Budget 2011 comment

23 March 2011

The Royal Society has welcomed the announcement of an additional £100 million in capital expenditure for science in today’s budget.  Other good news for the science community includes the £3 billion Green Investment Bank, expansion of the R&D tax credits and a proposed reduction in regulation that has slowed down clinical trials in the UK.

Budget 2011 comment from Sir Paul Nurse, President of the Royal Society

On the injection of £100 million of new capital expenditure to science:

“In a very difficult comprehensive spending review last year, science did reasonably well.  That was in recognition of the key role that science can play in strengthening the economy and in improving the quality of life and health of the nation.  The downside was a major reduction in the money for the new equipment and facilities our scientists need to do their work.  Today’s budget is hopefully a first step in plugging that gap and is a sign of the government’s continuing faith in and commitment to UK science.  The announcement of an additional £100 million for science facilities around the UK will help create manufacturing and other jobs and will facilitate work that will help tackle key challenges in areas such as health, energy and food.”

On the Green Investment Bank:

“The UK is potentially a world leader in developing new technologies for use in the generation of power.  However, unless we are brave in investing in untried technologies we will not make the breakthroughs required and will run the risk that they will be made and capitalised upon elsewhere.  With a finite amount of fossil fuels, the upward spiral in the price of oil and the need to reduce carbon dioxide emissions - now is the time for the UK to up its game.  The establishment of the Green Investment Bank, with £3billion, sends out the signal that we are ready to start taking on that challenge. ”

On expansion of R&D tax credits:

“Private sector investment in research and development in the UK is too low.  British companies invest 1.2% of GDP where as in the US it is 1.9% and in Germany 1.8%.  The Royal Society has advocated expansion of the R&D tax credit, so we are delighted that the Chancellor has decided to take this course of action.  The onus will now be on British firms to be more ambitious in their investment in innovation.”