Science minister wants select committee only for science

Lord Drayson says new department is too big. Phil Baty reports

June 15, 2009

Lord Drayson, the science minister, has called for a separate select committee to scrutinise science policy.

He said: “The creation of the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) places science at the heart of the Government’s strategy to help the economy come through the recession stronger, more competitive and more sustainable. Our ability to maintain and develop our strong science base will be essential to our long-term economic success.

“However, this change also creates a department with a huge remit. In this context, it is clearly no longer feasible for a single select committee both to scrutinise the work of the department and do justice to the assessment of science across Government.

“Both in my capacity as science minister and in light of my new responsibility for defence research and development -- the largest Government research budget outside the science and research ring-fence -- it is my belief that the creation of a separate committee to look specifically at science across Government is necessary. I will be making the case for this to the Leader of the House.”

Lord Drayson was speaking after MPs on the former Select Committee for Innovation, Universities, Science and Skills, warned that it would be “impossible” to properly supervise the new BIS ministry.

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