With a Labour party victory across the UK, the UK life sciences industry will be expecting Keir Starmer’s party to make good on a series of promises for growth and expansion as the UK shifts power for the first time in fourteen years.

The UK’s centre left-leaning Labour Party, led by Keir Starmer, has taken control of Parliament, having secured 410 seats over the previous Conservative Party’s 117 seats, a catastrophic loss of 247 seats marking the party’s swift drop from power.

Among the public, it is hoped that the shift may lead to greater political and economic stability in a country that has seen costs rapidly rise alongside a National Health Service that is crumbling due to mismanagement and an exodus of medical staff. Still, life science investors could be hesitant as a traditionally pro-business Conservative front is ousted from power.

In February2024, the Labour Party published its “Prescription for Growth” – an  official plan for the reinvestment and revitalisation of the NHS alongside the country’s life science industries in a bid to keep the sector competitive amid a UK that is slowly losing relevance amid the medical device and clinical trials scenes. At the same time, Labour has promised to end the rolling NHS junior doctor, nurse and senior consultant strikes that have crippled the NHS amid sharply dropping rates of pay for staff.

Presented by the presumptive healthcare lead for  the new government, Wes Streeting, the plan sets the tone for a first-time health and social care minister as the party becomes expected to make good on promises to an industry on edge.

As part of that plan, the Labour government has pledged to “strengthen the Office for Life Sciences, so that it is politically empowered to truly drive delivery across government.” At the same time, the party has committed to “a more certain funding environment and a more streamlined funding process, to end Tory short-termism and attract long-term investment. We will set 10-year budgets for key R&D institutions.”

How well do you really know your competitors?

Access the most comprehensive Company Profiles on the market, powered by GlobalData. Save hours of research. Gain competitive edge.

Company Profile – free sample

Thank you!

Your download email will arrive shortly

Not ready to buy yet? Download a free sample

We are confident about the unique quality of our Company Profiles. However, we want you to make the most beneficial decision for your business, so we offer a free sample that you can download by submitting the below form

By GlobalData
Visit our Privacy Policy for more information about our services, how we may use, process and share your personal data, including information of your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications. Our services are intended for corporate subscribers and you warrant that the email address submitted is your corporate email address.

Deputy chief executive of the Northern Health Science Alliance (NHSA), Hannah Davies, said: “Labour pledged in their manifesto to create thousands of jobs and to inject growth into research and development, we need to see this happen proportionately more in the North of England, which our research shows has historically been under-invested in, to see the UK realise its full potential in health science innovation.

“In 2022, the North received £405 million of research funding, compared to the £1.69 billion awarded to London, Oxford and Cambridge. This equates to significant discrepancies in funding per person with the Greater South East receiving over two and a half times more per person than in the North – £68.58 compared to £25.72, respectively.

“Through investing in a northern R&I supercluster, tackling barriers to business innovation and growth, and addressing the wider needs required for innovation in life sciences Labour have a huge opportunity to build on one of the region’s core strengths and key areas of growth.

“Health and life sciences are globally recognised as a UK strength. No other sector provides such a significant boost to the economy and directly impacts the population’s health in the same way. By investing in the sector in the North, the new government will be investing in its people.”

The UK’s North has traditionally been a political stronghold for the Labour Party, as opposed to the more affluent Conservative-aligned south. Research by the NHSA earlier this year found that two research centres in London and Cambridge, the Francis Crick Institute and Sanger Institute respectively, received government investments of £71.2m ($88.6m) and £116.6m ($144.3m) in 2022. In the same year, the entirety of the UK’s northern healthcare system received only £48m in infrastructure funding, less than half of the amount provided for the two southern facilities.

All eyes will now be on Wes Streeting in his first few days and weeks in power, as the UK life science industries expect the party to drive investment into the sector whilst driving growth in medical staff across the country.

Polling by YouGov prior to the election details how healthcare and the NHS are the second most important issue for all voters across the UK, with 46% of respondents indicating that it was their top priority just behind the overall economy.

Gerard Hanratty, head of health and life sciences at UK law firm Browne Jacobson, said: “With lots on its plate to make positive change in the NHS, the new Government’s healthcare strategy should combine short, medium, and long-term priorities that begin to gradually move us from a curative to preventative system.

“A more challenging task will be to clear NHS waiting lists within five years, so the Government must find a way of making it easier for the private sector to partner with trusts and plug the gap in delivering vital services. Identifying the right legal framework for provider collaboration can bring better services, cost efficiencies and transparency for patients.

“At the same time, we must continue to embrace the role of technology and data in the modern healthcare system while safeguarding patients. Along with further developing the NHS app to enable patients to manage their medicines, appointments and health needs, a clear AI regulation strategy is required.

“This should be developed to enable cross-border, data-driven healthcare as far as possible. By striking a delicate balance between promoting innovation and ensuring accountability through ethical guidelines and standards for AI development and deployment, we can create a more efficient and preventative-focused healthcare system.”