Investing in our science and research base is vital to developing and maintaining a skilled, vibrant and balanced economy for the future and I share your concern that we are in danger of losing our standing as a world leader in science and innovation.
There was rightly a great deal of concern in the science community in the run up to the Spending Review. As you are aware, the ‘resource’ (running cost) element of the Science Budget has been fixed since 2010 at a cash-flat £4.6 billion a year-around 6% less in 2015-16 in real terms than 2010-11 as a result of inflation. A clear long-term funding framework for science and research is vital to provide certainty for the science community. The previous Labour government created the long term Science & Innovation Investment Framework. I was disappointed that the Coalition Government abandoned the 10-year spending cycle for science and that Britain is now seeing a real-terms decline in science funding. The country’s spending of 1.7% of GDP on science and research is below the OECD average of 2.4% and the almost 3% spent by the US and Germany.
Our country needs a culture of long-termism in Government and business, and an industrial strategy which helps to support our world-leading business and industries, including in areas like research, innovation and science, to create more of the well-paid, high-skilled jobs we want to see.
Science is vital for our future growth and prosperity and should be prioritised by this government.