The Government are making greater use of public procurement to increase innovation and develop supply chains. The small business research initiative has provided the most innovative companies with 1,900 contracts worth £235 million, and it will be expanded. The Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Bill implements the reforms proposed by Lord Young radically to simplify Government procurement, such as by making contract opportunities available on a single website to which all businesses can have access.
Given that the Government’s recent science and innovation strategy does not cover departmental research and development, when will the Government outline their plans on the vital role that Whitehall Departments must play in supporting innovation? In the light of his response, perhaps the Minister will place in the Library a short audit of how Departments are responding to the points he mentioned.
The hon. Gentleman is mistaken. If he reads the science and innovation strategy—I invite him to do so and will send a copy—he will see that it makes several references to this matter, including the fact that the SBRI covers a number of Whitehall Departments and will expand. It also recognises the important work of research and development within each Government Department and makes proposals to advance that.