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Cath Everett

Sift Media

Freelance journalist and former editor of HRZone

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Budget 2012: Five industries singled out for special treatment

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The Chancellor picked out the aerospace, energy and pharmaceuticals, creative media and science industries as being crucial in helping the UK reduce its reliance on the financial services sector.

George Osborne said in his Budget speech today that he would be “backing” the five industries as part of a “deliberate strategy to create a more balanced national economy, where financial services are strong, but they are not the only string to our bow.”
 
The aim, he attested, was to “turn Britain into Europe’s technology centre” and “we will start with digital content”.
 
As a result, tax credits similar to those offered to the film industry will be extended to the video games, animation and high-end TV production industries in a bid to attract international investors.
 
The life sciences sector will see taxes cut on patents and a research and development centre in the shape of the Francis Crick Institute will be opened at St Pancras.
 
Some £100 million of public money will also be invested in new science-based university research facilities, while enterprise loans will be extended to young people who want to start their own business.
 
Such activities are expected to lead to the creation of one million more jobs over five years, the Office for Budget Responsibility said.
 
Osborne also reiterated OBR forecasts that the unemployment rate would peak at 8.7% this year, before falling each year to 6.3% over the next four years.
 
But it now estimates that the benefit claimant count will be around 100,000 lower over each of the next four years than previously predicted, peaking at 1.67 million this year rather than the 1.8 million forecast in November.
 
John Philpott, chief economic adviser at the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, said, however: "The OBR’s forecast for employment growth and headline unemployment is unchanged, with a lower forecast for claimant unemployment due in large part to a methodological change to the forecast rather than anything to do with the effects of policy."
 
 
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Cath Everett

Freelance journalist and former editor of HRZone

Read more from Cath Everett
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