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Last Wednesday George Osborne delivered his latest Budget statement. As expected, the overall tone of the Budget continued that set at last July’s Budget and reinforced again in November at the Autumn Statement to evolve the UK to a higher wage, lower tax and lower welfare economy. For the main implications and announcements of relevance to the UK’s biosciences sector, do read our blog in full here.

It was positive to see the emphasis given to supporting British enterprise to support UK growth in the Budget statement. Reductions in the rates of Corporation Tax and Capital Gains Tax are both welcome and the move to extend Entrepreneurs Relief to longer term external investors responds to calls made by the BIA for the government to ensure reliefs effectively support high risk entrepreneurial companies that are the lifeblood of the UK’s life sciences sector.

It was disappointing not to see more on innovation policy in last week’s announcements. We understand more is to follow from the forthcoming National Innovation Plan and the BIA will continue to work with government on behalf of its members to ensure innovation policy takes the central position it deserves as a driver for the 21st century UK economy.

You can access the full documentation associated with Budget 2016 here.

Elsewhere last week, I was delighted to be able to announce the final figure raised for our charity of the year JDRF, the type 1 diabetes charity, at January’s Gala Dinner. In total over £30,000 was raised through the silent auction and donations throughout the night. It is fantastic to see that our members have really shown their support to such a worthy cause. Type 1 diabetes affects thousands of people in the UK and many of our members are actively involved in medical research to develop new treatments to support those living with type 1. You can read more about the partnership in this guest blog from Clare McVicker, Director of Research Advocacy at JDRF in the UK.

In another development for the sector, announced last Wednesday, UK-listed BIA members Vectura and Skyepharma announced their plans to merge. The creation of this new company is a great addition to the biotech ecosystem, building the UK’s offering of midsized companies – an essential component on our track to creating the world’s third global biotech cluster. Congratulations to both teams.

Also on policy, the Europe debate continues to move and, following our written submission, I will be giving evidence tomorrow as part of the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee inquiry into the impact of EU regulation on UK life sciences. Updates to follow next week.

For those of you preparing to head to Stockholm at the beginning of April for BIO-Europe Spring, do sign up to our webinar taking place tomorrow. I’ll be joining forces with Harriet Fear, Mike Barrett and Lucy Robertshaw to give you an outline of the main networking events, the UK delegation activities, sessions/keynotes and details on some of the main activities happening throughout the three days so you can plan your time effectively.

Finally, one for companies looking to scale up – ELITE are looking for the next cohort of companies to join at the end of April 2016. Delivered by London Stock Exchange in partnership with Imperial College Business School, ELITE enhances the growth prospects of member companies through a unique package of education, business support and access to investors. More information is available from this factsheet if of interest.

Newscast will be back next Tuesday following the bank holiday, so until then, enjoy the Easter break.