Some very good news this week. The Conservative-led Government have just announced a major investment in my constituency of Harlow: a brand new scientific centre focusing on phenome/biotech. The site will be at the GSK plant and will replace the Labs there currently working on drugs testing for the Olympics.
To the cynics, who question what legacy there will be from the 2012 Olympics, here is one in bricks and mortar. The Labs will not only have a building full of state-of-the-art machinery, but now they will also have £10 million pound funding over the next five years, and will represent a huge boost for scientific research in my town - which is already emerging as a microcosm of how the Government are boosting infrastructure, and helping private firms to create new jobs and growth.
In fact, I would argue that Harlow is a case study for Britain. The first step has been improving skills. To his credit, Michael Gove has just signed off a multi-million pound investment in a brand new University Technical College, for Harlow, which will be close to the ex-Olympic Labs and will specialise in medical technology. This UTC will be one of the first of its kind in the country: a partnership between Harlow College, Anglia Ruskin University, Princess Alexandra Hospital, as well as the town's biggest medical and pharmaceutical employers. At the same time, thanks to the work of John Hayes, there has been 78% rise in apprenticeships in Harlow in just two years.
Along with this solid skills base, Harlow is also pro-business. According to the BBC / Experian, Harlow now has the highest business growth in the UK. This is down not just to the cultural work-ethic of the town, but a beneficial business climate for small firms, especially micro-businesses. George Osborne is backing this up with other solid investment - most notably our medical Enterprise Zone, which will open in 2013.
Finally, these new Labs - building on the 2012 Olympics - will cement our place as a scientific corridor in the East of England. It is yet another example of strong Government support for Harlow - and it is a signal of confidence, that the British economy can export its way back to health. It is just one example of what this Conservative-led Government is doing for skills, jobs, and growth, and we should welcome it.