Orders of the Day — Budget Resolutions and Economic Situation

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 5:30 pm on 10th March 1999.

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Photo of Stephen Byers Stephen Byers Secretary of State, Department of Trade and Industry 5:30 pm, 10th March 1999

I want to make some progress; I will give way shortly.

We need to ensure that those opportunities are provided, but other, non-tax, measures will benefit industry. As I said in my statement, we will be setting up the new Small Business Service to improve Government assistance to those vital businesses. It will have a strong voice for small business at the heart of Government, and it will improve Government services to small businesses and ensure that those services address the real needs of the sector.

We have not forgotten the importance of science. The Budget shows our commitment to investing in Britain's capabilities, and our science and engineering base must be world class. Scientific discovery underpins our quality of life and is an invaluable source of wealth creation, economic regeneration and employment. That is why my right hon. Friend the Chancellor yesterday increased the Government's contribution to the university challenge fund, which will make a real difference in respect of the commercialisation of scientific research.

I want more British inventions to be transformed into British products—creating jobs and wealth here in Britain. That is not the case at the moment. Our proposals and the measures announced in the Budget will change that and ensure that we can take advantage of our own ideas and do not see them exploited by other countries.