Scrutiny of science and technology policy

12 June 2009

The Innovation, Universities, Science and Skills (IUSS) Committee today issues a warning that the future of science scrutiny is at risk following the merger of the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills and the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform

In its report, the Committee urges the Government to put proposals before the House of Commons as soon as possible to establish a separate science and technology committee to safeguard future scrutiny of science policy.

Phil Willis MP, Chairman of the IUSS Committee, said:

"Despite all the reassurances we have heard from ministers about the importance of science and engineering in government planning and policy, yet again we face the reality that science could be lost in a black hole of this new, all-encompassing 'super department' of Business, Innovation and Skills.

"We urge the Government to create a science and technology select committee alongside the new Business, Innovation and Skills Committee to ensure the crucial work of science scrutiny across government is maintained.

"The desire to exploit the UK’s world class science base in order to contribute to economic recovery is commendable, valid and not in dispute. Establishing a science and technology select committee is critical both to reassure the science community that proper examination of science and engineering across government remains a priority, and to ensure MPs have an effective and transparent arena in which to hold the Government’s science policy to account."

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