3 Stephen Metcalfe debates involving the Department for Science, Innovation & Technology

Oral Answers to Questions

Stephen Metcalfe Excerpts
Wednesday 3rd May 2023

(11 months, 2 weeks ago)

Commons Chamber
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George Freeman Portrait George Freeman
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Here we go—Labour talking Britain down again. The truth is that I am not at all complacent about the clinical trials numbers. At the Life Sciences Council, in the next few weeks, we will be setting out a very clear plan to reverse the decline since the pandemic in the NHS.

The hon. Lady might have mentioned the major investment coming into west London—her part of the world—including the MedTech SuperConnector, the spin-outs there and SynbiCITE, the synthetic biology hub. She might at least acknowledge the major investment —billions of pounds—from Moderna and BioNTech into this country, laying the foundation for a next phase of science innovation. With the life sciences sector, we are in a global race, but we are still leading in the technologies of tomorrow.

Stephen Metcalfe Portrait Stephen Metcalfe (South Basildon and East Thurrock) (Con)
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Can my hon. Friend comment on the Department’s 10-point science and technology framework, which will help provide the long-term funding needed to turn the start-ups he has mentioned into sustainable, successful, globally leading businesses?

George Freeman Portrait George Freeman
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I thank my hon. Friend, who has been a strong champion of that agenda. In the new Department’s science and technology framework we have set out a long-term, 10-year view of the serious reforms that we need to make to procurement, regulation and skills across the whole of Government if we are to drive our science superpower agenda. A fundamental part of that is converting the health of our start-up ecosystem into scale-ups. That is why the Treasury is leading on the re-regulation of pension funds—so that we can unlock some of our pension trillions and put it into supporting our companies to grow here rather than go to NASDAQ.

Oral Answers to Questions

Stephen Metcalfe Excerpts
Thursday 9th March 2023

(1 year, 1 month ago)

Commons Chamber
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Stuart Andrew Portrait The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport (Stuart Andrew)
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As I said earlier, I am acutely aware of the difficulties that are being felt, but they are happening in different parts of the country, which is why we are taking time to have a look at exactly where those specific problems are and what measures we may be able to take to introduce some help and support. The other thing to think about is that some of these buildings are very old and very expensive to run, so we perhaps need to consider a longer-term solution as well.

Stephen Metcalfe Portrait Stephen Metcalfe (South Basildon and East Thurrock) (Con)
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As my hon. Friend will know, the creative industries have grown at twice the rate of the wider economy since 2010. Does she agree that, by harnessing the power of science and technology, the sector can continue to prosper and grow? Will she meet me to discuss what more we can do to ensure that this is the place in which to create digital content?

Science and Technology Framework

Stephen Metcalfe Excerpts
Tuesday 7th March 2023

(1 year, 1 month ago)

Commons Chamber
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Michelle Donelan Portrait Michelle Donelan
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What I can do is reaffirm the commitment that by 2024-25 we will have a record level of R&D spending in this country: £20 billion. Rather than simply standing here announcing endless pots of money, we are being strategic in our spending, and working with the sector when we come up with our policies and plans.

Stephen Metcalfe Portrait Stephen Metcalfe (South Basildon and East Thurrock) (Con)
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I welcome the statement and wholeheartedly support it, but may I remind the House that science is a global endeavour? If we are to deliver on the ambitions set out in the framework, we will need to work with our partners. May I ask my right hon. Friend to look at the visa system in particular to ensure that it does not act as a barrier to attracting world-leading scientists and technicians to the UK to help us to deliver on those ambitions?

Michelle Donelan Portrait Michelle Donelan
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I completely agree with my hon. Friend. Part of the framework is about our international collaboration with partners. Of course we need to grow our own talent, a point made earlier by my right hon. Friend the Member for Tunbridge Wells (Greg Clark), but we also need to attract talent, and to ensure that our visa system—as well as many other factors—enables that to happen. I will continue to work on that issue across Government.