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Life Sciences

Volume 620: debated on Tuesday 31 January 2017

We invest £2 billion a year in health life sciences research through our research councils and the National Institute for Health Research. Through funding for the biomedical catalyst, we are helping businesses to bring that research to market. We announced in the new industrial strategy that Sir John Bell will be leading work on a strategy to make the UK the best place in the world to invest in life sciences.

Alongside that welcome support, private investment will be critical to the success of the industry. Will the Minister outline what suggestions he might make in his Budget submission to the Chancellor to stimulate such investment?

My hon. Friend makes an important point. Access to finance is key to a dynamic life sciences sector in the UK. In November, the Prime Minister announced a review of patient capital to identify barriers to access to long-term finance for growing firms, looking at all aspects of the financial system. We look forward to the review’s recommendations ahead of the autumn statement.

The industrial strategy will have a major impact on speeding up Genomics England’s ability to sequence the genome. Will my hon. Friend confirm that he is working with the Department of Health to ensure that the Government’s investment will be spent effectively to encourage greater productivity?

The industrial strategy Green Paper highlights work on a new strategy for life sciences, bringing together the health system, industry and academia and potentially leading to an early sector deal. The accelerated access review sets out a vision of the NHS embracing innovation, and the Government will respond in due course.