15/03/2017 House of Lords


15/03/2017

Live coverage of proceedings in the House of Lords, including the third reading of the Neighbourhood Planning Bill and the report stage of the Higher Education and Research Bill.


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House of Commons. We will now go over live to the House of Lords. You

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can watch coverage after the daily politics later tonight.

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My book -- we have to attain a nonexecutive chair and that person

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be a person appointed to that role and a souvenir figure from business.

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Most funding goes to companies, not to universities or research

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institutes and this funding is used to support innovative and product

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and process -- progress. Innovate UK's support has economic benefits

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and will be all the more critical as we exit the EU with a changing

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relationship to the industry focused programmes. It needs to retain its

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strong business voice both in size UK and critically also outside. That

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voice is something that will be amplified if it is chaired by

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leaving -- leading industrial figures and the majority of business

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numbers on the board. This is the purpose of amendment 160 six. The

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Government amendments 173 and 183 are welcomed. Recognising the need

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for Innovate to develop a wide range of support to new companies which

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could include investing in forming companies as well as giving grants

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and loans. Also enforcing Innovate's role. At the moment, I beg to move

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amendment 160 six. Sun-macro page 105, line 16, insert the words.

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It is simply that on the face of it, it appears that provision and a

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supplementary powers 16, three subsection B, prevents the research

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councils from doing a number of things which are important to their

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fundamental function and clearly which they should be able to

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continue to do. I hope the Minister will be able to explain to us this

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amendment is unnecessary because of provisions that have not been

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spotted in the bill or to accept this is something that needs to be

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changed. I think although the wording of the amendment does not

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see it, this applies to it innovate UK. Innovate UK has in its function

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very often as to collaborate with industry and so it would seem

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unnecessary to forbid it from setting up joint ventures.

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You are as supportive as 166. I would like to make apologies that I

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have not been present for this item when it was dealt with the committee

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stage because I was abroad, but I have read carefully of the

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discussion that happened at that point. I also am a member of the

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science and technology committee which looked at this issue recently.

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I share the concern that was raised that the science and technology

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committee by a number of witnesses, concerned that the In a big UK would

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be hijacked by the research Council and become the commercialization and

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innovation of the research councils and that would usurp the current

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hugely valuable role that Innovate UK has in their being business

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facing, in supporting innovation, small businesses especially and at

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the very early stages, where an entrepreneur has got a bright idea,

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but no backers and no proof of concept. So I share the concerns the

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noble Baroness, Lady Brown of Cambridge, that the membership of

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the committee and chairmanship of the committee for Innovate UK needs

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to be very much business focused and to have a predominance of business

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focused people on it. I recognise that the Government has gone to some

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weight in Amendment 183 and very much welcome that. I very much

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welcomed the meetings that I've had with ministers, with Sir John

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Kingman, and with the Minister of State for universities and science,

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open web and is not here today, although he regularly is. But it is

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probably my conversations with Joe that Johnson have made me most

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alarmed, I'm afraid, and that, although he gives assurances

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throughout about the business facing role of Innovate UK, every time I've

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ever heard him describe it unprompted, he immediately describes

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it in terms of it being the innovation and research arm of the

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research councils. So I would hope that the Minister would recognise

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that the role of Innovate UK needs further strengthening and to give it

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a business -based chairman and a predominance of business based

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members on the committee would strengthen that very much. I welcome

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the Government Amendment 183, which addresses the issue that the noble

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Baroness has just referred to, and I can confirm as the chairman that we

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were indeed concerned at the original proposals, some months back

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now, that Innovate UK should be put together with the research England

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into research Council because it was clearly absolutely essential that

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the business community should have confidence that they had Innovate UK

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very much at their disposal, their organisation and it wasn't somehow

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going to be subsumed by the research Council, and I think I accept that

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the concerns expressed by the noble Baroness Lady Brown and Lady Young

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have validity, but I do recognise that the Amendment Government has

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put forward, particularly a and B of this Amendment, in 183, requiring

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arrangements to have regard to personal engage business activities

