Yvette Cooper calls for investment in science and hi-tech industry

Yvette Cooper
Yvette Cooper
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THE UK is being “left behind as a nation”, Labour leadership hopeful Yvette Cooper will warn today as she calls for increased investment in science and hi-tech industry to protect the country’s economic future.

She will set a target of creating two million new high-skilled manufacturing jobs and increasing public and private investment on research and development to 3% of GDP.

The shadow home secretary will claim that her plan would “transform our economy” and help the country “punch well above our weight”.

Ms Cooper will take part in the latest hustings with leadership rivals Andy Burnham, Liz Kendall and Jeremy Corbyn at a conference organised by trade union Unison in Manchester.

While she is in the city she will also visit the National Graphene Institute to highlight her plans for a “revolution in research and science investment”.

She will say: “Last time we had a leadership election in 2010 we talked about our party. It was an inward looking debate. Often about our past. Meanwhile big decisions were being taken about future of our country. This time we need to focus on the future challenges for Britain.”

She will claim that “rewarding, fulling work must be at the heart of all our plans”.

“We will fail in world markets unless our economy becomes more productive. And we will fail the British people if we don’t foster an economy creating good, new jobs that give everyone a better future,” she will say.

“We are being left behind as a nation. Some regions are being left behind faster than others.

“Our society is becoming more unfair. There’s more insecurity, and not just those on the lowest incomes but also those on middle incomes.”

Setting out the 3% target, she will say: “Just imagine what that would mean for our universities, our cities, our companies. That would transform our economy. It would be a down payment on a different future for Britain, for our children and their children after them.”

Under Ed Miliband’s leadership Labour faced claims from critics that it was anti-business but Ms Cooper will insist she will put the party on the side of hi-tech firms.

She will also establish a business advisory group, which will include inviting firms that do not support Labour, to help draw up plans on science and the digital economy.

Gill Barker

From reaching the summit of Mount Everest to cycling thousands of miles across America, there’s no end to the lengths people will go to for a cause close to their heart. Breaking boundaries and taking on gruelling endeavours can mean the person taking part enjoys the experience of a lifetime while the charity benefits from generous sponsorship. But taking time off work and organising an extreme, and often costly, adventure just isn’t possible for everyone. That’s why Gill Barker, from Wakefield, has created her own twist on the trend to find the toughest, most epic charity challenge. Gill is set to turn 35 in 2020 – and reaching this milestone has inspired her to have a good think about what she’d like to achieve, both physically and mentally, and write a bucket list to help reach those goals. Gill will complete 35 challenges before her 35th birthday on Saturday March 14. Some are small, some are huge, but all of them will push her beyond her comfort zone. “Turning 33 felt like a big thing for me,” explains Gill, who works in marketing at Leeds Trinity University. “I started to think about the life decisions I’d made. I looked back and while I’d had fun, I regretted all those weekends where I could have been having more fulfilling experiences and creating memories. “I have a full-time job so I couldn’t do a massive overseas challenge, but I realised I could break it down into little bits and still raise as much money as possible for charity.” Gill has already ticked 11 challenges off her list. She’s faced her fear of heights at the outdoor adventure centre Go Ape, trained with the Leeds Rhinos, cycled 128 miles from coast to coast and climbed Snowdon, the highest mountain in Wales. Other challenges have involved changing her diet to ensure she’s getting all the nutrients she needs, and going to the gym more regularly on her own – something that would previously have caused Gill a considerable amount of anxiety. During the festive season, Gill kept active by completing a ‘12 days of Christmas’ workout challenge. Gill is now taking part in RED January, a campaign run in partnership with Mind that encourages participants to beat the winter blues by being active every day throughout the month. Then, later this month she’ll be taking to the slopes at Xscape Yorkshire to try her hand at skiing for the first time. Gill’s biggest test of her ‘35 before 35’ mission so far will be taking part in a 24-hour run in March. The run will be completed on a 3.71-mile loop so not only will it be physically demanding, it will also play on her mental toughness. She will also be finishing the year in style by taking part in the Honolulu Marathon in Hawaii in December. There are three conditions that all of Gill’s challenges must meet – they must be physical or stretch her mentally, they all need to be self-funded and they can’t affect her job. Driving Gill’s ambition is a passion to help two local charities that have personal meaning to her – Yorkshire Cancer Research and Leeds Mind. She’s already raised more than £500 for the two causes. “Like many families across the UK, my own family has a history of cancer,” explains Gill. “But people close to me have recently been affected by cancer, too. They’ve all been so strong and inspirational. I wanted to do something that would support them. “I chose to raise money for Yorkshire Cancer Research after reading that people living here are more likely to get cancer, and more likely to die from it, than people living in other areas of the country. The statistics really shocked me.” Gill chose Leeds Mind following her own struggles with mental health. Her ‘35 before 35’ challenge has helped her overcome a period of depression. “It’s given me something to focus on,” Gill says. “Many people are affected by depression, even those who continue to work and function in everyday life. It’s very easy to fall into that slump and stop doing the things you used to enjoy. “I’m feeling much fitter and healthier, but I’m also happier and more confident now that I have a new focus. “If I can encourage one person who may be going through a difficult period to be brave and do something they’ve never done before, face a fear or take on a new challenge in order to gain a new focus, then that would be brilliant. If I can do it, anyone can.” You can find out more about Gill Barker’s challenges and sponsor her by visiting www.35before35.co.uk. You can also follow her progress on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. She is also looking for suggestions for challenges to complete the 35 as she is still a few short on her list. For further information on Yorkshire Cancer Research, visit www.yorkshirecancerresearch.org.u

In a reference to Harold Wilson’s speech about the pace of technological advance in 1963, she will say: “Just as Labour championed the white heat of technology in the 1960s, so today we need to champion the white flashing constellations of the networked world.”

But she will claim that the UK’s broadband is not fast enough and call for the the Government to be far more ambitious by guaranteeing high-speed connections for all small businesses.