Covid has been an economic catastrophe. Debt is at historic levels. One of the key questions of the next decade is simple: how will we escape? We must look at how to turbo-charge growth. But this cannot be a return to the old boom and bust growth of old. The far harder path is trying to find a way towards long-lasting and structural growth. That means making the UK a true science and innovation superpower.
Before becoming an MP, I worked for fifteen years in the life science sector financing cutting-edge biomedical innovation. As we speak, the OxfordAstraZeneca vaccine is saving lives right across the globe. The work of the last ten years has laid the foundations for the extraordinary rollout success we are now seeing. The reforms I previously led in our Life Science Industrial Strategy – launching Genomics England, the Early Access to Medicines Scheme, MHRA and NICE reform and Accelerated Access procurement – have been fundamental to our ability to lead the world in developing a Covid vaccine.
Seeing our success with life sciences shows what’s possible. And it doesn’t have to stop there. We have world-leading expertise in other areas like agri-tech, clean-tech, biosecurity, space and automated vehicles. Before us is a major opportunity to lead a healthier and cleaner recovery. Crucially, that doesn’t mean low growth. It means green smart growth.
The Prime Minister absolutely gets this. He has championed this vision from the start and put the most pro-science agenda in history at the heart of Number 10 with reforms like the new ARPA-style Science Agency. It is at the core of his vision, as we saw during his time as Mayor of London. This is our chance to become the technology and scientific capital of the world. Let's seize it