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Policy and Public Affairs Update: 19th - 23rd June

BSI weekly Policy and Public Affairs update

June 19th – June 23rd


Government sets out legislative programme in Queen's Speech

Brexit related legislation took central stage in this year’s Queen’s Speech, with the Government outlining its policy plans for a two year parliamentary session designed to pave the way for Brexit. The Queen’s Speech is normally an annual affair, covering a parliamentary period lasting a year and beginning each spring. However this year’s session will be double the length in recognition of the complexity of the legislative proposals, and taking parliament up to the March 2019 deadline for Article 50 negotiations.

Notable Bills announced in the speech include the Great Repeal Bill, which will end the primacy of EU law over the UK, and a new immigration Bill, which will end free movement and set out a legal framework governing immigration controls post-Brexit.

The coming session will also see the introduction of a new Public Finance Bill, which will examine how essential public services and priority spending commitments are financed. This includes funding for the NHS as well as activities in support of the new industrial strategy, a key focus of which is the life sciences sector.

It promises to be a challenging period for the Government, with the parliamentary arithmetic stacked firmly against them following the snap general election. A deal is expected with the DUP, which would see the Unionists lend their support on key votes. However the slender majority that this would provide may not be enough in some cases, particularly as aspects of policy programme, particularly on Brexit, are expected to be so contentious. A significant defeat in the Commons raises the prospect of a vote of no confidence in the Government, something that would lead to a second General Election.


Action needed to prevent confusion over risk/benefit for medicines

On Tuesday, The Academy of Medical Sciences (AMS) published a new report entitled “Enhancing the use of scientific evidence to judge the potential benefits and harms of medicines”.

The report stems from much public debate around the benefits and harms of treatments such as statins and hormone replacement therapy. It highlights a number of significant challenges that medical professionals face when using evidence from research to understand and judo the benefits and risks of certain medicines.

It called for a number of actions to address the challenges specifically in the information that patients receive, including improvements needed to patient information leaflets and better use of medical appointments. 


UK fiscal environment has helped to make the most productive science base

A new report from the UK BioIndustry Association highlights the UK's attractiveness as an international hub for the life sciences, particularly in reference to the country's preferential tax regime.

The report states that the UK's tax regime, which combines low rates of tax, innovation incentives and significant tax benefits, make the UK better than any country in Europe and the G7 for bioscience, with a strong talent pool and productive science base.