The Government has unveiled plans aimed at making the UK the world’s most innovative nation by 2030 by investing £725 million to “transform” industries.
The money includes £170 million towards building houses that are more affordable and use less energy, and £210 million to improve early diagnosis of illnesses and development of “precision medicine” for patients.
The measures are part of the Industrial Strategy, which sets out the Government’s long-term vision on how to tackle the UK’s poor productivity, embrace technological change and boost wages.
The £725 million will go into a fund over the next three years, on top of previously announced £1 billion towards projects – although ministers said around £80 billion could be invested in advanced technology in the next decade.
To mark the launch of a White Paper on industrial strategy, leading life sciences company MSD said it will open a state-of-the-art hub in the UK to drive research into future treatments for patients.
Around 150 research roles will be created, and it is envisaged that the new site will accommodate hundreds of staff for the UK domestic market and other European clinical functions currently based in MSD’s Hoddesdon offices in Hertfordshire.
The Government said it will press ahead with a series of so-called sector deals covering life sciences, construction, artificial intelligence and automotive.
Ministers said they represented a new strategic and long-term partnership with Government, backed by private sector co-investment.
The move aims to build on an announcement by the Prime Minister last week that the Government’s ambition is to deliver a step change in the level of investment in research and development (R&D), rising from 1.7% to 2.4% of GDP by 2027.
Theresa May said: “Our modern Industrial Strategy will shape a stronger and fairer economy for decades to come. 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.
“As we leave the European Union and forge a new path for ourselves, we need to focus on building a better future for our country and all the people who live in it. With the Budget last week, and our Industrial Strategy in the years ahead, we will build a Britain fit for the future.”
Business Secretary Greg Clark said: “Any serious strategy should address the weaknesses that stop us achieving our potential, as well as our strengths, and this Industrial Strategy does that.
“Britain’s productivity performance has not been good enough, and is holding back our earning power as a country.
“So this Industrial Strategy deliberately strengthens the five foundations of productivity: ideas, people, infrastructure, business environment and places.”
Terry Scuoler, chief executive of EEF – the manufacturers’ organisation, commented: “The White Paper acts as a good foundation for a new partnership with industry where Government and business can ensure consistency in policy thinking and implementation to ensure the UK is a world leader in these new technologies.”