The Innovation Strategy will boost private sector investment across the UK and create an environment for British businesses to thrive after the Covid-crisis, according to the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. Officials at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) said the pandemic had shown that “ambitious” investment in science, technology, innovation and entrepreneurship could help Britain overcome many major challenges.
BEIS highlighted the UK’s rapid vaccine roll-out, which utilised those in both the private and public sector, as a key example of innovation in a Covid-swept Britain.
The Innovation Strategy, to be unveiled by the Business Secretary later today, will also be supported by an increase in annual public investment in research and development to £22billion.
The Government hopes the spending increase will encourage those in the private sector to develop forward-thinking technology and ideas.
Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said: “The UK can look back on a proud history of changing the world through innovation.”
“From the industrial revolution to the vaccine development of the past year, the impact on our everyday lives is undeniable”, he added.
But Kwarteng, who replaced Alok Sharma as Business Secretary in January 2021, also wants the UK to channel this innovative streak in the future.
“That spirit of discovery,” he continued, “is still alive in this country today, but we have not always turned our genius for innovation into jobs and companies here in Britain.
“The countries that secure leadership in such transformational technologies will lead the world, enjoying unrivalled growth, security and prosperity for decades to come – and it’s our job to ensure the UK keeps pace with the global innovation race.
“Through this long-term plan, we want to rekindle our country’s flame of innovation and discovery, helping businesses to seize the vast opportunities that innovation can bring.
“If we get this right, we can build the foundations for the new industries of tomorrow, and ensure British firms are at the front of the pack to turn world-leading science into new products and services that are successful in international markets.”
Alongside the Innovation Strategy, an extra £127million of funding for research and development was announced by UK Research and Innovation.
The five new projects introduced will boost economic growth and create thousands of jobs across the UK, including in the Midlands, north of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
This will cover various industries, from digital dairy farming to greener ceramics and the media to nano-manufacturing.
Dame Kate Barker, chair of the Strength in Places Fund panel which issued the investment, said: “These five projects have the potential to deliver research and innovation that will transform activity within their target industries, in a way that is deeply rooted in local strengths and well linked to wider local economic plans.”
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Lord David Frost, the Cabinet Office Minister and UK’s former chief negotiator to the EU, will also set out the UK’s post-Brexit regulatory approach later today.
Frost and Kwarteng jointly devised Britain’s post-Brexit deregulation plan.
The Cabinet Office Minister said: “For the first time in a generation we are free to implement rules that put the UK first.”
Kwarteng will declare the UK will make a distinctive break away from what Brexiteers claimed was the excessive use of the “precautionary principle” by the EU and instead adopt a “proportionality principle” going forward.
However, Joe Marshall from the Institute for Government has warned these new regulatory measures could cause issues between the UK and EU, especially in Ireland.
In a paper published last month, the senior researcher claimed: “Divergence from EU rules in Great Britain could deepen the border down the Irish Sea, with Northern Ireland still obliged to follow many EU rules on goods.”