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and the need of priority, to have on the face of the bill goes a very

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long way from where we were a few months ago, so I am content to

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accept this as meeting most of the concerns that I at least had

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originally. My Lords, I draw my attention to my interest as a

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declared registered specifically to my chairmanship of WMT. I should

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also mention that I served as a member of the review of the UK

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research and innovation scheme that put it all together. As piece

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appears to be breaking out today, I hope those who labored for so long

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and the salt mines of the committee stage will allow a few brief words

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on Amendment 16 six, 173 and one 83. All three will help innovate

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Innovate UK promote partnership between business and academia. I can

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tell you that can be a tough job. When I started WMT, we encountered a

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lot of opposition, academics are protective of their independence

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from commerce, however engineers do like making an impact, the bigger

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the better, so their curiosity won out in the end. We know academic can

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obstruct business collaboration. For example, grant application rating is

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a prized skill in universities and for a very good reason. Critical

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assessment of research proposals is vital to academic debate. Business

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sees this rather different. Especially if they are expected to

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disclose commercially sensitive knowledge. The technology strategy

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Board was created and must address this, was critic here. We debated

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here for about four years before this was formed, because there was

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an argument, should Government intervene, should we pick winners?

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And all the other arguments at that time. But we won and the technology

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strategy Board was created. The body is now of course Innovate UK. Change

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is constant, my Lord. So innovate UK needs leaders who understand the way

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of business and science are changing and the flexibility to create the

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right partnerships. Amendment 16 is which of this. Today, every business

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is multidisciplinary will stop if you make cars coming need

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programmers, the photographers, medical researchers as well as

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engineers. Bringing Innovate UK's and the research Council under the

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same roof makes scientific and commercial sense. I'm 173 and 183

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would ensure business and scientific knowledge in its leadership,

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allowing it to build flexible partnerships. Innovate UK's role is

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to act as a catalyst. However, my Lords, while flexibility is needed,

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Innovate UK should not be a bank. It has neither the resources. They

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should use their commercial expertise to create incentives, to

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encourage businesses to invest in innovation. It is a matchmaker, not

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a moneymaker. Their role has to be to improve productivity in this

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country from scientific research. The amendments in this will help

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them deliver on that task. More generally, the amendments being

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proposed elsewhere today will do the same for out right as a whole. I

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just want to emphasise how much to speak to Amendment one 66. Just

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emphasise again the importance of having individuals from a business

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background. All too often these initiatives, I have seen that the

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Government has the best of intentions, but there are people

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involved to do not have experience in business, who have not run

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businesses, and is when you run businesses you realise innovation

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and creativity is at the heart of it. I would've thought go further

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than this and say they must come from science related business

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backgrounds. Any good business have to be innovative, food and junk you

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have to be innovative, but is the key issue that you have to have

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business backers of the top table. -- food and drink. I just wanted to

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confirm that we are signed up to Amendment 166 in support, it is

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important to get the balance right, it is probably another Goldilocks on

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coming up but I'm sure the Minister will pick it up and hope we will get

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some responses on that. We have also signed up to Government amendments

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173 and 183, at the heart of the debate. Again, the argument made by

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the local Lord Mr, there are ways to improve the spell. We have been able

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to explore them in committee. There are support around the House of your

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pleased to be apart of. We feel are constraints which may emerge more

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from the business consideration then perhaps so far, and the noble friend

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has pointed out the genesis of all this through technology strategy

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Board through to Innovate UK, I think it is important that we learn

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from our history and Dave for the experience they've had over this

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period of time, the formation of UK our eye, the involvement of Innovate

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UK in that was not recommended, they felt the issue should be looked at.

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The Government decided to move forward and I think it is a

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Government's is possibility that we get the most out of that therefore.

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We're not talking that the question of a bank we're talking about an

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opportunity to create incentives, a group that moves forward with the

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support of industry movement, much better than one that tries it would

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on its own and I look forward to hearing what the noble lord and Mr

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has to say about that. Dillon my Lords, I think I find myself in

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really a complete agreement with the noble lady, Lady Brown. -- my Lords.

