My noble Friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Innovation (Lord Bethell of Romford) has today made the following written ministerial statement:
The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) National Biosample Centre is a state-of-the-art bio-sample storage and processing facility. It was established in 2014 through a capital grant from the then Department of Health to the University of Oxford, with the aim of enhancing the nation’s capability and capacity to support medical, health and life sciences research into disease mechanisms, new diagnostics and treatments. The NIHR National Biosample Centre remains a key national asset in the context of the Government’s commitment to the life sciences and, since April 2020, it has also served as the Milton Keynes lighthouse lab for covid-19 testing.
To help ensure the long-term financial viability of the NIHR National Biosample Centre, and following consideration of several options, I have approved the transfer of the assets and leasing business from the University of Oxford to the Department of Health and Social Care; in return, the Department will pay £1 and provide the University of Oxford with two indemnities relating to its ownership.
I have today presented a departmental minute notifying Parliament of the two contingent liabilities arising from the provision of these indemnities. Details of the contingent liabilities are set out in the minute.