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Supporting Innovation

Part of the debate – in the Scottish Parliament on 8th October 2019.

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Photo of Daniel Johnson Daniel Johnson Labour

I agree with what Ivan McKee said in his opening statement about the urgent need to look at innovation policy, for exactly the reasons that he set out: technology change—which is going to completely alter the way in which we work and the way in which businesses carry out their business—and climate change.

The common thread between them is that both will fundamentally change the way our economy works. The way to address them is undoubtedly through innovation.

The minister asked me to get my calculator out in response to my question about innovation spend, but I will ask him to make a note. Only three numbers really matter: Scottish spend on R and D is 1.6 per cent of GDP—that is behind the UK spend of 1.7 per cent, and both of those are behind the OECD average of 2.4 per cent. Until the numbers change and we at least meet that OECD average, there will be an awful lot more work to do. There is no room for complacency, either from the Government or from Conservative members.