Incubators and accelerators across the country play a vital role in helping our high-growth start-ups and scale- ups. That is why we continue to fund the strength in places fund, and are investing £100 million to pilot new innovation accelerators. That is also why, on my various tours around clusters, I recently went to the Leicester space and satellite hub, the Leeds digital health and medtech hub in the hon. Lady’s county, the Northumbria University and Ashington further education hub, and the BioYorkshire hub in her area.
York’s economic future depends on releasing the talent of our entrepreneurs and social enterprises. To do that, we need to ensure that they have space to innovate and grow. In each of the last four quarters, however, we have seen the loss of 100,000 entrepreneurs, so what investment will be made to ensure that we have the infrastructure in place for the acceleration and incubation of the future business industry?
The hon. Lady makes an important point about social enterprises being mainstreamed in the business community. She may have seen the recent report by the all-party parliamentary group for social enterprise, of which I have long been a supporter, that argued that we should mainstream social enterprise in the BEIS policy framework, which is an interesting proposal. We have just announced the biggest increase in research and development and innovation funding—an increase of £25 billion over the next three years. I have asked UK Research and Innovation to focus on that incubation hub infrastructure around the country, so that we can continue to support the university and small business networks that create the opportunities for tomorrow.