Spending review: Science backed amid cuts

Scientists' lobbying seems to have paid off
Scientists' lobbying seems to have paid off

By politics.co.uk staff

Funding for Britain's science sector has avoided cuts in the comprehensive spending review.

It comes after a summer of prolonged campaigning by the scientific community warning of the fundamental importance of research to Britain's longer-term economic competitiveness.

Reports suggested funding for science would only be reduced by around ten per cent, significantly less than the average 25% cut expected across most departments.

But George Osborne told the Commons the spending review would see resource spending in cash terms maintained at current levels of £4.6 billion a year.

"Britain is a world leader in scientific research. And that is vital to our future economic success," the chancellor told MPs.

"That is why I am proposing that we do not cut the cash going to the science budget."

The news will be met with mixed feelings by scientists and engineers.

They had warned a ten-point cut would still represent a major blow to Britain's status as an innovating nation.

While that has not gone ahead, even maintaining spending at current levels does not compare with real-terms investment seen in countries like Germany and the US.

Mr Osborne also announced the Diamond Synchrotron facility in Oxfordshire will go ahead, receiving £69 million in public funding.

While spending on science has been ringfenced other areas covered by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills' portfolio are less fortunate.

Vince Cable must cope with overall resource savings of 25%, with 40% cuts for higher education and an average 16% of cuts from the other areas of the department's budget.


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