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I think all the sentiments are the same. They pick up on a phrase from

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the noble lord about the purpose of Innovate UK. To sum it up in three

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words, which he did, it was productivity from research. An

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earlier we were discussing the first Amendment, and a Lord talked about

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the sometimes serendipitous spurt that can spring from blue sky a sick

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research. I think the point of Innovate UK's to ensure that more of

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those fruits take root in the UK, rather than ending up in Israel or

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the valleys that are more innovative than we are. The whole point of

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Innovate UK, the whole purpose of this to bring Innovate UK with the

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research Council is to create more for tile soil for some the great

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ideas and research that comes out of our universities. In creating

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Innovate you are right, we are creating something new. We are not

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nearly bolted together nine separate bodies. To make this work, the

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Government structures need to change. Weird introducing an

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overarching board in UK are I, a high profile chair and executive. It

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is appropriate that the governance of the councils change as well to

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reflect this. We've been listening to this debate for some time now,

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particular contributions from the noble Baroness Lee lady Brown.

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Landlord Brewers. -- Lord. However, introducing a nonexecutive chair for

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the councils into these new lines of accountability would risk confusing

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accountability with UK are I and undermined the strategic role. --

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UKRI. I can of course see the attraction of having a well-known

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leading industrialist as nonexecutive chair of Innovate UK,

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but it would not sit well with the governance structure of UKRI, and I

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think would fatally undermine the whole concept of UKRI. However, we

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acknowledge there are valuable roles back and play outside of direct

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lines of accountability. For example, given support to the chief

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executive, as a route to the high-level communication. We averted

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discuss my noble lord's suggestion that we give each member of the

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Council the role of the senior independent member and given

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assurances that this will be done. We hope this is adequate to address

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the concerns. Lord Mandelson gave a very good description of the

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importance role that independent member can play in the circumstances

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without undermining the integrity of UKRI. This Amendment, 166, also

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seeks to determine the background of Innovate UK's councilmembers. As has

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been discussed in respect to UKRI board members in an earlier

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grouping, prescribing the background of councils in legislation would

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encroach on the freedom of UKRI and its Council to manage their own

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affairs and could be unhelpful in achieving the best possible mix of

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individuals at any one time. However, we agree with the

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sentiments express. In the case of innovate UK, the Government would

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have a strong expectation set the guidance that a substantial report

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of member should have a science related business background.

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Innovate UK's current board never should speaks for itself with most

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of the councilmembers having signed the technology business related

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background. In addition to this, the board contains much complement three

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experience of universities, finance, consulting and Government. Turning

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to Amendment 173, my Lords, many of you have asked to see stronger

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language on the face of the bill to protect Innovate UK's business

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facing role. At Lords committee, the Government undertook to reflect on

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how this could be done and we have tabled an Amendment that achieves

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this in two ways. Firstly, in introduces stronger language to

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describe UK's role, Innovate UK's role, in supporting the business

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community. And record the need of support is more direct than the

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previous tax. Secondly, introduces a new requirement to have regard to

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need to promote innovation by persons carrying on business in the

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UK. Finally, it maintains the overarching mission to increase

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economic growth in the existing duty to have her guard to desirability of

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improving quality. It has been said productivity is not everything, it

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is nearly everything and if there is one word that should be on Innovate

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UK's, in its DNA, it is the word productivity.

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It couldn't be clearer to support innovation and it is distinct from

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the other councils of UK R I E. Lady Brown and the Lord Mayor raised

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concerns in the committee that it Innovate UK freedoms appear overly

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restrictive. There will be no diminishing of the current freedoms

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ins the move. It is based on conditions that apply to all

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Government departments and public bodies and is approved by their

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Treasury. It is intended to make it clear that it can enter into joint

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ventures subject to safeguards and the broad parameters will be set out

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clearly in advance and can be reiterated at Innovate UK's

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portfolio as it develops. I hope these amendments reassure noble

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Lords over the positive intent. These reforms come in the context of

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the historically large Autumn Statement settlement of innovation

