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UK.gov launches technology five-year plan

'Creating wealth from knowledge'

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Tony Blair and the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry Patricia Hewitt will today announce the Department of Trade and Industry's (DTI) five-year programme, 'Creating Wealth from Knowledge'.

The programme - which is intended to make scientific research in the UK more attractive in response to growing competition from such countries as China and India - includes measures such as increasing research and development funding to 2.5 per cent per year of national income by 2014.

Further initiatives include: reduction by £1bn of the regulatory burdens on business arising from DTI regulations; "action to tackle animal rights extremism", including proposals to address the economic damage to research activities; establishment of the 'Newton' and 'Phoenix' awards - a multi-million pound fund to reward cross-disciplinary research likely to help UK public policy and business priorities, and rewards for those whose first business failed, but have since built successful enterprises, respectively; and creation of a new 'ideas portal', allowing a free exchange of ideas.

The scheme also includes establishment of a Women's Enterprise Panel to help the Government achieve its target of 20 per cent of businesses to be owned by women by 2006. By the end of the same year, the government says it will have completed the national roll-out of Consumer Direct, which will provide consumers with advice and information via the phone or web.

Finally, the plan will include initiatives to increase the numbers of people under 30 achieving skill Level 3, attract entrepreneurial talent and academic expertise to the UK, tackle discrimination in the workplace, and help parents combine work and childcare more easily. Whether it will also tackle world hunger and find a cure for AIDS is not noted.

Businesses will be notified about changes to regulations that affect them through Business Link. ®

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