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Digital Infrastructure

Volume 622: debated on Tuesday 28 February 2017

The Government are taking action to give the United Kingdom the world-leading infrastructure that it needs. The Government-led £1.7 billion superfast broadband programme will extend coverage to 95% of UK premises by the end of 2017.

From artificial intelligence to mechanisation, we live in a period of unprecedented technological change, and the Government should foster it in rural and urban areas. Can the Economic Secretary confirm that he will resist the calls of a new generation of Luddites for robots to be taxed?

I was going to make a joke about the Liberal Democrats, but as there are none in the Chamber I will merely reassure my hon. Friend that the Government have no current plans to introduce a robot tax.

Current tax rules do not allow companies to set the cost of mathematical research against tax. That is obviously very out of date in an era of data science, and it does not apply to science and engineering. Will Ministers take this as a Budget representation, please?

We have significantly increased R and D tax credits; and, as a mathematician, I agree with the hon. Lady that maths is always important.