Positive and negative industry responses have surfaced regarding Chancellor George Osborne's budget, from the Ethical Medicines Industry Group (EMIG), the BioIndustry Association (BIA) and the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP). The budget includes a $90.9 million establishment of a large-scale cell therapy manufacturing center, an increase in the R&D Tax Credit from 11% to 14.5%, and $175.1 million over five years for doctoral training centers.
EMIG chairman Leslie Galloway said, “EMIG is pleased to see the increased tax credit for SMEs, which are central to the U.K.’s research base. The Cell Therapy Catapult also will help drive innovation in U.K. biosciences. The government needs to continue to support SMEs in the U.K. pharmaceutical sector.”
BIA welcomed the $90.9 million investment in a U.K. cell therapy manufacturing center to be managed by the Cell Therapy Catapult. The center was called for by the BIA in its budget submission and recommended in the House of Lords Science and Technology Committee regenerative medicines report.
Steve Bates, BIA CEO, said, "The center will help establish the U.K. as global center for cell therapy manufacturing. This will ensure that this high-value manufacturing industry of the future will reside in the U.K. and so will the value and jobs created by it. For innovative equity-backed bioscience companies, access to finance remains key, and the R&D Tax Credit regime is the bedrock of government support. Increasing the rate of payable credit is commendable and shows serious support for innovators."
Maureen Baker, chair of the RCGP, said, “The Chancellor's budget is yet another blow for patients and for general practice. We are really disappointed that another opportunity to address the massive funding gap in general practice has come and gone. There are over 340 million consultations in general practice per year—around 90% of all patient contacts in the NHS. GPs are wilting under the pressure of trying to meet the demands of a growing and aging population while the share of government funding general practice receives is at an all-time low of 8.39%.”
She continued, "With greater investment in general practice, we could provide more appointments, a wider range of services and improved continuity of care, as well as providing even greater value for money to the NHS. If the government is serious about alleviating pressures on hospitals and providing more care in the community, it must act now and urgently put plans in place to increase investment in general practice to 11% of the NHS budget by 2017.”