Special Feature: Autumn Statement 2016

by Andrew Basu-McGowan

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This month we’re concentrating on our Annual Report, including activities from England’s LEPs, and the UK Government, that support the Smart Specialisation vision of place-based innovation and growth. The Autumn Statement – the first fiscal event of our post-referendum world – landed on Wednesday. The accompanying Industrial Strategy document, published yesterday, set out in more detail Government’s refreshed vision for growth and productivity across the country.

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An Industrial Strategy with big plans

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“[create] the conditions where winners can emerge and grow…and delivering jobs and economic growth to every community and corner of the country.”

Naturally, this all has profound implications for place-based innovation. Whilst it will take time to unpick the details and interdependencies that underpin the key announcements, the advent of an additional £2bn of Government investment per year for research and development by the end of this Parliament clearly represents a significant asset to be leveraged in the pursuit of technical and scientific excellence – and the commercialisation of that excellence.

The Industrial Strategy, expected by the end of the year, will also articulate Government’s vision for a new approach to supporting and empowering the UK’s strategic strengths, whilst also addressing underlying weaknesses and the long-term structural challenges which face the whole country.[edsanimate_end]

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“It is a new way of thinking for government – a new approach. It is about government stepping up, not stepping back, building on our strengths, and helping Britain overcome the long-standing challenges in our economy that have held us back for too long.”

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Prime Minister, The Right Hon. Theresa May MP, speaking at the CBI 2016 Annual conference last week

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Supporting emerging fields in the UK

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[edsanimate_start entry_animation_type= “fadeInUp” entry_delay= “0.5” entry_duration= “1” entry_timing= “linear” exit_animation_type= “” exit_delay= “” exit_duration= “” exit_timing= “” animation_repeat= “1” keep= “yes” animate_on= “scroll” scroll_offset= “75” custom_css_class= “”]Additionally, the announcement of a new Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund to support priority technologies, where the UK has potential to convert strengths in research into global industrial and commercial leadership, resonates with the philosophy of the Smart Specialisation Hub: evidence-based prioritisation for targeted investment.

Here at the Hub, we will provide working examples as they become apparent in line with the upcoming Industrial Strategy green paper. We will keep you updated as these develop.

Government plans to consult on how the Fund can best support emerging fields such as robotics and artificial intelligence, industrial biotechnology and medical technology, satellites, advanced materials manufacturing and other areas where the UK has a proven scientific strength and there is a significant economic opportunity for commercialisation.[edsanimate_end]

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“Devolution remains at the heart of this government’s approach to supporting local growth… We choose to invest in our economic infrastructure because it can transform the growth potential of our economy… The new capital investment I have announced today will provide the financial backbone for the government’s Industrial Strategy.”

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Chancellor of the Exchequer, The Right Hon. Philip Hammond MP, delivering the Autumn Statement last Wednesday

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Investing in industry

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  • £1.8 billion from the Local Growth Fund to the English regions, including £556 million to Local Enterprise Partnerships in the North of England, £542 million to the Midlands and East of England, and £683 million to LEPs in the South West, South East and London.
  • Additional investment in R&D, rising to an extra £2 billion per year by 2020-2021.
  • National Productivity Investment Fund of £23 billion to be spent on innovation and infrastructure over the next five years.
  • Additional £400m into venture capital funds through the British Business Bank, unlocking £1 billion of new finance for growing firms.

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“…the industries of tomorrow…”

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“The support for productivity and business-led innovation announced by the Chancellor today is potentially game-changing… The Industry Challenge Fund will put business-led innovation at the heart of the industrial strategy.”

Professor Madeleine Atkins, HEFCE’s Chief Executive, also spoke positively of the announcement, saying:

“Universities are the driving force behind the nation’s research expertise. The extra investment in research and development announced today by the Prime Minister will help the UK to remain at the cutting edge of scientific and technological discovery and innovation.

“Universities work closely and productively with business and industry at local, national and global levels. This extra investment will stimulate new research fields, and provide opportunities for knowledge to be applied in partnership with business for long-term economic success.”

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“The Industry Challenge Fund will put business-led innovation at the heart of the industrial strategy. It will help deliver business growth for companies across the nations and regions, supporting the industries of tomorrow, boosting productivity in our existing areas of strength and help us realise commercial benefit from our world class research base.”

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Dr Ruth McKernan, Chief Executive of Innovate UK

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Continuing the work of the Hub

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As a key delivery body for innovation across England, we have a prominent role in deploying our core assets – an understanding of innovation data, intelligence on the ground and an understanding of the policy landscape – to support the informed investment of funding streams.

We’ll explore our forward plans in more detail in our forthcoming Smart Specialisation Annual Report. [edsanimate_end]

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Additional media credits

Photo of the Prime Minister at CBI Annual Conference, 21st November 2016 – courtesy of CBI Flickr Account

Photo of Dr Ruth McKernan speaking at Venturefest East 2016 – courtesy of Venturefest East

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About the author

Andrew Basu-McGowan is the Policy Manager for the Smart Specialisation Hub, a role he assumed in April 2016. Andrew’s chief focus is on forging the collaborations and policy links that drive connected localities and regions, and promoting the role of universities in building diverse and resilient economies.

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