Ministers have been informed that if the UK wants to become a leading force in the field of science, it will require an increase in laboratory space.
According to two top property companies, in order to reach Rishi Sunak’s goal of becoming a science powerhouse, the UK must focus on constructing additional laboratory space, enhancing transportation infrastructure, and providing more tax incentives. These suggestions were made in anticipation of the autumn statement.
According to a recent report from British Land and Savills, two prominent property organizations in the UK, there is a high demand for laboratories in the country. In Cambridge and London, lab vacancy rates are as low as 1%, while in Oxford, they are at 7%.
In these regions, there are plans for the construction of 11.6 million square feet of laboratories that are either awaiting approval or are in progress and need to be expedited.
Simon Carter, the CEO of British Land, stated that although there is a demand, the UK is falling behind the more established markets in the US.
According to the speaker, Boston, San Francisco, San Diego, and New York collectively have 113 million square feet of laboratory space, which is over 20 times more than the amount found in the UK’s Golden Triangle of London, Oxford, and Cambridge.
Projects awaiting the green light include Oxpens in the centre of Oxford, expansion of university labs at West Cambridge and a site around the Royal London hospital in east London, while the government has halted contentious plans for a new life sciences hub in Royal Street in London, which included the demolition of two postwar buildings near Waterloo.
The report discovered that while the construction in Oxford and Cambridge will increase the amount of laboratory space by 5.2% annually, Boston is expected to see a larger increase of 8.9% per year.
According to the report, if the life sciences communities in Cambridge, Oxford, and London were on par with those in the US, there would be an increase of 67,000 jobs requiring advanced skills and offering high salaries by 2035. Additionally, there would be an annual economic output increase of £4 billion and an extra £1.1 billion in tax revenue.
I have finished projects such as Regent’s Place by British Land in London, which houses tenants like Relation Therapeutics that utilizes machine learning to assist in drug research.
The developer completed the construction of modular laboratories in south London in just nine months. Across the Thames, Canary Wharf Group has expressed interest in creating a life sciences hub and has received approval to construct a 23-story building with 60% designated for laboratory use. Their aim is to attract small biotech companies.
Carter has written a letter to government officials outlining a five-point strategy to support and advance the life sciences industry in the UK. This comes ahead of the upcoming autumn statement, which is expected to prioritize manufacturing, science, and investment.
He implored the government to establish specific goals for increasing economic growth in Britain’s life sciences industry by at least 25% and to double the amount of foreign investment by 2035.
Real estate companies are urging Chancellor Jeremy Hunt to make a complete commitment to constructing the new east-west railway that will connect Oxford and Cambridge. They argue that efficient transportation connections are crucial for promoting growth.
They suggest utilizing development corporations to expedite planning and implementation. They also encouraged Hunt to broaden research and development tax credits to cover expenses for laboratory space.
In conclusion, it is suggested that funds allocated for adult education and skill development should be given to local authorities to establish targeted training and job placement initiatives.