BIA Update | 22 August 2022

After what feels like aeons on the campaign trail, we are only two weeks away from a conclusion to the Conservative Party leadership race. Sir Graham Brady will announce the winner of the head-to-head contest between Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss and, just like that, the UK will have a new Prime Minister.

Despite the former Chancellor’s camp insisting that it is all still to play for and that their man is in with a shout, the political betting markets have already called it for Truss. The Foreign Secretary spent the weekend with key aides at her grace and favour mansion, Chevening planning which ministers to appoint and what policies to pursue.

During the Boris Johnson years, government worked in the closest partnership with our industry on the response to COVID-19. Out of that intense collaboration was born the Life Sciences Vision, which has set out a roadmap for the UK to become a life sciences superpower. As part of the Vision, Kwasi Kwarteng the Business Secretary (and hotly tipped as Chancellor of the Exchequer in a Truss government) accepted the BIA’s proposal to establish a Scale-up Taskforce. The Taskforce has recommended ways of driving investment (especially from institutional investors such as pension funds) into growing innovative life sciences businesses.  

A Comprehensive Spending Review (CSR) was completed by the previous government, with a very positive settlement for life sciences and innovation. Then Russia invaded Ukraine, inflation reared its long-dormant head, and the cost-of-living crisis broke. The incoming government will have to tackle a very different set of challenges than the CSR envisaged. If Liz Truss, who has made tax cuts a central plank of her leadership campaign, is handed the keys to Number 10, an emergency budget is pencilled in for 21 September.

The BIA works with government and opposition politicians constantly to build relationships and advocate for policies that support the growth of innovative biotech businesses in the UK. We will work with the Prime Minister and their new ministerial team to ensure that the great progress that was made in developing the Life Sciences Vision and the Scale-up Taskforce is carried forward by the new government.

To explore what all this means for life sciences, we are holding a webinar on Thursday 15 September 12.30-13.30 where I will be joined by a panel of guests to discuss the new government, its people and policies and their effect on biotech. I do hope you will be able to join us.

Nicky Edwards headshot


Nicky Edwards

Director of External Affairs
BioIndustry Association (BIA)

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