HC Deb 29 October 1999 vol 336 c1015W
Dr. Gibson

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry when he will assess the output of the resource allocation under the comprehensive spending review; and what sectors of the economy he plans to examine as part of this study. [95797]

Mr. Byers

The Department has monitoring processes in place to assess progress against the targets set in its Public Service Agreement on the basis of the CSR settlement for 1999–2001. This work covers the economy as a whole, for example through targets to narrow the productivity gap and improve performance against competitiveness indicators; there are also specific targets covering for example the small firms sector, exporters, uptake of e-commerce, energy and inward investment. Good progress is already being made; for example I have recently increased the target for the number of SMEs wired to the digital market place from 1 million to 1.5 million. Performance against all our targets will be considered in preparation for the next spending review, to set budgets to 2003–04.

As my hon. Friend is aware, the Science Budget underpins all sectors of the economy and the social, health and environmental services. As a result of the science CSR settlement, successful proposals have been announced for the University Challenge and Science Enterprise Challenge initiatives, and for the first round of the now £750 million joint Infrastructure fund. As far as the additional allocations to the Research Councils are concerned, I have asked for a full report on the progress made so far as input to the current spending review.

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