UK risks missing out on £230bn without new industrial strategy

13th July 2023


An ambitious industrial strategy with a focus on life sciences and clean technology could result in a £230bn economic boost for the UK by 2030, the Society of Chemical Industry (SCI) has said.

In a new report, the body also estimates that such a strategy could create 180,000 high-value jobs in clean tech and 60,000 in the life science sector.

It recommends that the strategy include increased research and development (R&D) spending to align with global peers, simplified tax relief systems, wider availability of R&D tax credits, and reform in pension fund investments.

Furthermore, the report claims that flexible immigration policies are crucial to bridge the skills gap and attract skilled international talent.

However, it warns that the absence of a clear and comprehensive strategy is causing confusion among companies and discouraging them from investing in new science and innovation in the UK.

SCI chief executive, Sharon Todd, said: ‘For too long, ‘industrial strategy’ has been used as a catchphrase rather than a tangible and actionable plan to drive economic growth.

"The UK has a world-leading science base, and we need to maximise this commercial potential.

“An ambitious and practical industrial strategy focused on our science base would mean the UK would attract investment from global scientific companies, rather than lose out to other countries.”

Economic value would stem from increased capital investment, including a 2% rise in pharmaceutical exports, with the report also suggesting that doubling the number of start-ups reaching initial public offering (IPO) in the UK is within reach.

In addition, it highlights how the global clean tech market, valued at £1.2trn, is projected to grow by 12% annually until 2030, but warns that the UK is falling behind more focused countries in this sector.

By capitalising on its scientific strengths, implementing robust policies, and attracting international talent, the UK can position itself as a global leader in life sciences and clean technology, creating jobs and driving substantial economic growth in the process.

Todd added: “If adopted by the main political parties, this would both spur economic growth and make sure that billions of pounds in large-scale commercial science investment are not lost to better prepared rivals.”

Image credit: Shutterstock

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