Next 5 years

As the new UK government settles in, what can we expect in the next five years? Analysis of the 2015 Conservative Manifesto indicates the following highlights relevant to UK Photonics and other enabling technology industries.

  • Invest in science and technology, back UK industrial strengths, make Britain the tech centre of Europe
  • Focus on improving productivity, job creation (2 million jobs), growing exports outside EU especially to China and India, practical apprenticeships (3 million)
    • Double support to UK firms selling to China
    • Aim to lead EU in attracting foreign investment
  • Further reduction in overall spending by >1%, greater in some areas than others
  • Maintain 20,700 annual cap on skilled work visas, continue restrictions on foreign students staying to work post degree
  • Seek to ensure UK continues to support world-leading science via Nurse review of Research Councils
  • Highlighted investments
    • £6.9bn to UK research infrastructure to 2021
      • Includes £2.9bn Grand Challenge fund e.g. Square kilometre array)
    • More Catapults (number and timing not indicated)
    • New flagship institutions and centres e.g. Royce Institute for Advanced Materials
    • Treble start-up loans program
    • Train extra 17,500 maths and physics teachers and increase school time on maths.  Additional University Technical Colleges.
    • Introduce national postgraduate loan system for taught masters and PhD courses
  • Focus areas for support specifically mentioned
    • Further resources to Eight Great Technologies- robotics and nanotech highlighted (latter listed in 8 Great with Advanced materials)
    • Innovation in motor industry
    • 5G
    • Energy, including significant expansion in new nuclear and clean gas energy production
    • Life science industry
  • Work with UK partners to address security threats- nuclear, chem, bio, disease and drugs
  • Defence equipment spending at inflation +1% over 5 years, £160bn new military equipment over 10 years (all programmes)

Light, aka Photoincs, is the fastest, lightest weight, technology in the universe and will be critical to enabling progress in many of the above areas.

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