Ahead of its announcement, the industrial plan has already won support from Merck & Co and Qiagen.
In the wake of massive economic upheavals from Britain’s historic decision to leave the EU, on Monday, Prime Minister Theresa May pitched a new strategy to leaders of the country’s industry aimed at bringing about greater state intervention to tackle weak economic productivity.
This development marks Theresa May’s, Prime Minister to the world’s sixth largest economy, hands-on approach to business, a mark difference from her predecessors.
The British government said it has already secured major investments from global healthcare firm Merck & Co, (MSD) and from diagnostics company Qiagen.
Life sciences is one of four sectors being targeted by the government along with artificial intelligence, construction industry, and the automotive industry.
According to Greg Clark, Britain’s Business Minister, Britain has some of the world’s best companies in the financial sector, advanced manufacturing, creative industries and life sciences. The country also has outstanding research institutions and universities.
“But any serious strategy should address the weaknesses that stop us achieving our potential, as well as our strengths, and this Industrial Strategy does that,” said Clark. “Britain’s productivity performance has not been good enough and is holding back our earning power as a country.”
Last week, Britain’s budget forecasters slashed the country’s growth estimates for the next five years due to poor projections for productivity, an Achilles’ heel of its economy since the 2007-2009 financial crisis.
As per Clark, the new industrial strategy is likely to boost infrastructure and the business environment prevalent in the country.
According to the International Monetary Fund, the British economy is expected to grow by 1.5% in 2018, down from an earlier 2.0% forecast.
MSD stated it would be opening a state-of-the-art life sciences discovery research facility in London by 2020 which will focus on early bioscience discovery and entrepreneurial innovation.
Although MSD said it views Britain as a world-leader in science, its spokeswoman said Brexit raised “some very real concerns” for the supply chain, drug regulation and the ability to attract talent to Britain.
As per the U.S. drugmaker, it plans on creating 150 new research roles in London and relocate nearly 800 existing UK jobs to the capital.
As per Qiagen, it plans to develop a genomics and diagnostics campus in Manchester which has the potential to create 800 jobs.
Despite the vote of confidence, Brexit remains, by far, the biggest concern for multinational and domestic companies and the lack of a clearly pronounced vision and clarity as to how Brexit will impact its economy, is pausing many investments.
Britain has made very little progress with its negotiations with the EU, and the British government has only been able to reiterate its plan to seek a transition deal as soon as possible.