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UK Gov publishes Industrial Strategy

27 November 2017

Business Secretary Greg Clark's plan has been nearly a year in the making and "will see ministers agree dozens of sector deals with different parts of industry to drive the economy forward and reverse Britain's productivity crisis", says Politico's Jack Blanchard.

Investments by a number of pharmaceutical companies into the United Kingdom will form a key part of the Sector Deal, a central Industrial Strategy measure, set to be signed in the coming weeks by the life sciences sector and government. For the industry, the deal will "drive investment in the UK's world-leading research infrastructure and boost productivity in the sector", it said.

The strategy "heralds a new approach to how government and business can work together to shape a stronger, fairer economy", May said in the foreword to the document.

The white paper can be accessed here. "We have a thriving research and science base and are home to a wide range of innovative sectors, from advanced manufacturing and life sciences, to fintech and creative industries", he said.

"A new United Kingdom location will enable us to build on our proud legacy of invention and be an important contributor to the vibrant and rapidly growing United Kingdom life sciences community, while providing access for more collaborations within the European life science ecosystem", noted MSD's Research Laboratories president Roger Perlmutter.

"If successful, this will have our sector recognised by Beis as well as Defra as willing and able to play a proactive role in shaping the UK's industrial strategy to add more value and further reduce environmental impact through innovation and investment".

The company said it viewed Britain as a world-leader in science, although a spokeswoman said Brexit raised "some very real concerns" for the supply chain, drug regulation and the ability to attract talent to Britain.

The vote of confidence in Britain's life sciences sector was welcomed by the government after the news last week that the European Medicines Agency would move from London to Amsterdam when Britain leaves the EU in March 2019.

The industrial strategy follows hot on the heels of the clean growth strategy (CGS), launched in October.

The government also announced that diagnostics provider Qiagen was planning to set up a research campus in Manchester, creating around 800 skilled jobs.

The UK has committed to raising total research and development (R&D) investment to 2.4% of GDP by 2027 and increasing the rate of R&D tax credit to 12%.

CEO Dr Colin Church says "CIWM was looking for the Industrial Strategy White Paper to recognise the role improving resource productivity can play in helping the United Kingdom economy meet the challenges it faces".

To mark the launch, drugs giants Merck and Qiagen announced plans to between them create nearly 1,000 jobs through a £1 billion-worth of investments.

In the strategy, the government has identified 4 Grand Challenges; global trends that will shape our rapidly changing future and which the United Kingdom must embrace to ensure we harness all the opportunities they bring.

Each Grand Challenge represents an open invitation to business, academia and civil society to work and engage with the government to innovate, develop new technologies and develop strategies to seize these global opportunities.

UK Gov publishes Industrial Strategy