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The Progressive Policy Think Tank

A lost decade

Successive governments have lauded the life sciences as a pillar of the UK economy in recent years. David Cameron talked about “a jewel in the crown”. Theresa May set out her ambition to make Britain “the global go-to place for scientists, innovators and tech investors”. And Boris Johnson has already committed to ‘supercharge’ UK science following Brexit.

There is optimism around the potential for growth in the industry – driven in no small part by a uniquely exciting moment for scientific advances.

However, new IPPR analysis shows that we have had a lost decade that has left one of our strongest sectors stagnating, even before accounting for its significant vulnerability to an unmanaged, no-deal Brexit.

In this briefing we set out key tests for policymakers looking to take the requisite steps to mitigate Brexit, as part of a strategy to support and invest in our life sciences industry.