Public Health England: Relocation to Harlow Debate

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Department: Department of Health and Social Care

Public Health England: Relocation to Harlow

Julie Marson Excerpts
Monday 12th July 2021

(6 months, 2 weeks ago)

Commons Chamber
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Julie Marson Portrait Julie Marson (Hertford and Stortford) (Con)
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It is a pleasure to have you in the Chair, Madam Deputy Speaker. It is also a real honour to follow my right hon. Friend the Member for Harlow (Robert Halfon), and I congratulate him on securing this important debate. I commend the argument he has made. The powerful argument does not recognise boundaries; the economic opportunity that he outlines knows no boundaries, including parliamentary boundaries. The economic and strategic benefits of the PHE successor moving to Harlow will also have a powerful benefit in my constituency.

Hertford and Stortford is a beautiful place to live and work, but we too have pockets of deprivation and we too are part of the Government’s levelling-up agenda. We are also building thousands of new homes in the Harlow and Gilston garden town project. The success of that flagship project is so important; as far as I know, it is part of the biggest release of greenbelt land ever. That project is dependent on people and place making—on having skilled jobs for people to do, making it a vibrant new place to live and work.

My constituency is also at the very heart of the Innovation Corridor. As co-chair of the all-party parliamentary group for the Innovation Corridor, I am passionate about the strategic benefits and synergies of siting the public health science campus in this globally renowned cluster for life sciences and healthcare. The corridor is part of an ecosystem and by its very nature every ecosystem is complex; it is not just a case of plonking somewhere down randomly. We need to think about housing, skills and infrastructure. We have all this in the London-Stansted-Cambridge corridor. Harlow is at the heart of that, but so is Hertford and Stortford. We really do want to make the absolute most of the clusters and skills that are at their peak in our part of the Innovation Corridor.

I know that this is part of the Government’s strategic objective to attract investment into our area, particularly foreign direct investment. At the APPG for the Innovation Corridor’s recent annual general meeting, we heard from people in North Carolina and Canada, and asked them, “What are the drivers of success?”. They said that it is about clusters and strategic thinking; that is a crucial part of the success. The campus, with its wider benefits for my constituency, my county and the Innovation Corridor, will be a further step in making the area a scientific global superpower. I commend it to the Minister and again congratulate my right hon. Friend the Member for Harlow on allowing us to have this debate.