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Research and Development

Volume 720: debated on Tuesday 11 October 2022

At the 2021 spending review, the Government announced an increase in public expenditure on R&D to £20 billion a year by 2024-25, including funding for association to EU programmes.

I thank the Chancellor and his team for making the Treasury a growth Department. Do they agree that innovation-led growth is particularly important if we want to drive up productivity, competitiveness and inward investment, and that our high-growth sectors such as space, agritech and fusion have a big role to play? Will the Economic Secretary specifically reassure those in the R&D community that he will not be tempted to reduce the allocation for Horizon or for science and research in the comprehensive spending review? That would reassure the markets.

Very few Members can look back on a track record of commitment to R&D as significant as that of my hon. Friend, both as a Minister and as a Back Bencher. I am happy to confirm to him that we will abide by the spending review 2021 decisions, and that that includes funding for core Innovate UK programmes, for association to Horizon Europe and for the Advanced Research and Invention Agency.

The Minister needs to be much more specific about the Horizon Europe programme. Is he aware that the Nobel laureate Sir Andre Geim has said that top academics are leaving the country in despair because the Government are not negotiating on Horizon Europe? When will the Government do something—now?

The right hon. Lady is right about the importance of this issue. The United Kingdom absolutely wishes to move forward, and we would hope that the European Union would move forward apace with us to reach an agreement.