Brexit freedoms will see Britain create next Silicon Valley, says Hunt

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Sir Patrick Vallance, the Government’s Chief Scientific Advisor who featured regularly on TV screens during the Covid crisis, is to draw up new regulations designed to promote innovation and replace burdensome red-tape from Brussels.

Leading figures from the UK’s high-tech industries will assist him to ensure Britain can lead the world in digital technology, green industries, life sciences, advanced manufacturing and the creative industries.

Mr Hunt said: “I want British firms to lead the world in turning fantastic science into new products and services – and we need to make sure government is doing everything we can to encourage innovation and competition.

“We have already set out how we will back our formidable financial services sector to unlock private investment in new industries, and we will show the same ambition in other high-growth sectors to ensure that future Silicon Valleys are based here in the UK.

“The countries that secure leadership in new technologies will lead the world, enjoying unparalleled growth, security and prosperity for decades to come – and it is our job to ensure the UK is able to fully reap the rewards.

“Sir Patrick and his team will be critical as we harness every tool at our disposal to create the industries and jobs of the future, which will deliver long-lasting benefits for local communities across the UK.”

It’s the latest in a series of Brexit reforms to grow the economy, after the Chancellor last week announced that hundreds of pages of EU laws regulating financial services industries will be repealed and replaced.

Tech experts recruited to back the initiative include Matt Clifford, Chair of the new Advanced Research and Invention Agency, and Priya Lakhani OBE, a member of the AI Council, who will support work to harness new digital technology such as artificial intelligence.

Sir John Bell, who is on Genomics England’s board of directors, and Camilla Fleetcroft, Eclevar UK’s Vice-President of Clinical and Regulatory Affairs, will work on cultivating the life sciences sector and help drive the next generation of discoveries such as the development of new vaccines and drugs.

Jane Toogood, Chief Executive of Catalyst Technologies at Johnson Matthey, will take forward work on building green industries like hydrogen and battery development.

Ministers say the UK is already one of the best places in the world to invest, with more than £10 billion committed to projects in 2021. However, other countries are rapidly reforming their rules to attract fresh investment, making it essential that the UK does the same.

Business Secretary Grant Shapps said: “Economic growth and raising productivity is critical if we are to improve the standards of living for all Brits. One of the most sure-fire ways to deliver both is betting big on innovation, which is exactly what we intend to do.

“Backed by this fierce new team of advisers, Sir Patrick Vallance will lead the charge alongside industry to supercharge growth in some of the world’s most exciting growing technologies, turning the UK’s natural strengths into pillars for long-term growth.”

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