CBI backs government's R&D investment plans
By PRW Staff
Posted 9 October 2012
Government plans to increase funding for research and development collaboration between colleges and business have been welcomed by employers’ organisations.
John Cridland, director-general of the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), said some of the UK’s most innovative new products were developed through university/business tie-ups.
Extra government funding for such activity, announced by Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne at the Conservative party’s annual conference yesterday, “could make a real difference”, according to Cridland.
“Being at the cutting edge of research and development can help boost exports, attract investment to the UK and drive growth,” he added.
The CBI boss said the Chancellor was “right to remind Britain that there is no real alternative to deficit reduction”, in his speech to Tory faithful in Birmingham.
“This is why business has supported his deficit plans for the last two and a half years, and still does. But this has to go hand-in-hand with dynamic action for growth.
“Towards the end of his speech George Osborne outlined a very important list of growth priorities, including more aviation capacity, investment in renewable energy and shale gas, and a new approach to exploiting Britain's science through industrial policy.”
Businesses would want to see swift action in all these areas, Cridland said.
Osborne also suggested in his speech that employees could give up their rights to things such as flexible working, redundancy payments and recourse to an unfair dismissal tribunal, in exchange for payments of between £2,000 and £50,000.
"The exchange of employment rights for company shares will certainly appeal to some companies but could not apply to all types of business,” said Phillip Law, the British Plastics Federation’s director of industrial and public affairs.
“The planned generous tax regime for shale gas exploration and development is excellent news. For plastics it won't just mean energy it will mean a feed stock for material production. The availability of shale gas to UK industry could be a massive boost to global competitiveness for UK manufacturing,” he added.
“Osborne announced £1bn of new science investment, which on the face of it is good news but it's unclear if this is really new money. There have been cuts in government R&D spending across the board and this could just possibly amount to an element of catching up."
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