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Call for Government to place medical research at the heart of economic plans

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Ahead of the Autumn Statement, LifeArc and other leading life science organisations have written to the Chancellor calling for the Government to place medical and health research at the heart of its economic growth plans.

The letter, signed by LifeArc and other leading biomedical and health research institutions and companies – including Pfizer, Wellcome, BioIndustry Association, Cancer Research UK and the British Heart Foundation – highlights the need to invest in research as a driver for health and wealth across the UK and globally.

It emphasises the critical role biomedical and health research plays in our social and economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. It highlights its importance in addressing further threats to our health and economic security while leveraging further private investment from innovative and research-intensive life sciences companies.

Commenting on the letter, our CEO Dr Melanie Lee CBE, said:

“Life sciences in the UK play a crucial role in driving health and wealth. We cannot afford to under-invest in the people, institutions and in the ideas that underpin new diagnostics and drugs, create new companies and jobs, and make our lives so much better.”

“At LifeArc, we have committed to invest up to £1.3bn by 2030, to transform promising life science ideas into life-changing medical breakthroughs for patients, and to do so faster. We can only maximise the impact of our investment if we work with partners in a life science ecosystem that receives sustained and predictable financial support.”

“Governments in recent years have taken positive steps to support life sciences and innovation, but the key to success is stability. That’s why we’re calling on Government to provide the long-term certainty that researchers, investors and patients need.”

See below to read the full letter:

Call for the Chancellor to place medical and health research at the heart of economic plans

For the nation’s growth, security, stability and wellbeing, this Government must place medical and health research at the heart of its economic plans. The Government is facing difficult decisions, but an investment in research is crucial for health and wealth across the whole of the UK and around the world.

The Autumn Statement is an opportunity to send a strong message that the UK is open for business and remains a premier destination to work on health research that improves lives.

Health research is one of the UK’s great strengths driven by talented people, world-class universities, a thriving life sciences industry, patient-centred medical research charities and the unrivalled research potential of the NHS. This brings health benefits to patients and public and delivers economic returns to the country of 25p per pound investment, each year, forever.

We therefore call on Government to recommit to making the UK a global hub for life sciences as set out in the 2019 Conservative Manifesto and maintaining the 2021 Spending Review commitment to invest £20bn per year by 2024/25 and £22bn by 2026/27 in public R&D.

This includes:

  • Ensuring health research investment is balanced across Government research funders and maintaining previously set out commitments for both UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) and the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR).
  • Reaffirming that funding set aside for association to Horizon Europe will be spent on research and innovation whether or not we are able to associate.
  • Supporting public investment with internationally competitive R&D tax incentives that will leverage further private investment from innovative and research-intensive life sciences companies.

Renewed investment will drive innovation, create high-skilled jobs in high-growth industries and improve the nation’s health. Such stability would allow the best ideas to flourish and provide certainty for the talented people and innovative businesses pursuing health research in the UK.

The COVID-19 pandemic demonstrated the immediate and long-term impacts that poor health has on people and the economy. The UK medical science sector led the fight against this threat and the resulting vaccines and treatments were a global triumph.

But we cannot be complacent. We must learn from the pandemic, recognising that it is long-term investment in UK science that facilitated this success.

There will be further threats to our health and economic security, alongside urgent pressures including mental health, cancer and heart disease, and the need to tackle growing health inequalities. We must invest accordingly to protect the nation’s economic and human health.

Now is the time to reassert and deliver on plans to maximise the benefits of medical research to the economy and to people’s lives.

The Academy of Medical Sciences

Association of Medical Research Charities

Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry

British Heart Foundation

Cancer Research UK

LifeArc

Pfizer

The Institute of Cancer Research

UK BioIndustry Association

UK Dementia Research Institute

Wellcome

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