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Knowledge Quarter chief calls for Autumn Statement research investment

Commitment to further research investment in the forthcoming Autumn Statement would boost Knowledge Quarter Liverpool’s reputation and talent pool, according to its chief executive.

With just one week to go until new Chancellor Philip Hammond outlines plans for government spending on 23 November, Colin Sinclair is among the North West business leaders hoping for a positive announcement.

As the development of Liverpool’s £2 billion Knowledge Quarter district continues to gather pace, he tells Move Commercial: “I would like to see the Chancellor confirm the government’s support for continued investment in research, innovation and enterprise, underpinning their role at the heart of the UK’s long term economic growth.

“By creating a sustainable, world class skills base, we can ensure the UK remains a global choice for overseas students and investors.

“Knowledge Quarter Liverpool possesses unique strengths in areas such as infection treatment and materials innovation; a positive programme of increased research investment will allow us to further enhance that reputation and attract and retain the very best talent.”

Property firm Bruntwood, which has projects across the North West, is also hoping for assurances that further investment will be made to help strengthen the North and its growing sectors.

Jessica Bowles, the firm’s director of strategy, says: “We will be looking for a strong commitment to continued investment in the North to drive economic growth.  This is about transport infrastructure but also support for digital, science and tech and skills.

“Devolution goes hand in hand with this so investment is well targeted, leverages the resources of both public and private sector and supports the right priorities to grow city region economies.”

Meanwhile Julia Casimo, partner at John Kerr Chartered Accountants, is calling for more support for businesses to put them in a good position post Brexit.

She outlines tax measures to boost manufacturers and exporters, and also an extension to or an a new scheme to replace Business Premises Renovation Allowance (BPRA) in her hopes for this year’s Autumn Statement.

The BPRA initiative, which provides tax breaks for those converting or renovating some unused qualifying business premises, is currently due to come to end in spring 2017.