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The 2024 General Election (4th July) has delivered a decisive victory for the Labour Party, ending the 14-year Conservative Party reign.

On Tuesday 9 July the new Parliament met to discuss the election of the Speaker. The State Opening of Parliament and the King’s Speech will follow on Wednesday 17 July. 

In February this year, the Labour Party published its “Prescription for Growth” – a pledge to reinvest in the NHS,  and the UK's broader life science  industries. The objective of these plans is to keep the UK sector competitive amid fears  that it’s slowly losing relevance within the medical device and clinical trials  markets. Labour also promised to end the ongoing junior Doctor,  Nurse and Senior Consultant strikes that have crippled the NHS amid sharply dropping rates of pay for staff. 

Did Labour’s pledge to boost the NHS and healthcare sectors influence voters?

Polling by YouGov before 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.

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When it comes to which individual public services are in bad shape, the NHS tops the list at 90%,  followed closely by hospitals (89%), GPs (85%)  and social care (84%).  

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.”

Hanratty adds: “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."

Why is the UK Life Sciences sector optimistic about a Labour victory?

Shadow sciences minister Chi Onwurah suggested in May 2024 that the Labour Party will boost the UK pharmaceutical sector through increased investment and regulatory action, investing at least 3% of gross domestic product (GDP) in research and development (R&D) in both the public and private sectors. She added that the Labour government would also increase annual R&D expenditure by £10bn ($12.7bn).

Alicia Greated, Executive Director of the Campaign for Science and Engineering said the new Labour government had a ‘real opportunity’ to drive change in the UK. "Science, engineering, and broader R&D are huge assets for the UK’s ability to innovate and produce economic growth, whilst at the same time holding strong support from the public,’ she said. ‘In the election campaign, the Labour Party recognised this fantastic tool at their disposal. By working together with us, and the wider R&D sector, we can all make the most of the opportunities ahead for R&D to improve the lives and livelihoods of people across the UK."

In the Labour Party’s 13 June manifesto, the party pledged to set spending plans for the next ten years, granting money to research agencies such as UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), the nation’s main public science funder.

According to the manifesto, the party departed from the usual standard three-year timespan for budgeting plans of this nature to “allow meaningful partnerships with industry to keep the UK at the forefront of global innovation.”

The Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI) were quick to congratulate Keir Starmer and the Labour Party on winning the General Election, with a statement released just days after the victory was announced.

Richard Torbett, Chief Executive, ABPI, said: “During its campaign, Labour was right to single out the UK’s life sciences sector as a critical partner for their plans to deliver positive change and economic growth. A strong industry-government partnership will be vital to ensure that we continue to discover breakthrough medical innovation in the UK and ensure NHS patients are among the first people in the world to benefit from the latest medicines and vaccines.

“The new government now needs to hit the ground running and rapidly set out a clear, detailed plan for what the government will do in the coming weeks and years to address persistent inequalities in access to medicines and vaccines as well as unlock our sector's true growth potential.”

The hope throughout the Life Sciences sector is that a Labour Government will drive better health and fairness to patients in the NHS, boost patient access to new medicines via clinical trials, bring more manufacturing jobs and value to the UK, and create more highly-skilled well-paid jobs in all parts of the country.

At Carrot Recruitment, we are passionate about client and candidate experience. We hope this article has been helpful and helps you to understand why the Life Sciences sector are feeling optimistic about a future under a Labour Government. If you are looking to grow your team or need to speak to us about our staffing solutions, please get in touch. We offer a range of permanent and contract recruitment services and can adapt our approach easily to fit with your resourcing requirements.

If you’d like to find out more about anything we’ve discussed, more information can be found in our references below.  





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