Autumn Statement confirms major Whitehall investment in STEM
23 Nov 2016
Chancellor Phillip Hammond has, as expected, delivered a raft of measures in his Autumn Statement designed to boost investment in UK science and tech.
Innovation, R&D, transport and fibre-optic development all emerged as big winners when details of the Exchequer plans were delivered in Parliament today.
Key details of the benefits for process sectors are:
A new £23 billion national productivity investment fund for science and tech over the next five years
£400 million to boost broadband speeds – matched by private investment
£740million to develop 5G mobile networks for local authorities
100pc business rate relief for five years on new fibre infrastructure
£1.1bn investment in English local transport networks, including £390 million for development of low emission vehicles
Corporation tax has also been confirmed to fall from 20% to 17%, giving the UK the lowest rate of any G20 country.
“The boost to science and innovation is vital if we are to be at the forefront of the fourth industrial revolution”
Terry Scuoler, chief executive, EEF
Commenting on today’s news, Terry Scuoler, chief executive of manufacturers’ organisation EEF, said:
“The Chancellor has…provided industry with a down payment on a modern industrial strategy. The boost to science and innovation is vital if we are to be at the forefront of the fourth industrial revolution.”
His words were echoed by Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry chief executive Mike Thompson who commented: “The Chancellor has given us an Autumn Statement that delivers for science and innovation.”
The pharmaceuticals industry ranks as the UK’s biggest investor in research and development – spending £4.2 billion and accounting for 20% of total research and development expenditure.
However, Thompson said much would now depend upon how the industry took advantage of the new resources.
“If we are serious about making the UK the go-to place for research and development we must also focus on turning these investments into the innovative treatments that will improve the lives of patients in the UK.”
Go here for a full transcript and details of the Chancellor’s speech.