Boosting research and development in the thriving life sciences industry would deliver up to 12,000 new jobs for London, new figures reveal

  • Hitting the government’s target of 2.4% of GDP being devoted to research and development by 2027 could generate an extra £480m for the economy in London.
  • London set to be one of the top beneficiaries of jobs and growth.
  • Hitting the 2.4% target will generate nearly 6,500 extra jobs in London. But if investment on R&D went up to 3% then an extra 12,000 jobs would be created.

London stands to benefit from a high-quality jobs and growth bonanza over the next decade in its already healthy life sciences sector, according to new research.

Thousands of extra jobs and hundreds of millions of pounds of growth would be added to the region if increases in life science research and development rise in line with government targets, according to research conducted by the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI).

Specifically, around 6,480 extra well-paid, skilled jobs would be created for London with the added R&D, along with more than £480m of extra growth, in 2027 alone.

The capital is predicted to outdo the all other regions of the UK in terms of jobs and growth, the runner-up being the South East with £446m in added growth and around 6,000 extra jobs.

Much of the extra growth would likely come from the centre of London in areas like Westminster, where Takeda UK is based, but also from North and West London, which contain the sites of other large players in the industry like GlaxoSmithKline and Bristol-Myers Squibb Pharmaceuticals.

The life sciences sector is made up of industries like food science, plus plant and veterinary science. But the pharmaceutical industry is the single biggest contributor.

The London figures are projected on the basis that R&D in the region’s life sciences sector will jump from £353m in 2015 to £651m in 2027.

The Government set out in the Budget last year that it would commit to increasing its investment in R&D to 2.4 per cent of Gross Domestic Product by 2027, to help the UK to catch up with the R&D spending of the most advanced economies like Japan, Germany and the United States.

In time, the investment could rise to 3 per cent of GDP, which the ABPI research shows if met by 2027 would create an even greater boom in jobs.

In this scenario, nearly 12,000 extra high quality jobs will be created in London (11,811), with a sizeable £880m of growth added to the capital.

On a nationwide level, the ABPI research suggests that the extra R&D investment in the pharmaceutical sector brought about by the 2.4 per cent GDP target would create tens of thousands of jobs in the UK overall in 2027 (24,000) and boost growth by nearly £1.8bn.

If R&D investment rises to 3 per cent, the gains will be even more bountiful, with the pharmaceutical sector creating almost 44,000 jobs, bringing in well over £3bn for the UK economy – at £3.27bn.

Dr Richard Torbett from ABPI said: “This research underlines why increasing the amount that government and industry spends on innovation is so important. Industries like pharmaceuticals have the potential to generate the jobs of tomorrow, as well as securing the thousands of jobs they provide in London today.

“But it’s not just about jobs and the economy. Our scientists work hand-in-hand with the NHS to provide medicines which save and improve millions of lives in this country, around the world and in communities in this region.

“By investing in the life sciences like pharmacy we can be part of the battle against illnesses that continue to blight so many lives – while also helping to deliver jobs and prosperity in regions like London and across Britain.”

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