Clause 1 - Establishment of ARIA

Part of Advanced Research and Invention Agency Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 9:45 am on 20th April 2021.

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Photo of Daniel Zeichner Daniel Zeichner Shadow Minister (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) 9:45 am, 20th April 2021

I am grateful to the Minister. I admit that there is a sense of gentle joshing in the name change. It is not the engineering issue that is important to us, but the invention issue. I listened closely to for an explanation from the Minister of why “invention” has been chosen, but did not hear one; I would be grateful if she intervened to explain. I outlined clearly why the projects element is so important. We heard a consistent view from witnesses throughout the evidence sessions, so I see no reason why the amendment should not be seriously considered.

Looking at the numbers around me, I do not expect to secure an overwhelming victory in a vote, but this amendment will go on for further discussion elsewhere. I hope that it will be thought about carefully, because it simply cannot be denied that, both in the evidence sessions and outside this place, there is concern about clarity of purpose. We all want the agency to succeed, and the amendment is a constructive suggestion. Personally, I would go for “ARPA”, to make it absolutely clear that we are trying to do what the Americans have achieved in the past. Neither the Minister nor anyone else has given me a sense of clarity about what are actually trying to achieve—to say, “That is what we need to achieve, and that is what is missing.” That is why I wish to divide the Committee on the amendment.