The Chancellor is right: The work is not done and there is more to do after today’s announcements.
Today’s measures indicate that the Chancellor is starting to understand what is required to salvage the UK’s diminishing industry. However, he must listen to the wider science base, beyond just life sciences and clean technology. Global businesses and start-ups which innovate and make essential products, such as food and consumer products, are investing elsewhere. The UK is no longer competitive for investment.
We welcome the government statements to support advanced manufacturing and help start-ups to grow, scale and list in the UK. However we need a detailed and long term plan to be put in place to deliver this. Lord Harrington’s proposal for a legislative vehicle is welcome, but it is not akin to a comprehensive plan such as the US Inflation Reduction Act. That would give investors confidence for large scale, once in a generational investments. Without direct Government investment and a competitive environment for private investment, British science-based industry and jobs will continue to slough off our coastline and sail away.
We support the new British Business Bank growth fund (LIFTS) to try and plug the current gap, but we need more venture capital and pension investment to flow into science-based businesses as well as technology businesses.
Support for additional investment in Investment Zones is to be encouraged. But the creation of a new infrastructure for Hydrogen and renewable power needs to be considered on a national scale. The Chancellor needs the advice of leaders from a range of businesses, large and small, in a single Innovation and Science Growth Council to fully realise that green UK future.
Download SCI's Manifesto for an Industrial Science & Innovation Strategy here.