May: get ready for a R&D and new transport fund to help economy ‘fit for the future’

Chancellor promises his Budget will show “the biggest ever increase in research and development investment” the country’s ever seen

Posted 20 November 2017 at 8:12am by

Prime Minister Theresa May has today published an article in The Times in which she promises to usher in an era of high commitment to technology, research and improved transport connections within both UK city regions across the country.

We’re being promised that her government will work with industry to boost spending on R&D to 2.4% of GDP by 2027, which if achieved would increase public and private R&D investment by as much as £80bn over the next 10 years. An extra investment of £2.3bn in 2021/22, raising total public investment in R&D to £12.5bn that year alone, is on the cards, she writes – with a plan to bring investment to levels “last seen in the 1980s”.

Her administration will also launch a new £1.7bn Transforming Cities Fund to improve transport links and promote local growth within city regions, placing cities at the heart of the Tories’ industrial strategy. This includes £250m for better transport in the West Midlands alone, while a special Transforming Cities Fund will address weaknesses in city transport systems in order to raise productivity and spread prosperity by supporting projects which will improve connectivity, reduce congestion and introduce new mobility services and technology.

Plus, next week we’ll see the official launch of the-long promised Industrial Strategy White Paper. This is apparently to centre on will four Grand Challenges that reflect global trends that will shape our future and industries where the UK has an edge, specifically:

  • Artificial Intelligence (AI) and the data economy
  • clean growth
  • healthy ageing
  • the future of mobility.

To do so, the government will “work with business, academia and civil society” to build on UK strengths in these areas and ensure Britain’s economy is fit for the future.

“One of my first actions as Prime Minister was to begin the development of a modern industrial strategy that will help businesses to create high-quality, well paid jobs right across the country,” states the PM.

“This is a new long-term approach to shaping a stronger and fairer economy for decades to come [and] helps young people to develop the skills they need to take up the high-paid, high-skilled jobs of the future.

“Our Industrial Strategy will propel Britain to global leadership of the industries of the future, seizing the big opportunities of our time – from Artificial Intelligence and Big Data to clean energy and self-driving vehicles.”

“We want the UK to attract, and create, the best and brightest talents, from Nobel Prize winners to ambitious graduate students, and this game-changing investment will ensure we are the home of the industries of the future and high-quality, good jobs,” added her Business Secretary, Greg Clark.