Science and Innovation: Levelling Up

Part of Business, Energy and Industrial strategy – in the House of Commons on 22nd February 2022.

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Photo of George Freeman George Freeman Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)

I suggest the hon. Lady reads the levelling-up White Paper. If she reads it, she will see that it is a very substantial document that deals with precisely the points she has just made. [Interruption.] I will deal with the specific question she asked about devolution and extending investment around the country. That is why we have made a pledge—a pledge that the Labour party never made, by the way—to increase R&D spending outside the greater south-east. Our Department, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, which is responsible for 75% of R&D, will move to being 55% outside the south-east. The point she misses is that we do not level up this country by destroying the golden triangle; we level up by building the clusters, moving from a discovery economy to a development economy. As a Member for the north-east, I thought she would be applauding the phenomenal growth in the north-east as a result of our policies.