Stephanie Smith looks at the good things and the unaddressed issues in yesterday's budget
Three great things from the budget
- The headline increase to £22 billion is unprecedented. Even if we factor in commitments already made by previous governments in 2016 and 2017, the announcement today means an additional £9bn added to the R&D budget by 2024-25. That should put us on a clear trajectory to spending 2.4 per cent of GDP on R&D by 2024-25, a full three years ahead of the government’s target date of 2027.
- That’s good news for our negotiations on association to EU research and innovation programmes. The UK currently wins around £1bn a year from Horizon 2020, but any future deal is expected to be on the basis of the UK paying into EU funds what it takes out. An uplift of £9bn by 2024 should leave plenty of headroom for collaboration with the EU, while boosting investment elsewhere.
- The long-term commitment made today sets us on a trajectory that will go a long way to boosting business confidence in the UK’s long-term R&D prospects. It will also go a long way to helping universities and others leverage in the investment needed to get us to 2.4 per cent.
And three things to watch out for