MP for Windsor
Working Hard For You
Update: Windsor MP asks Government question on investment

On Tuesday 28th February Adam asked Chancellor of the Exchequer for an update on the work that they are doing to make Britain a better place for private sector firms to invest.

Treasury Questions – Tuesday 28th February

Adam Afriyie (Windsor, Conservative): I very much welcome this Government’s healthy commitment to scientific spending over several years, but it seems that our business investment in research is below the OECD average. May I urge the Chancellor to examine measures that will increase private company business expenditure on research?

David Gauke (Chief Secretary to the Treasury): As the Chancellor announced at the autumn statement, the Government are significantly increasing investment in research and development, rising to an extra £2 billion a year by 2020-21. We have also made the R&D tax credit regime much more generous. We want to ensure that the UK remains an attractive place for business to invest in innovative research.

Windsor MP asks questions on space policy in Parliament

On Tuesday 13th December Adam asked the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Department for an update on the progress at the recent European Space Agency (ESA) summit (4:53 to 6:21):

 

Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Questions, 13th December:

Adam Afriyie (Windsor, Conservative): What steps his Department is taking to promote science and innovation.

Jo Johnson (Minister of State for Universities, Science, Research and Innovation): This Government are strongly committed to science and innovation. We protected the science budget at the spending review in 2015. In the last autumn statement, a few days ago, we committed to spending a further £2 billion a year by 2020/21. The creation of UK Research and Innovation, through the passage of the Higher Education and Research Bill, will increase the value and impact of our investments in science and innovation in the years ahead. [Official Report, 16 December 2016, Vol. 618, c. 7-8MC.]

 

Adam Afriyie (Windsor, Conservative): I thank the Minister for that answer. It has certainly been a good time for science and innovation in Britain. It has also been a good year for the UK space sector, with Major Tim Peake’s historic visit to the international space station and a new spaceport here in the UK. It certainly strikes me that the next big challenge will be the successful delivery of the ExoMars programme, particularly given some of the rumours that have been going around. Will the Minister update the House on any progress made at the European Space Agency summit recently?

Jo Johnson (Minister of State for Universities, Science, Research and Innovation): Yes, I am happy to provide a brief update. My hon. Friend is an aficionado of space policy and former chair of the parliamentary space committee, so he will be delighted to know that we had an excellent outcome at the European Space Agency’s Council of Ministers. We committed a further €1.44 billion, which has secured the future of the ExoMars programme, among many other things.

 

The MP for the Windsor constituency, Adam Afriyie, said:

“As a former Chair of the Parliamentary Space Committee, I am delighted that the Government continues to invest in making the UK a world leader in the space industry.

“Space has the ability to inspire like few other areas. 2016 was a great year for the British space sector and has undoubtedly motivated many students to pursue their career, and dreams, in researching this area. I hope that 2017 will be even better.

“I am proud at the fact that Britain has a long and prestigious history of being at the cutting edge of technological innovation. We have some of the most prestigious universities, innovative technology companies and supportive regulatory environments in the world.

“This Government has made strong steps to creating the right ecosystem for the space industry to deepen its roots and grow. I hope that they continue the good work investing and nurturing technologies for the future.”

 

 

ENDS

  1. Adam Afriyie is the Prime Minister’s Trade Envoy to Ghana.
  2. He has a strong background in science, technology and innovation.
  3. He is currently Chairman of the Fintech APPG, Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology (POST) and President of the Conservative Technology Forum (CTF).
  4. He was shadow Minister for Science from 2007-2010 and has a background in the information services and technology sector.
  5. He is Patron of the Parliamentary Space Committee (PSC) and was Chair of the PSC between 2010 and 2015.
  6. The POSTnote on ‘UK Commercial Space Activities’ can be found here.

 

Growth of the big data industry

Adam Afriyie (Windsor, Conservative): To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, what steps he has taken to encourage growth of the big data industry in the UK; and if he will make a statement.

Mr Edward Vaizey (Minister of State for Culture and the Digital Economy): The Government has identified big data as one of the ‘eight great technologies’ that will propel the UK’s future economic growth. Since 2010, the Government has made a series of strategic investments to support the growth of the big data industry in the UK. These include:

- a £159 million investment programme in the UK’s high performance computing and networks infrastructure announced in 2011.

- £189 million investment announced in 2012 to support a programme of big data and energy-efficient computing projects across the UK co-ordinated by the Economic and Social Research Council.

- £10.7 million announced in December 2013 to create a new Higgs Centre for Innovation at the UK Astronomy Technology Centre in Edinburgh that will focus on big data and space technologies.

- £42 million announced in March 2014 to establish a world-leading Alan Turing Institute, which will be established in 2015 to research the analysis and application of big data.

- Investment of over £50 million to establish the Digital Catapult, based in London, which will bring researchers and business together to accelerate new innovative products to market.

On 31 October 2013, the Government also published ‘Seizing the Data Opportunity: a strategy for UK data capability’, which examines the UK’s capability to make best use of all data including big data, public sector held data, research data, and data collected by companies. The strategy was developed in partnership with industry to place the UK at the forefront of extracting knowledge and value from data.

Since the publication of the strategy, the Government has introduced new legislation on copyright exceptions in June 2014 to enable text and data-mining for non-commercial purpose, and has developed new UK Trade & Industry marketing material to attract increased overseas investment and custom to the UK data centre market.

 

Teaching of STEM subjects in schools

Mr Adam Afriyie (Windsor, Conservative): To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many teachers of science, technology, engineering and mathematics there were in UK secondary schools in (a) 2011-12, (b) 2012-13 and (c) 2013-14.

Mr David Laws (Minister of State for Schools): The following table provides the number of science (by separate science subject), technology, engineering and mathematics teachers in service in publicly funded secondary schools in England in November of each year from 2011 to 2013: [1], [2]

Subject [3] 2011 2012 2013
Physics 5,900 6,000 6,200
Chemistry 6,900 7,200 7,400
Biology 8,500 8,700 8,800
Combined/General Science 34,700 32,700 32,900
Other Sciences 2,800 2,400 2,400
Technology 14,800 13,800 13,400
Engineering 1,600 1,500 1,500
Mathematics 35,200 32,800 33,300

Source: School Workforce Census

[1] Figures are based on a large sample of over 70% of secondary schools.

[2] Figures are rounded to the nearest 100.

[3] Each teacher is counted once under each subject they teach.

 

Radio spectrum efficiency

Adam Afriyie (Windsor, Conservative): To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, what steps he has taken to encourage public sector users of the radio spectrum to share bands.

Mr Edward Vaizey (Minister for Culture, Communications and Creative Industries): All public sector spectrum users are subject to Administered Incentive Pricing (AIP) which serves to encourage spectrum to be used efficiently or released to other uses. This charge is set by HM Treasury with advice from Ofcom and the DCMS.