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PM announces major research boost

Posted 22 November 2016 · Add Comment

UK Prime Minister Theresa May has outlined the first steps in a modern, ambitious Industrial Strategy which will build on the UK's strengths.


Courtesy UK Government


In her first speech to the CBI Annual Conference yesterday, Prime Minister Theresa May outlined the first steps in a modern, ambitious Industrial Strategy which will build on the country’s strengths and address the long-term structural challenges which can hold British businesses back.

The Prime Minister used her speech to business leaders yesterday to outline how her government will step up to the task and get the economy firing on all cylinders by announcing plans to secure the UK’s long-term commitment to research and innovation, including:

    substantial real terms increases in government investment worth £2 billion per year by 2020 for research and development, to ensure British business remains at the cutting edge of scientific and technological discovery
    a new Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund to back priority technologies – such as robotics and biotechnology – where the UK has the potential to turn strengths in research into a global industrial and commercial lead
    a review of current R&D tax incentives to ensure the global competitiveness of the UK as a home for scientists, innovators and tech investors

The Prime Minister built on her message to the Lord Mayor’s Banquet at Guildhall last week, by arguing that government and business must work together to ensure growth and opportunity is shared in a country that works for everyone, not just the privileged few.

Prime Minister Theresa May said: "Our modern Industrial Strategy will be ambitious for business and ambitious for Britain.

"It is a new way of thinking for government – a new approach. It is about government stepping up, not stepping back, building on our strengths, and helping Britain overcome the long-standing challenges in our economy that have held us back for too long.

"It is about making the most of the historic opportunity we now have to signal an important, determined change."

Heralding a new, modern Industrial Strategy which this government will deliver hand-in-hand with business, the Prime Minister told business leaders at the CBI conference: "It is not about propping up failing industries or picking winners but creating the conditions where winners can emerge and grow.

"It is about backing those winners all the way, to encourage them to invest in the long-term future of Britain. And about delivering jobs and economic growth to every community and corner of the country. That is the ambition – and we need your help to put it into practice."

In her speech at the Lord Mayor’s Banquet last week, the Prime Minister said that the supporters of business must recognise when change is necessary. Today she reiterated the need to improve the reputation of business, which has been damaged by a small minority, by asking British businesses to demonstrate leadership in restoring this reputation and the trust of the public.

Looking ahead to the government’s upcoming Green Paper on Corporate Governance, the Prime Minister said: "This will be a genuine consultation – we want to work with the grain of business and to draw from what works. But it will also be a consultation that will deliver results.

The new Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund, overseen by UK Research and Innovation, will back projects covering a number of priority technologies and help Britain build on existing strengths in research and development.

Despite its strengths in science, Britain has until now been relatively weak on commercialisation, meaning that all too often ideas developed in this country end up being commercialised elsewhere.

Government will consult on how the fund can best support emerging fields such as robotics and artificial intelligence, industrial biotechnology and medical technology, satellites, advanced materials manufacturing and other areas where the UK has a proven scientific strength and there is a significant economic opportunity for commercialisation.

To realise the full economic potential of these new technologies, the Prime Minister will also announce a review of the support for organisations undertaking research through the tax system, looking at the global competitiveness of the UK offer.

The government’s business and tax reforms since 2010 have delivered one of the most competitive corporate tax regimes in the world by cutting corporation tax and increasing R&D tax credits – from £1 billion to almost £2.5 billion a year.

Research shows each £1 spent on R&D tax credits stimulates between £1.53 and £2.35 of additional investment in the UK.

The Prime Minister will announce that HM Treasury will look at whether we can make this support even more effective, to ensure the UK continues to actively encourage innovation.
 

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