Innovation Economy

Having worked as an entrepreneur and served as a Business Minister, I know the choice we face as a country: do we plan for a bold future or simply manage our decline? To succeed after Brexit, I believe we need to put innovation at the heart of everything we do. As I have argued for the last decade, that's means embracing radical reform.  With our strengths in science, technology and our ability to export our services around the world, we can have a great future. But now we must seize it.

Here are two of my big ideas:

  • New Deal for New Businesses. Despite our strengths in science and technology, too many of our start-ups aren't scaling. We are doing all the hard work and then watching other countries capitalise on it. That's why we need a New Deal for New Businesses. We need a radical new offer to start ups: for your first two years, or until you hit X or Y turnover, Government will get off your back. No tax. Full stop. In a stroke, we'd make Britain the best place in the world to start a business.
  • City Procurement Deals. For too long we have ignored the potential of our regions and cities, with an increasing amount of wealth and power trapped within London. That's why we need to put our great cities - Manchester, Leeds, Birmingham - at the heart of our new national economic strategy and give them the power to strike new procurement deals. Our cities are the powerhouses of our post-Brexit future. We must use this moment as a catalyst to make them regional powerhouses and give them the autonomy they deserve.

Background

I was elected to Parliament in May 2010 after a 15-year career in and around the Cambridge cluster supporting high growth businesses. Consequently, I have written and spoken widely on the potential of Britain's science and innovation economy to support a sustainable economic recovery, unlocking huge trade and inward investment opportunities in fast emerging global markets.

I am fortunate enough to have been appointed in several roles in government in this space. Following the 2010 election I was appointed PPS to the Minister for Climate Change, Greg Barker MP, and elected Chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Science & Technology in Agriculture. In 2011 I became Government Adviser on Life Sciences to the Minister of State for Universities and Science, Rt Hon David Willetts MP, and was closely involved in the development and implementation of the Government's Life Science Strategy announced by the Prime Minister in December 2011. In 2014, I was appointed the first UK Minister for Life Sciences at the Department of Health and the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS). I co-chaired the major Fresh Start Pan-European Conference on EU Reform, leading a forum of thirty eminent scientists, lawyers and businessmen to discuss how the EU impacted the UK Life Science industry and what reforms would be necessary for the UK to succeed in that space.

In September 2013, at the global launch of Entrepreneur Country, I delivered a speech on my core belief - that Britain must become the greatest place on earth to start a new business.

In that speech I renewed my support for a ‘New Deal’ for new businesses: no tax, no forms, no regulation until your business has been going for two years or your turnover reaches £250k.

To do this, the only way is to fundamentally rethink how we do Government. Asking not what the state can do to back entrepreneurs, but how it can itself become more entrepreneurial. The financial crisis wasn't just a blip on the radar. It exposed the deep fault-lines in our economy.  To survive, we must be radical. Alongside a ‘New Deal’, that means engaging with emerging markets, using technology to transform public services and breaking monopolies in banking, energy and rail.

Links to coverage of my work in this space:

Daily Telegraph 25.08.17 “We Tories must shake off this hostility to business and embrace entrepreneurial capitalism.”

The Times 25.11.17 “Tories in danger of becoming an outdated party talking to itself”

Financial Times 18.03.18 “Conservatives need to be as economically bold as Margaret Thatcher”