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Creating powerhouses

George Osborne to set out proposals to devolve power, writes Alison Goddard.

Cities that have elected mayors will gain greater autonomy under plans due to be announced by the chancellor today. The BBC reports that responsibility for housing, transport, planning and policing will be transferred to city authorities. The Financial Times says that the announcement is intended to encourage cities to follow Manchester’s example. Science and innovation are central to the city’s vision as a northern powerhouse; Luke Georghiou of the University of Manchester set out the university’s contribution late last year in Research Fortnight, our sister publication.

The pharmaceutical industry should pay $2 billion for an innovation fund to revitalise research into antibiotics, according to a UK government-appointed review team headed by Jim O’Neill, an economist. The BBC says that much of the money would be handed to universities and small biotech companies. However it fails to identify the chances of pharmaceutical firms actually creating such a fund, which I suspect may be slim.

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