As part of its austerity programme, the Government announced in May a further £11.5billion cut in its expenditure. All Government departments have been asked to review their budgets and that review is nearing completion. The result of the consultations is set to be announced next week in the form of a Spending Review.
BIS - the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills - is one of the departments in the firing line. Despite the fact that it funds a large amount of university research and industrial projects, BIS isn't one of the so called 'ring fenced' departments. As such, it's likely to see it's budget 'trimmed' by £1bn - pushing towards 8% - and there will be some very unhappy people in the near future.
BIS also funds the Technology Strategy Board (TSB) and support for continued - and increased - funding has come from the CBI, which says the TSB has been 'underfunded to date and is crucial to successfully protect innovation in the UK'.
For the last couple of years, we've been told how innovation will be key to the growth of the UK's economy. It doesn't seem to be consistent to, on the one hand, call for innovations while, on the other, slashing the budget of the department which enables that innovation.