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World Leadership in Science, Research and Innovation

Volume 701: debated on Tuesday 21 September 2021

4. What steps his Department is taking to establish the UK’s position as a world leader in science, research and innovation. (903531)

I thank my hon. Friend, who has been a distinguished Minister in the Treasury and the Department for Transport and a champion of innovation. As the Prime Minister has made clear, the Government are completely committed to unlocking this country’s global reach as a science superpower and an innovation nation. That is why we are committed to spending £14.9 billion this year on research and development, and to increasing the total R&D budget to £22 billion and 2.5% of GDP.

I thank my hon. Friend for that answer, and congratulate him. It is good to see him back at the Dispatch Box.

One of the largest employers in my constituency is Labcorp, a business that is at the heart of new medicine development both in the UK and across Europe and has played a role in the life science industry response to covid. It is considering UK expansion over the next five years at a number of sites across the UK. Will my hon. Friend meet me to discuss that opportunity, and also some of the obstacles that may get in the way of it, with a view to securing expansion in the UK as a whole but in Harrogate in particular?

I should be delighted to meet my hon. Friend soon to discuss that. Labcorp is a major global corporation whose investment in the new clinical pharmacology site is vital. It is in such companies that we need to be investing to drive private investment in research and development.

Time and again I have raised with the Government the opportunity to invest in BioYorkshire, which will create 4,000 jobs for my constituents, upskill 25,000 people, and deliver £5 billion in gross value added to the Government. Will the Minister meet me to discuss it? COP26 is just six weeks away, and not pursuing projects like this is holding back the improvements that we can make to our environment.

As I have said, I am wholly committed to ensuring that science innovation drives levelling up and regeneration, and I should be delighted to meet the hon. Lady. I shall be on my way to County Durham on Thursday, so perhaps I can meet her next week or the week after.