Trade Secretary, Kemi Badenoch, visited Wales on Monday and heralded Welsh companies as ‘critical’ to the UK’s life sciences sector. She backed them to play a pivotal role in the UK Government’s growth plans.
Badenoch hosted the Board of Trade in Cardiff where she launched the Board’s report on Life Sciences, which sets out the opportunities the sector offers for economic growth across all the UK’s nations and regions. Life sciences is one of five growth industries named by the Chancellor when he set out plans to change EU regulations in his Autumn Statement earlier this month.
The UK directly employs more than a quarter of a million people in the sector, with 50% of jobs located outside of London, East of England and the South East. Wales is known as a hotspot for Life Sciences companies employing more than 12,000 people and generating £2.5bn in turnover across 270 sites, an important contribution to the UK’s economy.
The Board of Trade’s report ‘Life Sciences: What’s next for this top UK sector?’ called on the Department for International Trade (DIT) to further support the sector by:
- Redoubling efforts to encourage Research & development and manufacturing
- Targeting lucrative markets by utilising DIT’s international footprint
- Support scaling up and levelling up across the UK to ensure that businesses across regions and nations have access to export support.
The Trade Secretary also announces twenty-eight leading business figures as the first Export Champions for Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, who will provide advice to UK businesses on how to break into international markets. Each Champion has been selected because they have a successful international trade track record.
President of the Board of Trade and Trade Secretary Kemi Badenoch said: “Whether it is inventing new ways to combat cancer, diagnose disease or simplify surgery, Wales is critical to our life sciences sector.
“Three quarters of our life sciences market is exporting to the world and with a 12,000 strong workforce covering everything from PPE production to tissue regeneration, Wales is fuelling the UK’s position as a science superpower.
“This new report from the Board of Trade shows why our support to SMEs across the country to export is so important and why we are committed to ensuring the UK is a world-leading destination for life sciences investment.”