Spring Budget response: UK's research and innovation capabilities require robust funding

06 March 2024

On Wednesday 6 March, Chancellor Jeremy Hunt delivered the Government's Spring Budget to Parliament. Responding to the announcements, Dr Tim Bradshaw, Chief Executive of the Russell Group, said: 

As anticipated, the Chancellor’s statement today focused on tax changes which may be welcomed by individuals, but somewhat downplayed the importance of research, innovation and skills for delivering growth. This is a shame as 2024/25 is supposed to be the year when the Government reaches its target to invest at least £20bn a year in R&D, which surely ought to be something to shout about.

“However, there were a few announcements – trailed earlier in the week – on additional funding in the life sciences, automotive and aerospace sectors. These are key investments with business to support advanced manufacturing R&D and new facilities. The UK has a strong history of trailblazing research in these fields, and universities are at the centre of much of this innovation through partnerships with industry: in 2021/22, research and innovation activities at Russell Group universities alone generated nearly £38bn for the UK economy.

“To future-proof the UK’s capabilities and innovation pipeline and to bring the UK in line with other leading research nations, we would ultimately like to see a commitment to investing at least 3% of GDP in R&D by 2030. Combining this with measures to fast-track planning applications for R&D facilities and reforming VAT rules for facilities shared with business would increase UK research capability and collaboration, and encourage more business investment to create valuable tech clusters.”

The Russell Group's submission to the Treasury ahead of the Budget can be found here

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