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Industry responds to UK growth review

The UK government's growth review sees life sciences as a 'key sector' according to several industry bodies, including the ABPI

The UK government's growth review has highlighted the life science industry as a 'key sector', according to a joint statement released by several industry associations.

'The path to strong, sustainable and balanced growth', launched November 29 by Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, was welcomed by bodies including the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI), the BioIndustry Association (BIA) and the Association of British Healthcare Industries (ABHI).

The Association of Medical Research Charities (AMRC) and the British In Vitro Diagnostics Association (BIVDA) also added their views to the response which called the review a 'promising road map to enable the UK to build its vibrant life sciences sector'.

The review is a joint process led by HM Treasury and the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills that aims to ensure all government departments are working efficiently to maximise growth during the recession.

It calls on business and industry to challenge government departments on decisions made concerning the private sector, with the intention of 'removing barriers that are preventing them from performing to their full potential'.

Osborne stated: "We have been clear that growth will be driven by the private sector. By working closely with business and industry in this intensive programme of work, government can make sure that Britain is open for business."

In their response, the collection of life science industries particularly welcomed plans to introduce more competitive tax systems.

These include the introduction of a 'patent box' – a 10 per cent corporation tax rate on income derived from patents held in the UK, compared to a main corporation tax rate of 28 per cent.

A review of R&D tax credits to reflect proposals made in 'Ingenious Britain' - a report led by Sir James Dyson concerning the UK's attempt to become the leading high tech exporter in Europe - was also confirmed.

Key issues submitted to the government in a previous joint paper by several UK life science associations were also addressed in the review.

These included encouraging skills, training and support for scientists to more easily work in both industry and academia; recognising the need for a more long-term strategy for investment in science; and ensuring provisions are made to fund and support business and basic science.

Richard Barker, director general of the ABPI, said: "With government's welcome announcement of the patent box, enabling UK intellectual property to generate UK jobs, and their clear recognition of the role of the NHS in supporting the sector, the stage is set for a resurgence in UK life sciences."

GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) has already responded to the review, announcing a £500m investment in manufacturing products as well as a new £50m UK venture capital fund to be established.

GSK CEO, Andrew Witty, said: "The introduction of the patent box is a bold and forward-thinking measure which builds on the UK's strength as a global centre of excellence for science and R&D. In the current challenging and uncertain economic environment, this is a welcome step by the government to improve the attractiveness of the UK as a place for the private sector to locate and invest."

"When implemented, the patent box has the potential to transform the way in which the UK is viewed by companies such as GSK as a location for new investments in high added-value R&D and manufacturing."

The review is available from HM Treasury.

30th November 2010

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