I am delighted to answer Question 19.
The Budget of June 2010 set out the Government’s plans to reduce the deficit and rebuild the economy. The Government’s strategy since then has provided the foundations for recovery. Market interest rates have fallen to near-record lows. The deficit has been reduced by a quarter over two years. Employment is at record highs and exports of goods to China, India and Brazil have increased by about a third.
The Government set out in 2010-11 some key initiatives in the all-important life science sector: the biomedical catalyst fund, the patent box and tax breaks for start-up companies. This week sees the publication of the catalyst fund’s first annual report, showing that more than £1 billion has been raised in five new early stage funds in the UK, with more than 50 innovative medical projects coming to the NHS. Does that not suggest that we are laying the foundations for a sustainable recovery?
My hon. Friend makes an excellent point and I am sure that the House is delighted to have heard him do so. I know that he has done some superb work with the biotech industry. I met representatives of the BioIndustry Association a few weeks ago and they recognised that the steps we have taken on the patent box and research and development tax credits have put in place a very favourable environment for that industry.