The Royal Society responds to the 2021 Budget announcement

03 March 2021

Responding to today’s Budget announcement, Adrian Smith, President of the Royal Society, said:

“The UK’s presidencies of both COP26 and the G7 mean this is a big year for the UK to lead the way in tackling climate change. We are pleased that today’s budget statement reflects the importance of environmental sustainability and the transition to net zero, with a focus on making possible the “green industrial revolution” projects that will lead the way.

“Existing technologies and nature-based solutions are not going to be enough to decarbonise the world economy, which is why the Society is calling on the UK government and G7 nations to apply their political might and resources to support the rapid development of an evidence-based innovation and technology road map to net zero.

“We are going to need concerted support for the next generation of climate technologies and so it is welcome to see the Government reaffirm its commitment to increase investment in R&D to at least 2.4% by 2027, with £14.6 billion to be invested in the coming year. I also welcome the chancellor’s support for improving the UK visa offer and a ‘proactive global outreach strategy’ to attract scientists to the UK. Investing in science, while attracting science talent from research leaders to early career scientists and technicians, is going to be crucial as we ‘build back better’.

“We are disappointed that Government has not used this opportunity to announce additional funding for the UK's association to Horizon Europe but look forward to further announcements. A real term decrease at this time would send the wrong signal to a sector that will be key to a successful recovery."