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This content is hosted by Agri-TechE as part of its service to its members. The views and opinions expressed are those of the individual/organisation that supplied the content and not those of Agri-TechE or its employees.

Taskforce for Innovation, Growth and Regulatory Reform: boosting jobs and levelling up through better regulation to promote the growth sectors of the future

The Taskforce on Innovation, Growth and Regulatory Reform (TIGRR) has today (16th June) reported its recommendations to the Prime Minister on how the UK can reshape regulation and seize new opportunities from Brexit.

Earlier this year, the Prime Minister asked former ministers Sir Iain Duncan Smith MP, Theresa Villiers MP, and George Freeman MP to identify how the UK can take advantage of its new-found regulatory freedoms and stimulate growth, innovation and competition across the economy and level up across the United Kingdom.

The report sets out over 100 recommendations, identifying specific high-growth opportunities reflecting on feedback from over 75 industry meetings and roundtables. It demonstrates how, with ambition and vision on the part of the Government, the UK can deliver on the promises of Brexit without abandoning our high standards – unlocking growth and investment in technology to help level up the country.

The report sets out a new framework for regulation based on a UK common law approach: replacing the slow, bureaucratic and EU process reliant on negotiations between 27 countries.

Free to set its own rules, the MPs propose that the UK adopt a bold new regulatory framework based on a new ‘Proportionality Principle’, agile, digital regulatory innovation, and new duties on regulators to consider the impact of their rules on UK competitiveness and productivity.

The 120-page Report sets out significant immediate economic opportunities for the UK to lead and set the international standard in areas such as pension investment, data, and clinical trials. Key proposals include:

  • Regulatory reform to allow pension schemes to invest in innovative start-up and scale-up businesses which could unlock over £100bn of investment in the high growth high tech sectors of the future, whilst still maintaining prudent protections and safeguards.
  • Replacing GDPR with a UK Data Protections Framework with enhanced rights and controls for consumers and is more proportionate for charities, smaller businesses to free small businesses from some of the 80+ working hours that around half of them report spending to sustain GDPR compliance.
  • Building on the UK success with the Covid vaccine to boost UK clinical trials – replacing the EU Clinical Trails Directive with a new UK Trials Framework built on the UK Covid trials. This will be a major boost to the UK clinical trials sector – a market worth £7bn – the second biggest in the world – that already supports more than 47,000 UK jobs – increasing those benefits and spreading them more evenly across the country.

Sir Iain Duncan Smith MP said: “Now that the UK has left the EU it is important to change our approach to regulation which reflects the needs of the UK. This report shows the way ahead with the move the proportionality principle setting a more flexible and balanced approach to future regulations and changes to existing regulations. Importantly this will help new markets develop, as well as releasing significant amounts of capital from existing successful markets to help level up the UK post the pandemic.”

George Freeman MP said: “The pace of technological innovation is creating real opportunities for the UK: but too often we lead the science but fail to commercialise in the UK. We now have an opportunity to tackle that by setting the new regulatory standards key to investor and consumer confidence in new high growth sectors: from nutraceuticals to Ai, digital health and new fuels like hydrogen. This isn’t about scrapping our commitment to high agri-environmental standards or workers rights: it about establishing UK leadership in more agile, digital and evidence-based regulation for global UK leadership. The ten high growth sectors we have identified can all deliver serious growth for post-COVID recovery: for all parts of the UK.”

Theresa Villiers MP said: “Taking back control over making our own laws means we can adapt regulation to reflect our national interest. We can adopt a better, more targeted, more proportionate approach because decisions on our regulations are no longer dependent on lengthy negotiations and compromises with 27 other countries. We must use this new freedom as an opportunity to get ahead in the high growth, high tech, sectors of the future. This report provides a blueprint for how we can do this, including unlocking billions of pounds of investment in start-up businesses and innovative technology.”

The recommendations in this report demonstrate the huge opportunities the UK has with its new-found powers to create our own laws, to lead globally on standards, and foster an approach which ensures that regulatory systems are fit for the economy of the future and have the agility to adapt to changing technology. Facilitating competition and new market entrants should be at the heart of our approach to regulation.

 Sir John Bell said: “The UK Covid Recovery Trial & shows what the UK can do when it is free to move at pace.

“We were only able to do this because of the UK Life Science Strategy Reforms of 2011-16.

“Medicine is changing fast: genomics & digital health are transforming healthcare. As this Report sets out – the UK has a huge opportunity.  We need to grasp it.  Or risk falling behind.”