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expert reaction to today’s ‘mini-budget’ announcement by Kwasi Kwarteng

The Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng announced the new ‘Growth Plan’ in his statement to the House of Commons.


Steve Bates, Chief Executive, BioIndustry Association, said:

“Today’s statement provides the moment to bring together two of the UK’s world-leading sectors, life sciences and finance, to drive UK economic growth. Reforming the pension charge cap provides a fantastic opportunity to turbo-charge the UK’s life sciences and biotech sector and capture more of its economic value for the UK, including higher returns for people saving for their retirement.

“Biotechnology is transforming the world we live in, from better healthcare to products that are kinder on the environment, and UK researchers and companies are leading the world in this exciting new era of innovation. UK pension schemes, especially those operating in the defined contributions market, have not been investing in innovative life science and biotech companies, meaning UK pension savers are not benefitting from the UK’s competitive strengths.

“Today’s announcement provides the catalyst needed to build the biotech investment expertise in the City of London to match the global scale of the biotech ecosystem we have around the country.”


Tom Grinyer, Chief Executive, Institute of Physics, said:

“If today’s announcements are really going to deliver the sustainable growth the UK economy needs, they have to be backed up with a proper commitment to invest in research and development, people and skills.

“In 2019 alone, physics-based businesses generated 11% of UK GDP, and yet the IOP’s R&D Blueprint, published this week, reported that businesses’ difficulties accessing skills, finance and facilities are putting planned increases in R&D investment at risk.

“The Government must unlock the resources needed to unleash a new wave of innovation and make sure everyone in every part of the UK can benefit from the societal and economic revolution that science can deliver.”


Professor Sarah Main, Executive Director, CaSE (Campaign for Science and Engineering), said:

“Today, the Chancellor has recognised the important role the UK’s outstanding research and innovation sector plays in driving economic growth and meeting the critical challenges we face, such as energy security and net zero.

“I welcome the announcement of the £500m Long-Term Investment for Technology & Science (LIFTS) fund. This signals important progress from the Government’s ‘patient capital review’1 in accelerating home-grown R&D start-ups by unlocking the potential of pension funds to invest in R&D. I look forward to seeing more detail on all of today’s plans and hope they will, as the Chancellor said, “…help unlock billions of pounds of investment into scaling up the UK’s science and technology firms”. Reaffirming commitment to long-term investment in R&D will assure businesses of the security of their own investment plans and, importantly, attract the investors and innovators we need to the UK.

“I urge the Chancellor to pursue the ambitious economic targets already set for R&D, alongside new initiatives. Now is the time to stay the course and reap the rewards of Government investment over the last five years. Backing a stable, upward trajectory for R&D investment will drive growth, improve lives and livelihoods, and help us meet the challenges we face as a country.”

Editor’s note:

1CaSE supported the Government’s ‘Patient Capital Review’ in our 2019 report ‘Building on Scientific Strength



Declared interests

The nature of this story means everyone quoted above could be perceived to have a stake in it. As such, our policy is not to ask for interests to be declared – instead, they are implicit in each person’s affiliation.

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