Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Measures Give Science a Boost

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Measures Give Science a Boost

Article excerpt

THE region's aspirations to build its future economy around science and technology investment were boosted by a handful of measures laid out in yesterday's Pre-Budget Report.

In a bid to increase the number of innovative ideas which are transformed into valuable, job-creating products, Chancellor Alistair Darling introduced a new tax rate to maintain employment levels in the science and technology industries.

Ministers needed to do more to support ingenuity in science, said Mr Darling as he vowed to introduce a 10% Corporation Tax rate on income that stemmed from patents in the UK.

Meanwhile, he said the new Strategic Investment Fund, set up in April, had already agreed "vital support" to hi-tech projects and would be expanded through pounds 100m of redirected funds and an extra pounds 100m.

The extra cash could come as a welcome boost to firms in the North East, such as the Printable Electronics Technology Centre (PETEC) based on the NETPark development in Sedgefield, County Durham.

Stewart Watkins, managing director of County Durham Development Company which runs NETPark, said: "We welcome the investment and tax advantages.

"This region has always been one of the most innovative in the world. It started railways, incandescent lights and steam power and now we continue to do so. Giving business in the region an advantage will push the economy forward."

Meanwhile, Gary Thompson, of Gateshead-based consultancy C2M, said he had some concerns over plans to tax income from patents.

He said: "I'm not sure how they are going to manage that issue, especially if a lone inventor has licensed an idea to a bigger organisation.

"Will it be on the royalties earned by the owner of the patent or the company to which the technology is licensed and are likely to be making the most return? …

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