Published: Tue, November 28, 2017
Markets | By Erika Turner

Industrial strategy commits United Kingdom to circular economy

Industrial strategy commits United Kingdom to circular economy

The government is calling two major new investments in the United Kingdom by pharma firms a "huge vote of confidence" in its approach to industrial strategy.

Amongst the mentioned objectives was the transformation of the construction sector, highlighted as one of the greatest global challenges faced by the UK.

In an announcement that was well-timed ahead of Monday's launch, Merck said it would open a state-of-the-art life sciences research facility in London by 2020, focusing on early bioscience discovery and entrepreneurial innovation.

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.

"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", said Business Secretary Greg Clark.

The new "Transforming food production: from farm to fork" programme aims to boost sustainable agricultural practices, by increasing incentives for producers to embrace innovative technologies and techniques.

Elsewhere, the Industrial Strategy reiterated government's intention to develop a new scheme to encourage energy efficiency investment by large firms, as outlined in the clean growth plan, published last month.

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Business Finance analyst Carl D'Ammassa, at investment bank Aldermore, said: "It is early days for the Government's new Industrial Strategy, however it appears that the lofty ambitions for the Strategy are yet to translate into awareness". It will help create the conditions where successful businesses can emerge and grow, and support these businesses in seizing the big opportunities of our time, such as artificial intelligence and big data, whilst also making sure our young people have the skills to take on the high-paid, high-skilled jobs this creates.

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

She said: "Nothing in the White Paper will help give businesses the certainty or incentives they need to invest in the face of the Government's catastrophic handling of Brexit".

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.

The Industrial Strategy is meant to push the United Kingdom towards the forefront of the data-driven revolution.

The document also says the Office for Students "will address employer and student needs and expectations in the short, medium and long term - considering the skills gaps that exist today, and anticipating the demands of the future economy".

Jessica Cole, Russell Group head of policy, said: "The papers will be full of the happy news about the royal wedding tomorrow, but the Industrial Strategy will have far more of an impact on the future of our country". "Our research indicates that big data and the Internet of Things can create 182,000 new jobs in these sectors from 2015-2020, and inject £322 billion of additional revenue into the United Kingdom economy". "Only then, will we create an innovative culture effective for driving the United Kingdom forward in this global and competitive market".

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