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Growth and the UK

There is a never a time when a business can just sit back and rest on its laurels – no matter how successful.

Standing still is the death knell of your business and so it is vitally important to have plans and ambitions to keep your business moving and growing.

While there remains uncertainty in the air over the fortunes of UK plc, it is important to look for opportunities, trends and repurposing ways in which to develop your business.

Enhancing your business has the prospect of having a  knock-on effect to those businesses you work with as well, improving the sector you are in.

As businesses look to grow, the UK Economic Outlook report published by analysts PwC this month (November 2018), paints a realistic picture of the UK economy, which may not be the most rosiest of forecasts, but it does have some positive analysis.

The authors note: “Our central estimate is that average UK growth may remain relatively subdued, at around 1.75 per cent per annum in the 2020s, allowing for the effects of an ageing population.

 “But there is scope for government, working with business, to boost UK growth to 2 per cent or more by promoting Artificial Intelligence and other new technologies, reforming tax and regulation to support productivity growth, encouraging greater participation in the labour force by older workers, and retaining an open approach to global trade after Brexit.”

For us, the notion that new technologies including Artificial Intelligence can play a significant role in the UK’s growth makes encouraging reading for us at Sci-Tech Daresbury, given many of the businesses on the campus are in these sectors.

Other sectors on the campus – Life Sciences and Engineering – are also growing and making a significant impact on the UK economy.

In May, the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy, revealed record growth for the UK’s health and life sciences sectors. New research showed it is worth over £70 billion to the economy and provide jobs for almost 241,000 people across the country.

It also noted that SMEs account for 82 per cent of businesses and 24 per cent of all UK life sciences employment, while last year, the UK received the highest level of life science foreign direct investment projects in Europe – the highest in seven years.

Engineering is also showing impressive numbers on the back of a report published by Engineering UK, which draws on figures from 2015-16.

Engineering enterprises analysis by the Office of National Statistics for Engineering UK indicates that almost 27 per cent (687,575) of the 2.55 million registered enterprises in the UK in 2016 were in the engineering sector, representing a 5.6 per cent growth in terms of the number of enterprises over the previous year.

Moreover, this year-on-year growth was observed across all industries within the engineering footprint. Reflecting the growing trend in digitalisation, the information and communication industry saw the largest increase in the number of engineering enterprises, growing by 7.6 per cent in that year and by  40.8 per cent over the last five-year period.

In all engineering related industries, there is a trend towards increased automation and connectivity. Illustrative of this is the tremendous growth observed in information and communication, with turnover generated from the industry reaching £198 billion in 2016, a 23.5 per cent increase from 2011 levels.

Meanwhile, the big data sector continues to grow. It is forecast to contribute £241 billion to UK GDP by 2020 and to create 157,000 new jobs. Going ahead, strong growth is also expected across the architecture and engineering job family, with 3D printing, resource-efficient sustainable production and robotics all seen as strong drivers.

This boom is bringing increased financial growth to the sector and also increasing the demand for skilled labour, the latter potentially being the biggest challenge facing all sectors in the UK.

Overall, it is estimated the engineering sector generated 25 per cent of the UK’s total GDP in 2015 (£420.5 billion).

Sci-Tech Daresbury is playing its part in supporting growth in the UK as a study, based on the most recent data available (2014/15) measuring the economic and wider impact, revealed that the campus is worth an estimated £163m to the national economy.

Can we include information on the sales growth rates of Sci-Tech Daresbury companies from our last campus survey found here- https://www.sci-techdaresbury.com/another-year-growth-sci-tech-daresbury/

This is expected to increase as Sci-Tech Daresbury is not standing still with its own growth strategy with plans to open a new 42,000 sq ft grade A office complex, which is due to be completed in 2020.

Project Violet will see the construction of two buildings providing 12,000 sq ft each and one building providing 18,000 sq ft.

The project will cost close to £12m and is funded using the Enterprise Zone retained business rates and investment from the site’s joint venture partners; developers Langtree, the Science and Technology Facilities Council and Halton Borough Council.

Project Violet follows the recent investment and the opening of the £20m Techspace One and Techspace Two buildings in 2017.