THE business secretary, Greg Clark, has agreed to visit Bournemouth University to see how it is helping the area’s tech sector.

Mr Clark was responding in parliament to a question by Bournemouth West MP Conor Burns on the government’s new industrial strategy.

Mr Burns told the House of Commons: “Many of us know how hard he has worked on the strategy, and how widely he has engaged. I invite him to use this opportunity to reaffirm the central role of Britain’s universities in future growth and technological advance.

“I invite him to visit my constituency and see what Bournemouth University has done to create an incredible new tech sector, resulting in Bournemouth being voted the fastest growing digital economy in the United Kingdom.”

Mr Clark replied: “The role of universities is absolutely vital.”

He added: “They are central to the local economy in almost every part of the country, and not just in educating the population – local people and those who travel to study – but in the research and leadership they offer. I would be delighted to visit Bournemouth’s excellent university with my honourable friend, to congratulate it and to discuss how we can take its success forward in the local area.”

Mr Burns told the Daily Echo he had seen the tech sector transformed in the town since he was first elected in 2010.

“Where we didn’t have very much tech at all, now we’ve got all these little start-up tech companies that are owned or were started by people who graduated out of Bournemouth University or Arts University Bournemouth and have chosen to stay here and start a company," he said.

"That’s exactly the model that the industrial strategy wants to make common practice across the UK.”