Higher Education and Research Bill - Report (4th Day)

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 7:00 pm on 15th March 2017.

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Photo of The Earl of Selborne The Earl of Selborne Chair, Science and Technology Committee (Lords), Chair, Science and Technology Committee (Lords) 7:00 pm, 15th March 2017

My Lords, I welcome government Amendment 183, which addresses the issue that the noble Baroness, Lady Young, has just referred to. As chairman of the Science and Technology Committee, I can confirm that we were indeed concerned at the original proposals, some months back now, that Innovate UK should be put together with Research England into a research council, because it was clearly absolutely essential that the business community should have confidence that it had Innovate UK very much at its disposal as its organisation, and it was not somehow going to be subsumed by the research councils to be the commercial arm of Research Councils UK.

I accept that the concerns expressed by the noble Baronesses, Lady Brown and Lady Young, have validity, but I recognise that the government amendments, particularly paragraphs (a) and (b) in Amendment 183, requiring arrangements to have regard to,

“persons engaged in business activities”,


“the need to promote innovation by persons carrying on business”,

go a very long way from where we were some months ago. I, for one, am content to accept these as meeting most of my original concerns.