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  • Writer's pictureResPublica

The Government’s focus on Science, Innovation, and Technology can turbocharge the East of England

Following the Prime Minister’s Cabinet reshuffle, the Eastern Powerhouse welcomes the new focus on science, innovation, and technology from Government, with the new Departments created to enhance growth opportunities in these key industries.


Last week, with the support of 22 MPs, the Eastern Powerhouse wrote to the Prime Minister to ask for parity of recognition with other similar regional organisations. The letter urged the Prime Minister to take a strategic approach to the region so that it can realise its full potential.


Calling for an Independent Economic Review and a Spatial Analysis for the East of England, the letter highlighted the economic dividends that can accrue to the whole of the country, if the Government were to take steps to tap the significant potential of the East. The Eastern Powerhouse, a business-led organisation, stated that the region can deliver the highest rises in growth and productivity for the least amount of investment, relative to other regions.

The East of England is already a 'world-leading' region for a number of sectors, recognised for its assets in:


  • Life sciences and the growing markets of drug discovery and development, genomics, and medical technology or medtech.

  • Agritech, covering plant breeding and microbial research, agronomy, and robotics.

  • Advanced materials and manufacturing in aerospace and defence, automotive, construction, and offshore renewable energy industries, and

  • Information and communications technology (ICT), with globally influential businesses like ARM Holdings, and emerging business clusters in Norwich and Ipswich.


As the UK’s capital of science, technology, and energy, no region is better placed to drive the future economy of the UK than the East of England, and the Eastern Powerhouse will write to the newly appointed ministers, Grant Shapps, Michelle Donelan, and Kemi Badenoch to offer our support in creating policies that benefit the East and therefore, the UK as a whole.


The Eastern Powerhouse also welcome George Freeman’s appointment as the first Minister of Science in the new Department of Science, Innovation and Technology.


James Palmer, Chair of the Eastern Powerhouse Chair said:


“The East is best placed to deliver new growth in the key areas of renewable energy, science and technology. Government has recognised the importance of those industries by creating departments specifically focused on building on the opportunities that they offer. We will urge Government to create policies that are focused on what can be achieved here in the East of England.”


The UK’s industrial strategy has been characterised by policies that are too often prematurely dropped or rolled back. The latest change of course must provide a stable policy platform that is forward-looking, long-term, and enables far better decision making at the local and regional level. This will give confidence to businesses and investors.


Phillip Blond, Director of the Eastern Powerhouse, said:


“The UK has an opportunity to focus on the country’s key economic assets that are manifestly present in the East, to meet looming societal challenges, and drive productivity. The missing piece in the UK’s productivity puzzle has been the inability to focus and harness institutional arrangements at the regional level, to lever investment, and to connect areas of opportunity and potential. With the right level of support the East of England can lead the regional growth agenda.”

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