Nicola joined the Life Sciences Minister, George Freeman MP, and key local businesses and academic representatives from the Life Sciences industry, at a high level roundtable event to discuss the UK’s membership of the European Union and the potential impact of the outcome of this crucial vote.
Those attending included innovative life science companies as well as smaller start-ups and the University of Oxford. The group discussed at length the benefits of membership of the EU and how the Oxford cluster in particular gains from our membership and single regulatory framework. Some of these key businesses got their start from European Union funds, and there was a clear consensus that the life sciences sector and UK economy as a whole would benefit from continued membership of the EU.
The group then moved on to discuss other ways in which we can unlock the growth potential of Oxfordshire, for example tax incentives and rewards from entrepreneurship which will undoubtedly help the Oxfordshire science cluster to prosper.
Local infrastructure improvements are also essential to continued growth. Local people know all too well the detrimental impact on lack of housing and transport infrastructure, and these concerns were echoed by these business leaders, alongside Nicola, who know that roads improvement is essential, particularly on the A34, which is regularly cited as a barrier to economic growth in the area.
There is a clear appetite to work together to unlock some of these issues and pave the way for greater economic growth, and Nicola and Andrew Smith have signed a joint letter to the Minister to highlight this and call for further action. In particular, the discussion highlighted the need for greater housing provision for staff throughout life science organisations, along with strong transport and schooling infrastructure; and adequate parking at key science parks, of course alongside improvements to the A34.
Nicola says: Oxfordshire’s economy is truly knowledge based, and there can be no doubt that our high growth science cluster benefits from our membership of the European Union. It is essential that we continue to work with businesses, academia, local Councils and Local Enterprise Partnership to deliver on the infrastructure improvements our area undoubtedly needs.