‘Light on science’ Budget includes £2.3bn investment for R&D
23 Nov 2017
Chancellor Philip Hammond’s Autumn Budget has promised an additional £2.3 billion for research and development.
Alongside this, the Chancellor announced the main R&D tax credit would increase to 12%, arguing that the government was “taking the first strides towards the ambition of our Industrial Strategy to drive up R&D investment across the economy to 2.4% of GDP”.
In response, EEF chief economist Lee Hopley said: “The Chancellor is putting real resource into delivering the target of 2.4% of GDP on R&D over the next decade. The additional allocations…devoted to R&D and the increase R&D tax credit should help ensure the public and private sector are moving in tandem towards this important goal.”
Elsewhere in the Budget, Hammond designated £40m to train maths teachers, and introduced a £600 ‘maths premium’ for schools, aimed at each pupil who takes A Level or Core maths.
Tim Thomas, director of employment and skills policy at EEF, said: “It is vital that our young people are taught by world class teachers if the UK is to compete on the global stage, particularly as 52% of school leavers in England currently don’t have a good GCSE pass in maths. Additional funding must be pinpointed to drive up the quality of teaching and also incentivise more young people to study invaluable subjects such as maths.”
Hammond also said computer science was “at the heart of this revolution”.
He said: “So we’ll ensure that every secondary school pupil can study computing, by tripling the number of trained computer science teachers to 12,000. And we’ll work with industry to create a new National Centre for Computing.”
The Chancellor also promised £500m to support artificial intelligence, fibre broadband and 5G networks, as well as funding to support growth of the UK’s electric vehicle infrastructure.
However, while IMechE head of education and skills, research and policy Peter Finegold welcomed parts of the budget, he described it as “fairly light on issues directly relevant to engineering and science”.
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