25 November 2015

Autumn Statement 2015

George Osborne this afternoon delivered his annual Autumn Statement speech to the House of Commons.

We welcome the government’s continued investment in science to ensure that the UK remains a world class centre of research.  George Osborne, today, reasserted the government’s commitment to remain at the forefront of world science by both protecting the £4.7 billion science resource funding for the duration of the Parliament, which will include a new £1.5 billion Global Challenges fund to ensure UK science takes a lead in addressing problems faced by developing countries; and delivering on his promise for long term science capital investment of £6.9 billion between now and 2021.

The government has also pledged to take forward the recommendations of Paul Nurse’s independent review and, subject to legislation, will introduce a new body – Research UK – to work across the seven Research Councils. The aim of this new body would be to take the lead in shaping and driving a strategic approach to science funding, in turn ensuring a focus on the challenges and opportunities for UK research.  George Osborne has also committed the government to look at integrating Innovate UK into Research UK to strengthen collaboration between the research base and the commercialisation of discoveries in the business community.

Today’s announcement extends the freedoms granted to Research Institutes at Budget 2015 to all Department for Business, Investment and Skills (BIS) Sector Research Establishments which are not public corporations, and will also grant access to accumulated reserves of commercial income, subject to a cap.

Over £130 million has been promised to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs’ (DEFRA) science facilities which will be a welcome move for the industry.

In order to continue to support innovative businesses, George Osborne has stated that the British Business Bank will retain the £400 million of additional funding for Enterprise Capital Funds that was announced at Autumn Statement 2014.

For further information on the rest of the Autumn Statement please click here