John Stevenson: What recent assessment he has made of the efficiency and effectiveness of his Department’s capital spending.
George Freeman: As the Department for science, research and innovation, with the historic uplift in public R&D announced in the comprehensive spending review 2021 and the autumn statement 2022, and the Department for net zero, BEIS secured the highest increase in capital budgets at the last spending review, growing at 8.3% per annum over the spending review period.
John Stevenson: As we know, capital expenditure spent effectively drives economic growth. To this end, would the Minister agree that capital projects such as those in my constituency that will clearly help economic growth and can start in the next 12 months will be prioritised, and that additional support will be given where they have shortfalls due to rising costs?
George Freeman: My hon. Friend has put his powerful point on record. I can assure him that the Department is actively working with the Treasury to make sure that those sorts of schemes are accelerated.