His Majesty’s Treasury has announced that it is allocating significant funding to ‘fire up’ the life sciences sector, whilst also driving the government’s growth priorities for the economy.
The Chancellor unveiled the Life Sci for Growth funding package, bringing ten policies together, as the government looks to utilise £650 million worth of funding to support economic growth through manufacturing, skills, and infrastructure. The plan includes projects that will relaunch the Academic Health Science Network as Health Innovation Networks, updating a route for East West Rail and bringing together the NHS, local communities, charities, academia, and industry.
The Life Sciences sector is one of the most successful in the United Kingdom, bringing more than £93 billion into the economy in 2021. That fact has led to it being identified as a focus for the government as funding is targeted at the most vital projects. This will help to deliver on the Science and Technology Framework by reforming regulation, boosting investment, and driving skills and talent.
Jeremy Hunt, Chancellor, said:
“Our Life Sciences sector employs over 280,000 people, makes £94 billion for the UK each year, and produced the world’s first covid vaccine.
“These are businesses that are growing our economy while having much wider benefits for our health – and this multi-million-pound investment will help them go even further.”
One project that is being implemented through the new package is a policy to make it easier for revolutionary healthcare products to get to patients. This will be done by reducing the regulatory burden of approving clinical trials, as well as the allocation of £121 million of funding to speed up trials and improve access to real-time data.
Science and Technology Secretary Chloe Smith said:
“Backing our life sciences sector is a double win for the UK. The package we are announcing today won’t just help this £94 billion industry drive more economic growth and create more high skill jobs. It will support advances in public health which will mean we can all have happier, healthier, more productive lives, delivering a virtuous circle of benefits to society and economy,
“From our pioneering medics trialling new therapies, to our medicine and vaccine manufacturers, and the world-leading population health studies underway at UK Biobank, we have a life sciences industry the rest of the world is rightly envious of. Today we are delivering on the plan we set out in our Science and Technology Framework by going even further in our efforts to back this burgeoning sector, ensuring that it can stay right at the front of the global race for new investment and talent.”
The government’s ongoing commitment to transforming the East West Rail line between Oxford and Cambridge will be built upon as funding will continue the development of the new line. This will bring additional employment and growth to towns and cities along the route, which spans one of the world’s most renowned hubs for science, research, and innovation.
Mark Harper, Transport Secretary, said:
“The cities of Oxford and Cambridge are renowned across the globe for their academic excellence – East West Rail will be vital in allowing them to thrive for generations to come and help to grow the economy.
“With the potential to unlock £103 billion of growth through new homes, businesses and job opportunities, this crucial line will also serve as a catalyst for development in one of Europe’s most vibrant local economies while making travel quicker, cheaper and easier across the region.”
Alongside these developments, there is also to be a boost for life sciences manufacturing. This will come through a new Biomanufacturing Fund worth up to £38 million which will support the incentivisation of investment and the improvement of the UK’s resilience to future pandemics.
Health and Social Care Secretary Steve Barclay said:
“This investment is another significant step in harnessing UK innovation to help cut waiting lists – one of the government’s five priorities – and build a stronger NHS.
“We will take forward Lord O’Shaughnessy’s recommendations to speed up the delivery of clinical trials and boost patient involvement in research, so people getting NHS care can benefit from cutting edge treatments faster, supported by £121 million in government funding.
“We’re also acceleration research into mental health, backed by over £42 million of investment in clinical research centres across the UK – including in Birmingham and Liverpool – to improve the speed and accuracy of diagnosis and increase the use of technology for treatment.”