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Hopes and fears

The budget will be followed by more tough choices for research

Investment in research is “crucial for health and wealth across the UK and the world”, will allow the UK to deliver “world-leading innovation” and “isn’t a tap you can turn on and off”. The arguments made by sector leaders urging the government not to pull back from promised spending in the run-up to this Thursday’s budget are well-worn, simply because they are all so true. 

But amid expectations that chancellor Jeremy Hunt will announce a hefty package of spending cuts and tax rises to combat economic crisis in the UK, the chances that R&D will escape unscathed look thin. The sector’s lobbying has hit all the right notes. But even if they will not admit it publicly, for many research leaders it’s clearly a case of hope for the best and prepare for the worst.

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