United Kingdom launches post-Brexit industrial strategy

Reuters

The pharma company - known as Merck & Co in the United States and Canada - also intends to move around 800 workers from its current headquarters in Hoddesdon, Hertfordshire, and says it is scouting out locations for the new site with the aim of starting operations in 2020.

Investments by a number of pharmaceutical companies into the United Kingdom will form a key part of the Sector Deal, a central Industrial Strategy measure, set to be signed in the coming weeks by the life sciences sector and government. Today's announcement must be the beginning of a strategic race, not a tactical sprint.

Among the headline actions included in the strategy, the government has committed to investing another £725 million over the next three years into the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund, which aims to enable UK-based research organisations to innovate with business on the "major industrial and societal challenges of our time".

"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. The NHS has a proud history of spearheading medical innovation and today's investment in our strong and growing life sciences sector will see patients in the United Kingdom continue to benefit from world-leading research and pioneering medicines.

PM Theresa May said the Strategy would provide a blueprint for businesses to deliver a "stronger and fairer economy far years to come".

He said: "Renewables are set to become the backbone of our modern energy system and the plummeting cost of wind power means onshore and offshore wind can help improve the competitiveness of United Kingdom industry".

The industrial strategy follows hot on the heels of the clean growth strategy (CGS), launched in October. There is a commitment to introduce "a new competitive £115 million Strength in Places Fund to support areas to build on their science and innovation strengths and develop stronger local networks", to fund "collaborative programmes proposed by universities, local employers, Local Enterprise Partnerships and their counterparts in the devolved nations". This new campus will generate skilled jobs and attract companies from across the world to the North West, the government said, while the company has also confirmed that it is going to expand its current operations in Manchester with the potential to create 800 skilled jobs.

CEO of QIAGEN, Peer M. Schatz said: "We are very excited about this partnership with Health Innovation Manchester, and the essential engagement of the University of Manchester, the NHS Trust and the United Kingdom government". 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'.

CEO Dr Colin Church says "CIWM was looking for the Industrial Strategy White Paper to recognise the role improving resource productivity can play in helping the United Kingdom economy meet the challenges it faces".

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.

The Strategy comes after a green paper consultation earlier this year received nearly 2,000 responses from industry and academia.

Each "Grand Challenge" represents an open invitation to business, academia and civil society to work and engage with the government to innovate, develop new technologies and ensure the United Kingdom seizes these global opportunities.

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