Today the Prime Minister made a series of announcements on infrastructure, homebuilding and a new ‘opportunity guarantee’ to ensure every young person can access apprenticeship or in-work placements.
Billed by Downing Street as a ‘A New Deal for Britain’ these announcements, on the face of it, appear to be an acceleration of projects and plans in the works pre-COVID and an attempt not just to get Britain back on track but to accelerate.
Laying the groundwork for a fiscal event to be led by the Chancellor next week, the Prime Minister committed to doubling down on the levelling up agenda to close, what he called, the “yawning” productivity gap that exists between the best and the rest right across the UK.
Key to that agenda is investing in infrastructure projects whether road, rail or and cross-sea links. Spending on schools, police and the NHS is also set to rise. However, most interestingly for the technology sector was the passage dedicated to becoming a ‘science superpower’:
“We have the knack of innovation. We lead the world in quantum computing, in bioscience, in AI, space satellites, net-zero planes, and in the long-term solutions to global warming wind and solar technology carbon capture and storage.
And as part of our mission to reach net-zero CO2 emissions by 2050, we should set ourselves the goal of producing the world’s first net-zero long haul passenger plane jet zero.
And though we are no longer a military superpower we can be a science superpower.”
The R&D roadmap setting out the UK’s path to increasing % GDP spend on research and development is expected imminently and has a clear place in the Government’s thinking of economic recovery and reinvention.
With figures this week showing an economic contraction of 2.2% in the first three months of 2020 – the fastest rate for more than 40 years, it is imperative that the Government move quickly to get us back on the road to recovery and that the recovery is both tech-enabled and clean.
This will require a commitment to bold and radical action and the ability to take risks and try new ways of working.
You can read the full speech trascript here