Pharmaceutical industry response to Budget 2021

Chancellor Rishi Sunak has delivered a Budget re-affirming the government’s ambition to make the UK a science superpower and setting out new policies to support that goal.

We look forward to working with the government on these exciting opportunities for the future of British science and medicines development. Richard Torbett

In response, Richard Torbett, Chief Executive of the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry, said:

“Pharmaceutical companies have been central to the response to the pandemic and will be central to the economic recovery. Today the Chancellor has recognised that innovative industries like ours must be at the heart of our future plans for growth.

“Enhanced capital investment rules and a consultation on how to reform R&D tax credits will help support this vision and are great steps towards attracting more cutting-edge investment to the UK. New high skilled visas and support for apprentices will also help us to attract and develop the talent of the future.

“We look forward to working with the government on these exciting opportunities for the future of British science and medicines development.”

Ahead of Budget 2021 the ABPI had called on the government to review capital investment rules and R&D tax credits. Read more here.

What was announced in the Budget?

Today’s Budget contains a number of important announcements for the pharmaceutical industry including:

On research, development & investment

  • A consultation on tax reliefs in the research and development sector with the aim of keeping the UK a competitive location for cutting-edge research
  • A ‘super-deduction’ for companies investing in new plants and machinery assets.
  • A ‘Future Fund: Breakthrough’ scheme to support highly innovative companies, such as those working in life sciences, that are aiming to raise at least £20 million of funding.

On people & jobs

  • A review of the ‘Innovator’ visa to make it easier for those with the skills and experience to start an innovative business to obtain a visa.
  • A ‘scaleup’ stream within the points-based immigration system to allow applicants with a job offer from a recognised UK scale-up to qualify for a fast-track visa.
  • Reform to the Global Talent visa, including allowing holders of international prizes and scholarships to automatically qualify.
  • A roadmap to modernise the immigration sponsorship system in the summer.
  • A new “flexi-job” apprenticeship programme to be created from a £7 million fund, which will enable apprentices to work with several employers in one sector.


  • £1.65 billion to support the COVID-19 vaccination roll-out in England and £22 million to expand the world’s first trial of combining different vaccines as part of a two-dose regime, and for a new study to assess the effectiveness of different vaccines as a third dose.
  • £28 million to boost the UK’s vaccine testing capability and ability to rapidly acquire samples of new variants.


  • Budget

Last modified: 20 September 2023

Last reviewed: 20 September 2023

The ABPI exists to make the UK the best place in the world to research, develop and use new medicines. We represent companies of all sizes who invest in discovering the medicines of the future. 

Our members supply cutting edge treatments that improve and save the lives of millions of people. We work in partnership with Government and the NHS so patients can get new treatments faster and the NHS can plan how much it spends on medicines. Every day, we partner with organisations in the life sciences community and beyond to transform lives across the UK.