5 Conclusions |
175. During our inquiry we have
become aware of the multitude of issues and problems that are
faced by businesses in a variety of innovation sectors. Each of
these companies find issues in funding that innovation but their
concerns and needs vary from sector to sector and are often predicated
on the size of the business. We conclude there is no single valley
of death that all businesses, or even all small businesses, must
176. What is consistent across
business is the need for a clear vision from the Government to
provide confidence into the future. Without a definite commitment
from Government, business is more reticent about making its own
financial commitment to the levels of risk that innovation requires.
177. The evidence that we have
seen shows that there is no coherent innovation policy. The Government
has begun to consolidate its innovation policy by bringing more
schemes and responsibilities within the Technology Strategy Board.
We judge that this consolidation needs to go further and that
the TSB should be given more funds including monies designed to
better finance existing programmes such as SMART and SBRI but
not at the expense of the Research Councils.
178. We have seen a desperate
need for government procurement to do heavier lifting than in
providing encouragement to the growth of small technology companies.
There is possibly a greater and more sustainable benefits to be
gained by growing and developing small companies into successful
medium sized ones than in attracting large companies.
179. There needs to be a
coherent strategy across the whole of UK industry to provide UK
business with confidence in where they might expect Government
for the medium and long termwhether
through procurement, R&D focus or fiscal policies.
180. Finally we would urge the
Government to seriously consider the financial markets and the
inadvertent negative impacts that changes to policy there might
have on innovation policy, for example how the regulation of pension
funds has effectively starved technology firms of growth capital.
Where it is not possible to foresee such impacts Government should
be alert to the need to detect and to rectify them in a speedy