Treasury chief secretary Alan Milburn revealed that £150m had been earmarked for the task. He told the Labour conference in Bournemouth last week: 'Our choice is for investment that is the engine of innovation in the new economy. 'Last year we announced a record £1bn more for British science. I can tell the conference today we will do more. 'Next year we will add to this new public investment with a new £150m incentive for private investment in research and development. 'We will give businesses - large and small - new cash to turn their new British ideas into new British innovations, those new British innovations into new British products, and those new British products into new British jobs.' Milburn gave no further details, but said: 'This Labour government will play its part in making Britain a leader in the knowledge economy.' Earlier, trade secretary Stephen Byers called on firms to do more to exploit e-commerce. He told the conference that the government had delivered the right environment for business, with low inflation, competitive tax rates, reductions in red tape and more accessible finance. He said: 'The challenge of the 21st century is to embrace and win in the exciting world of e-commerce and information technology. British business cannot stand still and government will help. 'For instance, we've started working with Sun Microsystems, Oracle, Cisco and Exodus to establish an environment in which companies can test their e-commerce ideas.'
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