly set aside some money in the comprehensive spending review. However, all the commentators who have passed judgment on the matter have said that the £200 million allocated, although welcome, will not go terribly far. What assessment has the Minister made of the long-term need to keep that funding stream alive, and is there a long-term plan to increase it substantially?

We continue to look at technology and innovation centres, and we need to do so in the context of what we already have in the UK, such as our science capabilities and industries. We need to take advantage of the commercial opportunities that they provide. I note my hon. Friend’s comments, and we continue to consider the matter.