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There is no master plan

The spending review shows that the government has no strategy for science beyond maintaining spending. Perhaps that's how researchers like it, says David Walker.

He’s the toast of the labs this Christmas. Good old George. The UK public sector may be shrinking to become smaller than the United States’. Austerity may be freezing the vitals of those civil servants, social care assistants and junior doctors still in jobs, but science is OK. So let’s celebrate.

Never mind that no science underpins the Treasury’s plan for tax and spend, although you can always find a few economists who will disagree. Or that the Office for Budget Responsibility’s forecasts allow considerably less room for error than the Met Office’s, even before the latter’s supercomputer goes online. Chancellor George Osborne has nipped and tucked the budget for international development, repulsed the arch-Thatcherite in charge of the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, and seen science broadly all right for the next quinquennium.

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