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Phillip Hammond issues rallying call 'to commercialise innovation' in the UK

Tom Macaulay | March 23, 2017
The chancellor called for "innovation-friendly regulation" at the launch of a Fourth Industrial Revolution parliamentary group.

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Credit: UK Parliament

Phillip Hammond MP plans to keep every aspect of the technology supply chain in Britain, he announced at the launch of an All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on the Fourth Industrial Revolution yesterday.

The chancellor told the 250 parliamentarians, industry leaders and academics at the event in the House of Commons that others had previously "exploited" the technology invented in the UK, a situation he wants to change. Mr Hammond now wants to "shift the productivity paradigm decisively in our favour".

"I very much look forward to working closely with the group to ensure the government is not missing any of the twists and turns in the progress of this development as sadly we have so often managed to do in the past and to miss out for Britain on big step changes in technology," he said.

The APPG was founded by Alan Mak MP as a forum to ensure emerging technology trends are quickly reflected in legislation, and to shape policy that provides political solutions to the economic and social challenges technology brings. Mr Mak echoed the call of Mr Hammond to ensure the UK profits from its innovation.

"If we want the words invested in Britain, manufactured in Britain, discovered in Britain, made in Britain, to be our hallmarks for the 21st century, commercialisation has to be front and centre of our industrial strategy," said Mr Mak.

Mr Hammond told the audience under the Terrace Pavilion marquee that beyond the grey skies over the river Thames in front of him he envisioned a bright future for the UK tech industry, and that the country could "make sure that we are able to commercialise innovation".

"I won't bother reciting the many inventions and discoveries that we all know came from here, but sadly in the last 100 years or so we've mostly seen developed commercialised exploited taxed elsewhere in the world," he said.

"The challenge is can we put in place the supporting infrastructure to deliver the capital, the talent, the enterprise [and] the regulatory environment which allows the things that are invented here, as Alan said, to be developed here.

"To be innovated, to be commercialised, to be produced here and yes why not since I'm the chancellor ultimately taxed here, that would be very nice thank you very much. That is our challenge.

"The fourth industrial revolution representing a step change in technology and a step change in the way we work, the way things are made, the way value is created, gives us the opportunity to shift the productivity paradigm decisively in our favour. We're leaders in our region, and now we need to make sure we're early adopters, commercialisers, ahead of our competitors."

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