A new report from British Land and Savills suggests that life sciences could add an additional £4 bn (€4.8 bn) to the UK economy, while setting out a series of recommendations to accelerate asset delivery.
'Accelerating innovation: A five-point plan to boost life sciences real estate' recognises the vital role of real estate in supporting the government’s ambitions of becoming a global life sciences leader and offers a blueprint for unlocking growth in the sector.
It finds there is a severe shortage of real estate space to accommodate both current and predicted demand, with vacancy rates for fitted laboratory space in the Golden Triangle of just 1% in Cambridge and London and 7% in Oxford.
The report highlights that if the life sciences markets within the Golden Triangle matched the growth seen in leading markets in the US, by 2035, it would generate 67,000 more jobs, £4 bn in additional gross value added (GVA) per year and an extra £1.1 bn per year in tax revenue to fund public services.
Accelerating the growth of R&D facilities outside the Golden Triangle to match its growth rate would result in 14,500 more well paid jobs across the country by 2035, £870 mln per year in additional GVA and an extra £235 mln per year in tax revenue.
This presents a considerable opportunity for the UK to position itself as an attractive and effective destination for global life sciences investment, provided it establishes the proper ecosystem for growth.
British Land and Savills have set out five recommendations that would help deliver growth quickly, urging the government to set ambitious growth targets for the sector, including growing GVA by at least 25% and doubling the value of inward foreign direct investment by 2035.
The report also asks authorities to prioritise infrastructure to support the growth of clusters, including a commitment to build the East West Rail, designate development corporations to support innovation-led regeneration in economic growth corridors, and use the tax system to support life sciences real estate growth by expanding R&D tax credits to include relief for capital expenditure on laboratory space.
Simon Carter, chief executive at British Land, said: 'There should be no limit to the ambitions of the UK life sciences sector. We have the academic strength, a skilled workforce and cutting-edge clusters.
'In order for the UK to become a life sciences world leader, we need to quickly increase the supply of life sciences real estate with the right specifications in the right places.
'Today we’ve recommended five tangible actions to supercharge growth. The potential is huge and we are ready to play our part to grasp the opportunity.'