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funding as part of the industrial strategy. Turning to amendment 173

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a, I hope this meets the point raised by the noble Lord. Let me

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reassure the noble Lords that it is not the intention of this bill to

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disrupt commitments and obligations within the current councils. The

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Government will not require UKRI to seek permission to continue with

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joint ventures as part of the legal process to set out UKRI. In new

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ventures, the Government will not subject councils to any oversight

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from the Secretary of State that the councils do not already undergo. It

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is our ambition is that they will be subject to less process and

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concentrate more on their functions. Noble Lords may not be aware that a

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great deal of work is currently underway in the councils and their

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parent departments to ensure a smooth transfer of personnel

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activities from the current organisations to OFS and UKRI. Joint

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ventures alongside many other forms of corporate arrangements are in

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scope of this work. The bill provides tools in schedule ten to

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transfer these assets from the councils to UKRI through proper

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transfer schemes. If more intervention is required, wet bed

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joint-venture is not a range, the joint ventures will be individually

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addressed. I hope this reassures noble Lords of two things. We do not

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intend to inflict any due process, any undue process on UK -- UKRI.

:22:44.:22:53.

They will continue to have delegated autonomy over matters pertaining to

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their subject areas. Addressing Innovate UK and UKRI's freedoms, I

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request the noble Baroness Lady Brown to withdraw her amendment. I

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thank the noble Lords that have contributed to this debate. I

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recognise from what he says that we have a very strongly shared joint

:23:21.:23:26.

objective of pertaining the -- retaining the different roles and I

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think in the light of the Government amendments which go a long way to

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doing that and indeed his earlier and positive assurances on an

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important role the senior independent members of the council

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's, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment. Sun-macro is it your

:23:43.:23:48.

pleasure that it should be withdrawn?

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The question is amendments 167 to 173 be agreed. Amendment 1703A. Not

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moved. Amendments 173 and 174. The question is 174 and 175 be agreed

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also. In clause 88, amendment 176. I beg to move amendment 170 six. I

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express my gratitude to Lady Brown who worked constructively with me

:24:46.:24:48.

and my colleagues over the last few weeks and months. I am indebted to

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my noble friend Lord Willis who has written and will continue to be a

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beacon for ministers setting out in detail this important principle and

:25:02.:25:04.

its practical applications. The Government has been clear in stating

:25:05.:25:10.

the spirit of the principal through various provisions is already, in

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the words of Lord Mandelson, hard-wired into the bill. I am

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grateful to all the noble Lords who spoke on this point. A second

:25:24.:25:32.

reading and committee. Many refer to the principle itself. I offered to

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reflect on this and I'm delighted to move amendment 100 91. I hope noble

:25:38.:25:41.

Lords will be delighted to accept it. We define the principle is the

:25:42.:25:51.

principle that decisions on individual research proposals are

:25:52.:25:54.

best taken following an evaluation of the quality and likely impact of

:25:55.:25:59.

the proposals such as the peer review process. This amendment is

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both hugely symbolic and an important protection for UK

:26:06.:26:09.

research, putting reference to the principal and legislation for the

:26:10.:26:19.

first time. There was a duty on the Secretary of State to consult

:26:20.:26:22.

formally before laying regulations to alter the names, number of fields

:26:23.:26:28.

of activity of the research councils. I'm grateful to the noble

:26:29.:26:32.

Lord Lord Stevenson who asked the clarity on the point of prior

:26:33.:26:35.

consultation at committee stage. I hope these amendments to live my

:26:36.:26:42.

promise to address the noble Lord's question. Why this Government

:26:43.:26:47.

committed to consult before altering the Council, these amendments would

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bind future governments to this commitment also. This Government has

:26:50.:26:54.

been consistent in its pledge to allocate separate budgets to each

:26:55.:27:01.

council of UK -- of UKRI. I listened to the greater protections for the

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noble Lords and the noble Baroness Lady Brown. I have reflected on

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their speeches and the Government is tabling amendment 188 which will

:27:13.:27:16.

require the Secretary of State on making grants to ten to publish the

:27:17.:27:20.

