Will UK Government reaffirm its commitment to long term R&D?

1 min read

Speaking shortly after the Government’s recent ‘Fiscal Event’, the Campaign for Science and Engineering (CaSE) welcomed its commitment to long-term investment in R&D and its announcement of the £500m Long-Term Investment for Technology & Science (LIFTS) fund.

Seen as helping to accelerate the development of home-grown R&D start-ups by unlocking the potential of pension funds to invest in R&D it was described as a big step forward in helping to unlock billions of pounds of investment into science and technology firms.

Yet, as with so much associated with this ‘mini-budget’, it’s botched implementation and its impact on financial markets and interest rates means that the UK Government is now having to look for   ‘efficiency savings’ in Whitehall spending and cuts to public spending.

So, is its commitment to R&D safe? Many commentators, including CaSE, have speculated that capital investment may be targeted, including cuts to R&D.

CaSE Executive, Professor Sarah Main, said: “The Government’s plan for growth needs a cast iron commitment to R&D at its heart. R&D investment supports the innovators, inventors and people with wealth-creating ideas that will deliver the growth the Government is seeking.”

Investment in research is certainly critical, boosting the economy, and for every pound spent on research an estimated 30p return is generated every year, forever.

Any cuts to R&D budgets would present a real threat to growth, which is at the heart of the Government’s strategy for the UK economy.

If there was a time to commit to R&D investment plans and placing research at the heart of economic strategy, surely it is now.