Ministers should inject £9billion a year into research and development spending in the regions, a report warns today.
The Tory-leaning Onward think-tank calls for cash to be pumped into areas outside the “golden triangle” of London-Oxford-Cambridge.
Nearly three in four of the “R&D intensive jobs” created between 2009 and 2019 were in the axis – including 14 times as many in Inner London as in the North, according to a report Onward publishes today.
Its 'Levelling-Up Innovation' study says Government efforts to “level up” regional productivity are set to flop unless ministers “reverse the growing concentration of commercial innovation in one corner of the country”.
It calls for money to be ploughed into “historically less productive regions, such as the North East, East Midlands and South West”.
Diverting £9bn annually would, according to the Government’s own modelling, boost productivity by up to four per cent by 2027 and eight to 12% by 2040, says the report.
Onward's deputy director Will Holloway said: “You only need to look at the UK’s vaccine success to understand the enormous economic value created by R&D intensive clusters like Oxford and Cambridge.
“But the truth is that these clusters are increasingly concentrated in one small corner of the country.
“The lopsided nature of UK innovation has the potential to derail the Government’s ambitions for levelling-up.
“The Chancellor will never be able to close the gap between productive and unproductive parts of the UK if R&D funding, institutions and industries are only in the Greater South East.
“The Government should use every tool at its disposal to level up innovation, including boosting public R&D for lagging regions and investing in a network of research institutes in other parts of the UK.”