whole amount in a separate allocation which will go to each

:27:21.:27:28.

council. It will give transparency on all funding allocations to UKRI

:27:29.:27:32.

and research councils, Innovate UK and research England. My global and

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learned friend spoke about the definition of specialist employees

:27:42.:27:47.

in clause 90 one. This proportion is intended to ensure research councils

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may continue to recruit certain specialist staff that are employed

:27:51.:27:57.

in relation to a council's field of activity. He raised concerns that

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the current definition could lead to ambiguity for relevant staff but may

:28:05.:28:09.

not be considered by some to be researchers or scientists. I have

:28:10.:28:12.

reflected carefully and the case that he put forward and I am happy

:28:13.:28:18.

to table amendment 170 82 addresses points. This amendment draws on the

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language my noble friend employed in his own amendment at committee,

:28:24.:28:27.

expanding the definition to include any person with knowledge,

:28:28.:28:31.

experience or specialist skills relevant to the council's field of

:28:32.:28:35.

activity who is employed by UKRI to work in a field of activity. I hope

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this amendment alleviates the concerns of my noble and learned

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friend. I look forward to hearing noble Lord speak on other matters

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and will respond after they and other noble Lords have had a chance

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to speak to these amendments. Amendment proposed, Claude -- clause

:29:00.:29:09.

80 eight. At the end insert the words on the martial's paper. I rise

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to debate two brief points. I hope I will be forgiven for taking the

:29:18.:29:23.

opportunity to pay the warmest and pay tribute to my admiration to my

:29:24.:29:29.

own friend 's Lord Stevenson and Lord Watson for the sterling work

:29:30.:29:34.

they put in on behalf of this side of the bill. My Lords, there is a

:29:35.:29:42.

great deal of feeling in the research about the points covered by

:29:43.:29:52.

these amendments. I think there is a recognition and a tremendous amount

:29:53.:29:57.

of work has gone in to try and find an acceptable formula of words that

:29:58.:30:02.

I think it should be put on record that many of those who are involved

:30:03.:30:10.

in the most outstanding research in our universities remain mystified as

:30:11.:30:22.

to why such a process should be appearing in brackets when it should

:30:23.:30:29.

be in capital letters because the review is essential to the process.

:30:30.:30:41.

Also there is something that the word, excellent, should not have

:30:42.:30:45.

disappeared. Quality is important but what matters ultimately in the

:30:46.:30:55.

research record of our universities and in the contribution to Britain's

:30:56.:31:00.

noble standing in the world about the quality of our research is its

:31:01.:31:06.

emphasis on excellence. I do therefore put on record that this

:31:07.:31:13.

goes forward, it will be essential to keep those two important concerns

:31:14.:31:25.

of the research community in mind. I am involved in three universities

:31:26.:31:39.

and I have been a governor for very many years and am now a governor. I

:31:40.:31:51.

rise briefly to thank the noble minister for his introduction of

:31:52.:31:56.

these amendments and I want to refer briefly to amendment 180 nine, 190

:31:57.:32:05.

and 191 and say how delighted I am that the principle is on the face of

:32:06.:32:10.

the bill. We have heard Joe in discussions during the passage of

:32:11.:32:15.

this bill, many different views on what the principle is. Whether it

:32:16.:32:22.

should be called something else. One of the key references is the paper

:32:23.:32:30.

by the nobleman Lord Will it. It really is about peer review and

:32:31.:32:38.

deciding which individual projects are funded within broader areas. It

:32:39.:32:42.

is reasonable for ministers to have priority is just as when the noble

:32:43.:32:52.

Lord was Minister, P describe the... The peer review system, the

:32:53.:32:57.

practitioners and others close to the action should be the ones who

:32:58.:33:03.

decide which projects are funded. Although the wording says quality,

:33:04.:33:08.

I'm sure if I was on a committee, I would interpret quality as including

:33:09.:33:12.

excellence echoing the point the noble Lord May. I support this

:33:13.:33:16.

amendment.

:33:17.:33:18.