‘…today’s announcement of sustained increases for science funding is a welcome recognition of the importance of science and innovation to the nation’s resilience and growth….’
The UK Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, used his Autumn Budget and Spending Review to reiterate the Government’s commitment to investing in science and innovation. Once again highlighting the move to make the UK a science superpower, the Spending Review includes a £5 billion increase in Government investment in research and development each year by 2024/25, to deliver economic growth across the UK. The target of investing £22 billion, 2.4% of total GDP, in research and innovation will be reached by 2026/27. This is later than originally anticipated.
The Chancellor’s announcement has been widely welcomed. Rt Hon Greg Clark MP, Chair of the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee said: ‘I welcome the substantial commitment to science and innovation in the Budget. Achieving £20 billion by 2024/25 is the biggest increase in the science budget in our history.’ Clark added ‘While it is regrettable that the Government’s £22 target billion will be achieved two years later than originally pledged, it is reassuring that the Chancellor has given a firm date for meeting it, and listened to representations that steady progress should be made towards the target, rather than deferring increases until later years.’
Professor Dame Ottoline Leyser, Chief Executive of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) said ‘The Chancellor’s announcements underscore the benefits that will come from co-ordinating significant investments into the research and innovation system through BEIS and other Government departments, and attracting private investment, to address complex goals such as net-zero and levelling up.’
Sir Adrian Smith, President of the Royal Society said; ‘Recognising the unprecedented circumstances faced by the country, today’s announcement of sustained increases for science funding is a welcome recognition of the importance of science and innovation to the nation’s resilience and growth. It is also a strong signal of the Government’s ambition to grow the full potential of the UK as a global leader in science and innovation.’