14. What his policy is on the future ring-fencing of the science budget. (900333)
I was grateful to my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer for protecting the science budget during the last Parliament, but the flat cash settlement agreed in 2010 is now worth 15% less than it was then. Will the Minister agree to look at that and at least make good that loss when preparing the Budget and going into the spending review, so that our excellent science base can play its full part in delivering our long-term economic plan?
I once again congratulate my hon. Friend on his excellent election result in Basildon. I note that, to date, he has served five years on the Science and Technology Committee, so there cannot be many in the House who take a stronger interest in the matter. He will know that our capital funding for science almost doubled in the last Parliament, and that we take science very seriously. Wider decisions on science funding will be dealt with in the spending review.