MP's Column

Tuesday's Science and Technology Select Committee.

As part of our enquiry into Government investment in Science and Technology ahead of the spending review we had the great privilege of questioning Professor Brian Cox. Professor Cox has increased public awareness of science considerably through his TV profile and the Select Committee recognises his contribution to science in the UK and beyond. His passion and enthusiasm for schools who specialise in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) is clear.

I agree with him and previous witnesses who have stated that it is sound business and financial sense to adequately fund research in areas such as science and technology because the evidence is clear. The return in skilled and well paid jobs and the growth of knowledge-based jobs in an ever competitive global market will far outweigh the cost.

On a completely related note, today we debated the measures that the Government are undertaking to create a well paid, low tax economy rather than a low paid, high tax situation we find ourselves in currently. The measures, such as the new living wage, 30 hours free childcare and the increase in the income tax threshold will help to counter the changes to tax credits. In addition to these measures the Government must consider what further measures can be introduced to ensure that workers such as teaching assistants and care and support workers can be adequately rewarded for the jobs they love and are good at. These are jobs that are vital to our communities and valued by us all.