Conor questions Business Secretary on role of universities in growth and technological advance

Conor Burns Conservative, Bournemouth West: I commend my right hon. Friend’s statement. Many of us know how hard he has worked on the strategy, and how widely he has engaged. I invite him to use this opportunity to reaffirm the central role of Britain’s universities in future growth and technological advance. I invite him to visit my constituency and see what Bournemouth University has done to create an incredible new tech sector, resulting in Bournemouth being voted the fastest growing digital economy in the United Kingdom.

Greg Clark The Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy: I am grateful to my hon. Friend for his comments. The role of universities is absolutely vital. They have worked with us very closely on the development of the strategy. They are central to the local economy in almost every part of the country, and not just in educating the population—local people and those who travel to study—but in the research and leadership they offer. I would be delighted to visit Bournemouth’s excellent university with my hon. Friend, to congratulate it and to discuss how we can take its success forward in the local area.