Backing R&D in the Budget can deliver jobs and sustainable growth to help tackle cost-of-living challenges

04 March 2024

The Russell Group’s Budget submission called on ministers to maximise the impact of existing £20bn spending plans, by removing blocks to capital investment and targeted spending to strengthen the UK’s research base.

Speaking ahead of the Budget, Dr Tim Bradshaw, Chief Executive of the Russell Group, called on the Chancellor to prioritise areas like university research, which deliver proven economic returns for the UK. New analysis by London Economics published last week revealed every £1 invested on Russell Group research in 2021/22 delivered £8.50 of economic impact.

The Russell Group’s submission to the Treasury ahead of the Budget called for action to:

  • Advance net zero ambitions through capital investments that improve the efficiency of university estates, enhance the UK’s R&D landscape, and enable the testing of net zero infrastructure solutions that can be scaled up by local councils.  
  • Remove the planning blockers to capital investment by announcing an intention to introduce a Research and Innovation Guarantee in the National Planning Framework that would fast-track key infrastructure.  
  • Scale up proof-of-concept funding for new, cutting-edge university spin-outs and explore new ways to back businesses in areas like AI and deep tech.
  • Strengthen the UK’s research base by protecting UKRI’s share of R&D funding and, within this, UKRI’s core research budgets.

The submission also highlighted the continued financial difficulties students are experiencing because of maintenance loans failing to keep pace with inflation, and urged Government to correct forecasting errors and uplift maintenance loans to reflect actual cost of living increases. 

Commenting, Dr Bradshaw said:

“The economic picture is constraining the options available to the Chancellor as he finishes his Budget, but if he wants to deliver innovation-led growth that will create quality jobs in every corner of the UK it’s crucial he prioritises spending on R&D alongside support for students and others struggling with the cost of living.

“Sustained economic growth and increased productivity is what the UK needs to tackle cost-of-living pressures for the long-term, and that is what university research offers. Targeted investment in R&D and action to address issues such as planning blockers, which prevent the development of world-class research facilities, can help us transform our economy.”

Russell Group Spring 2024 Budget Submission

Policy area

Related case studies

Media Enquiries
Policy Enquiries

Follow us on Twitter