The vaccine taskforce has successfully brought together the collective effort of Government, academia and industry behind a single purpose and mission. Its hard work and focus, in partnership with the NHS and other organisations, helped the UK to become the first country to procure, authorise and deploy the Pfizer-BioNTech and Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccines. As I speak, over 30 million individuals across the UK have now received their first dose.
As the Secretary of State has rightly acknowledged, under his Department’s authorisation the vaccine taskforce has performed brilliantly, but it has needed a scientific and industrial base that was already there to work with. As he knows, there are some concerns about dependency on an overseas supply chain that may be interrupted. As the new Secretary of State, will he make a name for himself by challenging the dead hand of Treasury dogma and ensuring that Government contracts and projects across the board put British industry first at last?
I am very pleased that the right hon. Gentleman is so enthusiastic about our British ingenuity and hard work. I and my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer are always working extremely hard and are very focused on trying to promote innovation in this country in our research and development base.