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Life Sciences Sector

Volume 574: debated on Thursday 23 January 2014

We are supporting this key sector through our life sciences and agri-tech strategies, which back research and development and promote manufacturing. Since the Prime Minister launched our strategy two years ago, industry has announced investment of £2 billion, which is a vote of confidence in what we are doing.

I welcome the Government’s commitment to encouraging the nation’s agri-tech industry and to recognising the importance of food security. The Minister and the Secretary of State will no doubt be aware of York and north Yorkshire’s huge potential to become a global leader in food manufacturing, agri-tech and biorenewables industries. As such, will the Minister clarify whether there are any plans to announce further catapult centres in this field?

There is a lot of interest in our new centres for agricultural innovation. We expect to announce the bidding process for the first one in the spring and we will consult on themes for the other centres. I congratulate my hon. Friend on reminding us of the case for York as a possible centre. Of course, my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State was brought up there, but we will try not to allow that to affect our decision.