Glasgow to host Silicon Valley style £100m ‘innovation accelerator’
Glasgow will be home to a £100m Silicon Valley-style ‘innovation accelerator’ as part of the UK Government’s levelling up agenda, it was revealed today in a new white paper.
The city by the Clyde is in line for the investment package to support high quality jobs and regional economic regeneration.
Levelling up secretary Michael Gove invited the First Ministers of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to get behind the plans to expand opportunities and boost all parts of the UK.
The Glasgow city region will be one of three locations to host an innovation accelerator, with Manchester and the West Midlands earmarked as the other two.
They will be modelled along the lines of Stanford-Silicon Valley and MIT-Greater Boston clusters in the US, combining research excellence with cutting-edge industry in a city-region.
The announcement comes at a difficult time for prime minister Boris Johnson who has been embroiled in the ‘partygate’ scandal and whose ministry is the focus of a police investigation.
Levelling up, a campaigning slogan adopted in 2019 as part of the Conservative Party manifesto, has since struggled to make an impact as the country recovers from Covid.
Johnson said: “From day one, the defining mission of this government has been to level up this country, to break the link between geography and destiny so that no matter where you live you have access to the same opportunities.
“The challenges we face have been embedded over generations and cannot be dug out overnight, but this White Paper is the next crucial step.
“It is a vision for the future that will see public spending on R&D increased in every part of the country; transport connectivity improving; faster broadband in every community; life expectancies rising; violent crime falling; schools improving; and private sector investment being unleashed.
“It is the most comprehensive, ambitious plan of its kind that this country has ever seen and it will ensure that the government continues to rise to the challenge and deliver for the people of the UK.”
Levelling up secretary Michael Gove said: “The United Kingdom is an unparalleled success story with one of the world’s biggest and most dynamic economies.
“But not everyone shares equally in the UK’s success. Great cities like Glasgow, Belfast, Swansea and Manchester, and proud towns from Aberystwyth to Armagh, to Bangor and Yeovil, have huge potential but contain inequalities which hold too many back.
“Our ambitious plan to unite and level up the whole UK seeks to end that historic injustice and call time on the postcode lottery.
“We will only succeed if all layers of government – UK, devolved, and local – work together.
“We have seen through the success of the vaccine roll-out what we can achieve when we pull together. United, there is no challenge we cannot meet.”
The white paper contains 12 core ‘missions’ which will seek to eliminate the ‘postcode lottery’ regional inequalities across the UK.
They include closing the gap between the UK’s highest and lowest performing cities, improving educational attainment, narrowing the gap on life expectancy and equalising transport and connectivity.
The white paper also recognises the need to work with devolved administrations ‘collaboratively’ in a bid to ensure the plans are served ‘jointly’ by the governments.
Scottish Secretary Alister Jack said: “I welcome the publication of the Levelling Up White Paper and urge the Scottish Government and local partners to work closely with us improving lives across Scotland.
“Initiatives such as the Glasgow City-Region becoming an Innovation Accelerator, unlocking access to a share of £100 million of new funding, will help Scotland continue its vital role in keeping the UK at the forefront of global science and research.
“Thanks to locally led partnerships working closely with the UK Government, the region will become a major innovation cluster delivering high end jobs. This, along with the UK Government’s commitment to invest £20 billion research and development budget outside the Greater South East of England, is great news for Scotland and the wider UK as we deliver on our levelling up commitments.”