Boost for Liverpool City
Region science & industry
LIVERPOOL City Region has successfully
bid to be in the next wave of Science and Innovation Audits aimed at boosting
economic growth in the knowledge sector.
The Government's announcement is a shot in the arm for the sector, which
includes the Knowledge Quarter and Paddington Village in Liverpool and one of
the UK's leading science and innovation campuses at Sci Tech Daresbury.
Liverpool City Council will be working with project delivery partners at the
Liverpool City Region Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), the University of
Liverpool and the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) at Daresbury
to exploit synergies and identify collaborations, investments and interventions
to strengthen and attract businesses. Liverpool JMU will also be involved.
The comprehensive mapping exercise will be focused on making the most of 3
"smart specialisation" areas of expertise which have the potential to create
hi-tech jobs and new, internationally significant clusters:-
► Materials chemistry including:- closer collaboration between Unilever's
global research and development facilities and Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG)
hub in Port Sunlight, the University of Liverpool's top rated Chemistry
Department, and the Materials Innovation Factory, a partnership between
► Infection – achieving new intellectual property, spin outs and business
growth from the work of the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, Liverpool
Health Partners, the University of Liverpool and the pharmaceutical firm Seqirus
in tackling infectious diseases
► High performance computing, utilising the supercomputer and expertise
at the Science and Technology Facilities Council Hartree Centre Daresbury (in
partnership with IBM and its "Watson" platform, plus Tech North to drive
cross sector innovation and business growth
Mayor of Liverpool and Chair of Liverpool City Region Combined Authority, Joe
Anderson, said:- "Liverpool City Region and Merseyside has a 1st class
track record in the fields of research and innovation and we have the potential
to be a world leader.
Our Universities are carrying out ground breaking research and educating
tomorrow's workforce, while some of our businesses are global leaders in the
pharmaceutical and household goods sectors.
The Audit will enable us to look at how we can link up different sectors so they
work together to make the most of their expertise and make the maximum impact
from bids for investment.
A good example is Liverpool's Knowledge Quarter, which provides us with a huge
opportunity to attract hi tech businesses which can cluster around the
pioneering work being done in the hospitals, universities and science labs."
Asif Hamid, Interim Chair of the Liverpool City Region LEP said:- "This is
fantastic news for the City Region. The Science and Innovation Audit will
provide a coherent picture of the local innovation strengths and assets and
highlight the important contribution that science and research excellence can
make to an effective Industrial Strategy and contribute to the ongoing
development of the Northern Powerhouse."
Welcoming the announcement, Dr.Jon Hague, Chair of the LEP Innovation Board and
Vice President Operations and Open Innovation for Unilever Global R&D, said:-
"The LCR+ Audit will accelerate the Innovation Board's work to commercialise
the City Region's distinctive scientific, industrial and innovation assets and
capabilities, and maximize cluster development and economic growth in areas
where we have genuinely world-leading potential, notably Materials Chemistry,
Infectious Diseases, plus High Performance Computing and Cognitive Computing.
What makes this particularly exciting is both the level of direct private sector
involvement in the process, e.g. by Unilever, IBM and Seqiris, plus what the
close collaboration with leading bodies across the North and beyond, such as the
Centre for Process Innovation (CPI) Catapult, could lead to."
The audit is expected to begin in the new year and be completed by spring 2017.
Chancellor takes up
CIOT Institutes' proposal for fewer Budgets
THE Chartered Institute of Taxation (CIOT)
has welcomed the Chancellor's announcement that the Government will be reverting
to a single annual fiscal event. The CIOT, along with the Institute for
Government (IfG) and Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS), had called for this
move in an open letter to the Chancellor in September. The letter contained some
early recommendations from a project the three organisations are undertaking to
look at how to improve Tax policy making. This will lead to a full report in
CIOT President Bill Dodwell commented:- "This is a welcome move from the
Chancellor. Tax change is one of the greatest causes of Tax complexity, and
having two major fiscal events a year encourages government to keep fiddling
about with the system.
No other major economic power feels the need for 2 big sets of Tax and
spending changes each year. The Chancellor has sensibly acknowledged that doing
less will enable HMRC and the Treasury to put more time and effort into making
sure the changes they do make are effective and well targeted."
The relevant part of the letter, signed jointly by Bill Dodwell for CIOT, IFS
Director Paul Johnson and IfG Director Bronwen Maddox, read:- "Return to a
Single Fiscal Event. The last 2 decades have seen a proliferation of measures in
Budgets and very long finance bills become the norm. In effect, we now have a
March Budget and a November / December Budget.
The time has come to revert to one principal fiscal policy event a year (while
recognising there may still be a need for technical changes at other times of
the year). Reducing the frequency of new significant changes of direction would
release resource for better consultation, produce higher quality legislation and
more effective implementation, make life simpler for taxpayers, and potentially
increase the impact of measures concluded upon. We also think that Budgets
should return to being principally a vehicle to announce revenue measures,
rather than spending or other policy changes."
Cautious welcomes for the
package of measures designed to help low earners
THE Low Incomes Tax Reform Group (LITRG)
has given a cautious welcome to measures in the Autumn Statement aimed at those
on low incomes.
LITRG Technical Director Robin Williamson commented:- "Headline increases
in the personal allowance do not generally benefit the lower paid as much as the
higher paid. However, the higher benefit awards, reductions in marginal
deduction rates and increases in the living wage also announced today make the
package of changes as a whole more attractive to the lowest earners.
When the personal allowance is increased, those on middle and higher incomes
generally gain more than those on lower incomes. Recipients of means tested
benefits such as Universal Credit benefit still less, because their benefit is
withdrawn as their net income increases. Thus, if (let us assume) the personal
allowance is increased by £1,000, a basic rate taxpayer who did not claim
means tested benefits gains by £200, while a Universal Credit claimant would
gain by only £70 because 65% of their Universal Credit would be clawed back.
(The same does not apply to Tax Credit claimants whose credit is assessed on the
basis of their gross, rather than net of Tax, income.)
Obviously, people whose incomes are so low that they are not subject to Tax at
all see no benefit from increases in the Tax threshold, so other ways must be
found of helping them financially. The increase in the national living wage from
£7.20 to £7.50 an hour from next April is of course welcome, although smaller
employers must be given plenty of warning about changes to the whole suite of
rates for the national minimum wage and that those new rates also apply from
next April, as they will normally expect rises to happen in October and will
therefore have to prepare more speedily than they would otherwise.
The reduction of the Universal Credit taper rate on earned income from 65% to
63% is a small step in the right direction, in that it not only increases the
Universal Credit received by the claimant, it also reduces the disincentive
faced by those on high marginal deduction rates to make financial progress
through work. If the Government finds itself with more to invest in encouraging
work and in work progression among the low paid, they would do well to consider
reversing earlier cuts to the work allowance, the main work incentive element in
Another way of assisting those on incomes below the Tax threshold would be by
raising the personal threshold for NIC to a sum closer to the personal
allowance, while maintaining the lower earnings limit; the point on the income
scale at which workers become entitled to a national insurance record; at the