Chancellor George Osborne pledges to help small firms invest in innovation

Osborne made the announcement on a visit to the Science and Technology Facilities Council’s Hartree Centre in Daresbury, Cheshire, to see how some of the north west’s share of £5.9bn of government investment in science will contribute to creating a Northern Powerhouse.

The centre has received £113m of government cash to expand one of the world’s highest performing computers, in collaboration with technology giant IBM.

The visits came a week after Prime Minister David Cameron and Obsorne laid out their road map for the region’s economy.

They pledged to make the north west a ‘global centre for science and innovation’ – by building on existing biomedical, chemical engineering, technology and advanced materials expertise.

They have pumped cash into research facilities, universities and NHS teaching hospitals across the area.

The Hartree Centre’s collaboration with IBM includes a 3D visualisation suite, which allows companies like Bentley and Unilever to quickly test complex designs without having to create costly and time-consuming physical prototypes.

Speaking at the launch Osborne said: “Science is a key part of the government’s long term economic plan and lies at the heart of our plan to build a Northern Powerhouse.

“I’ve prioritised science investment in difficult times because our ongoing ability to capitalise on our cutting edge science base will create new jobs, innovative businesses and allow us to take the lead in new markets.

“That’s why I’m launching a consultation on research and development tax credits, to ensure that we’re supporting Britain’s small businesses as much as we can.

“This innovative science park, home to extraordinary businesses conducting cutting edge research, has reinforced my determination to ensure that the north leads not only the UK, but the world, in scientific investment and innovation.”