Rishi Sunak has set out his plans to make the UK a “science and technology superpower” on the eve of the Birmingham Tory leadership hustings.
Sunak tonight said he would increase annual public spending on Research and Development to £20bn, up from around £15bn, by 2024-25 if made Prime Minister.
He also vowed to create a multi-billion pound science grant scheme for universities and researchers, after the UK was shut out of the EU’s Horizon programme, and to slash red tape to “cut the amount of time it takes for new medicines to become available to the NHS”.
One of Boris Johnson’s goals post-Brexit was to make the UK a “science superpower”, however major figures like billionaire businessman Sir James Dyson have said this aim is in doubt without more government action.
Sunak said: “Science and innovation will be at the heart of my government. I will turbocharge clinical innovation to enhance our medicines research regime, deliver better access to funding and lab space, and ensure that we have access to the very best talent available.”
Tomorrow’s hustings between Sunak and Tory leadership frontrunner Liz Truss will be the third last of the campaign.
Conservative members have until 2 September to cast their votes, with the winner announced on 5 September.
Truss is heavily favoured to win the contest, after leading a series of Tory member polls by 30+ points.
The foreign secretary last night said she would ensure parts of the West Midlands are designated as “low tax zones” to drive investment and deliver the £2bn Midlands Rail Hub, which is a series of improvements to rail connections.
“The West Midlands can play a critical role in a new economic revolution in Britain,” she said.