Day: August 12, 2019

We’re helping make Britain a biotech powerhouse

The temptation to drop everything and go to the beach instead of trying to understand recent events in UK politics has been very hard to resist these last few weeks. And yet, no CCC consumer advocate can be stopped by a heatwave.

Our team has been keeping an eye on Boris Johnson’s promises and first steps. Attentively, and with a cold drink in hand.

On the 25th of July, before Boris Johnson made his first speech as a prime minister, I escaped from the rush in the centre of London, sat at a nice cafe in Clapham, got myself a sugary soda, and the moment he went live I thought “let’s see what he’s going to be up to!”.

When closer to the end of his speech, he called for the liberation of the UK’s bioscience sector from anti-genetic modification rule, we all realised we should step in and get consumer choice in science some spotlight! 

That’s how the idea of our brand new policy note, co-authored by Fred, Bill and myself came about. Our recommendations concern gene modification and gene engineering and are intentionally easy to comprehend 😉 Give it a read!

Cannabis legalisation has finally entered the agenda of political debate in Europe. As policymakers are starting to approach the topic, our David Clement and Yaël Ossowski are on standby to give them a piece of advice. Our April trip to Luxembourg keeps making waves in the media. Last week, our work on cannabis got featured in The Guardian:

‘Two representatives of the Consumer Choice Centre travelled to Luxembourg in April to offer their advice on legislation.

One area of contention is whether to ban the use of cannabis in public, which risks discriminating against tenants and people of limited means. The officials recommended allowing use of the drug in specific public areas.’

One could mistakenly think that getting cannabis legalised and enabling the growth of GM crops is the limit of our ambitions 🙂

But as the world is moving forward very fast and new technologies are entering the scene, CCC’s wishlist keeps growing by the day. 

If there is one thing that excites most people in the world, it is travelling. The revival of supersonic planes would make what was unimaginable in the past two decades come true once again. For example, flights between London and New York could be reduced from seven to three hours. More time for friends, family, and sightseeing 🙂

Our Bill Wirtz and Luca Bertoletti are looking forward to sharing their policy primer on supersonic travel with you. It’ll be published this month! 

As autumn is standing at the door, our team is in anticipation of many victories for consumer choice in Europe and globally. We are grateful for your support and, as always, we are aiming for the moon! 

All the best,

Maria Chaplia

Brexit opens up British biotech bonanza

The authors, Fred Roeder, Maria Chaplia, and Bill Wirtz, emphasise how timely the note is given Brexit approaching its final stage and Boris Johnson’s ambition to ‘liberate the UK’s bioscience sector from anti-genetic modification rules’.

“Revolutionising the UK biotech sector by allowing it to utilise the latest developments of genetic engineering in food production and healthcare is only possible if the existing restrictions are relieved and replaced with a more pro-consumer, pro-innovation, and prosperity-fostering approach,” said CCC managing director Mr Roeder.

“Driven by a noble aim ‘to protect human health and the environment and ensure consumer choice’, the strict legislation on GM products in the UK has, however, failed to recognise the advantages of gene modification and how it could benefit consumers. This foregone opportunity to encourage the progress of the UK biotech sector has left the UK far behind numerous countries,” added Ms Chaplia.

Mr Wirtz ventured: “GM pest-resistant crops could save about £60 million a year in pesticide use in the UK. This would be much welcomed by UK farmers and consumers. Moreover, £60 million in savings means more leeway for competitive food pricing within the country. With food prices in the EU rising by 2% annually, the UK could prove that food can become cheaper by more than just dropping tariffs, but also through more efficient and technologically advanced farming and by dropping non-tariff trade barriers such as the extremely strict EU GMO rules.”

Read more here

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