Pharma leader MSD endorses government's Industrial Strategy

Greg Clark

He added: "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".

"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". The business secretary hailed the investment as an endorsement of his efforts to foster closer co-operation between the state and strategically important industries, such as life sciences.

Clark claims the new industrial strategy will "take the sting out of" the Brexit uncertainty, but commentators have questioned how the United Kingdom can be competitive without a trade deal to move goods between countries in a cost-effective manner.

The government had already previously committed £1 billion to the first wave of Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund projects, including investing £246m in next generation battery technology and £86 million in robotics hubs across the UK.

"The Industrial Strategy can have a transformative impact on the UK's economy, driving low carbon innovation and the continued growth of jobs, skills and supply chains", Molho said.

PM Theresa May said the Strategy would provide a blueprint for businesses to deliver a "stronger and fairer economy far years to come". It will drive this sector forward and simultaneously attract other investments into the UK.

"It is clear that the United Kingdom can, through a collaborative partnership between government, industry, academia, charities and the NHS, deliver the next wave of innovation that will benefit patients, transform the health care system, and generate economic growth and improved productivity".

A brand new partnership between leading diagnostics company QIAGEN and Health Innovation Manchester to develop a genomics and diagnostics campus in the city was also announced.

"It is clear that the United Kingdom can, through a collaborative partnership between government, industry, academia, charities and the NHS, deliver the next wave of innovation that will benefit patients, transform the health care system, and generate economic growth and improved productivity".

Molho's thoughts were echoed by Greenpeace UK head of energy Hannah Martin, who said: "Ministers are right to recognise clean energy as a top priority for British industry and regional regeneration. Our success together can advance science and improve the lives of patients in the local region as well as worldwide".

Research and Development tax credit: The tax relief for companies which invest in R&D was increased in the Budget.

It also comes on the same day that the United Kingdom government is due to publish a white paper on industrial strategy in a post-Brexit economy, with the aim of tackling a range of issues such as the country's stagnant productivity, the lop-sidedness of the country's economy in favour of London and the southeast (not addressed in MSD's case) and improve workforce skills. This will support the development of new markets for waste materials and improve the efficiency of enforcement, creating a level playing field for the waste and resources sector'.

The Strategy has been welcomed by members of the green business community, with Aldersgate Group's chief executive Nick Molho describing it as a clear signal that clean growth is part of the UK's mainstream economic strategy.

It also outlines four "grand challenges" in research, developed after consultation with UK science: to "put the UK at the forefront of the artificial intelligence and data revolution"; "maximise the advantages for UK industry from the global shift to clean growth"; "become a world leader in shaping the future of mobility"; and "harness the power of innovation to help meet the needs of an ageing society".

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