Gordon Brown set to launch pro-jobs, pro-science campaign for Covid recovery

Sienna Rodgers

Former Labour Prime Minister Gordon Brown is set to launch a pro-jobs, pro-science campaign this week, with the aim of promoting science jobs and research as key to the UK’s Covid economic recovery plan.

Speaking at the Edinburgh International Book Festival on Friday, Brown will call on MPs, mayors, local authorities, trade unions and businesses to back staying in the EU’s Horizon programme for research and innovation.

Now with a new budget of €80.9bn agreed, the EU’s biggest ever initiative of its kind pioneers new medical, environmental and hi-tech research. Brown aims to highlight its role in maintaining and creating UK jobs.

Keeping the UK’s Horizon partnerships, which does not require EU membership, has been identified as a priority by institutions such as the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), Universities UK and the Academy of Medical Sciences.

Stressing that the programme is especially important for the UK’s university towns and for generating inward investment to the nations and regions, Brown’s call to action comes after the UK officially entered recession.

Gordon Brown invites LabourList readers to join him and EU vice-president Frans Timmermans at the Edinburgh Book Festival online this Friday to discuss the Way Forward For Europe and the launch of his new pro-job, pro-science campaign to boost the UK’s Covid economic recovery plan. Register here, then watch here.

Labour under Keir Starmer has criticised UK GDP falling by 20.4% in the second quarter of 2020 – a larger drop than that of any other European country – and “Johnson’s jobs crisis” caused by a “one-size-fits-all” approach.

Ahead of the Edinburgh event, Brown commented: “The Covid-related jobs crisis means maintaining and creating new jobs is the biggest economic challenge we face across the UK in the next few months.

“The polling shows people across Britain understand the big economic issue is no longer about being for or against Europe anymore. It’s about whether you are for full employment across our regions and nations.

“The science and jobs benefit of Horizon membership to our universities and to high quality ancillary companies is vital to our four nation Covid economic recovery plan.

“It’s why I will be calling on all mayors, local authorities and MPs, trades unions, businesses and others to enlist in the pro-jobs campaign and to support Britain staying in Horizon.”

A YouGov poll in July by found that 66% of British voters were in favour of the UK staying as a member of the EU Horizon programme after the end of 2020, with just 13% saying they wanted to end the membership.

The former Prime Minister will be joining the virtual event on Friday along with EU vice-president Frans Timmermans, who is currently leading the European Commission’s work on Europe’s Green New Deal.

Register for the Edinburgh International Book Festival here, then watch the event live on Friday at 8.30pm here.

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