With the Conservative Party winning a substantial majority in yesterday's election, the Government are in a position to deliver on their ambitions to put UK science and engineering at the heart of Britain's future growth.
Commenting on the result, CaSE Executive Director Dr Sarah Main said:
"Over the last six weeks on the campaign trail and during his time in Downing Street, Boris Johnson has been vocal in his support for UK science, and we have welcomed these aspirations. Science and engineering has the potential to drive economic growth and world-leading innovation throughout the next decade and beyond."
"The Prime Minister is clear that he intends the UK to leave the EU on 31st January. The new Government should make every effort to ensure that the UK becomes the partner of choice for international collaborations, including with the EU. The Conservative manifesto said that “We will continue to collaborate internationally and with the EU on scientific research, including Horizon”. We look forward to working with the Government to make the case for full Horizon Europe association."
"This is a Government with ambitious plans for science and innovation. During the election campaign the Conservative manifesto reaffirmed the party's commitment to increasing research intensity to 2.4% of GDP, a target on which there is cross-party consensus. We now look forward to the new Government working alongside the science community to transform this commitment into a reality, with the long-term planning, funding and political support needed to reach this ambitious goal."
Analysis of Conservative Campaign pledges
During the campaign Boris Johnson reaffirmed the party’s commitment to increase UK research intensity to 2.4% of GDP, a pledge that has been a key focus of CaSE’s work in the last couple of years. Rough calculations, based on the costings document published alongside the party’s manifesto, show that new and existing Conservative R&D commitments would see public investment reach just over £14bn in 2023/24. CaSE projection work recommends that a Government seeking to reach a research intensity of 2.4% by 2027 should invest £17.5bn in 2023/24 and £18.5bn in 2024/25.
The Conservative manifesto said that “We will continue to collaborate internationally and with the EU on scientific research, including Horizon”. While this still leaves the party’s position open to some interpretation as it does not guarantee full association with Horizon programmes, this recognition of the importance of UK-EU collaboration is a welcome step forward. We look forward to working with the Government to make the case for full Horizon Europe association.
The Conservative manifesto set out plans for an ‘Australian Points-Based system’, under which the majority of individuals would need to have a job offer to come to the UK, while limiting so called ‘lower-skilled’ workers. Under these controls, restrictions will be placed on EU citizens and it will become more difficult for them to move to the UK in order to work and collaborate on research. CaSE will continue to work with the Home Office to ensure any new immigration system works for science and engineering in the UK.
Note on CaSE's 2019 Election Work
- Ahead of the election CaSE put together a synopsis of where the parties stand on the key issues relating to science and engineering. You can read our analysis of the Conservative Manifesto as well as analysis of earlier announcements made by the Conservative leader during the campaign:
- This election CaSE published its' election manifesto' with three asks for the political parties:
- A long-term plan to reach 3% of GDP invested in R&D by the end of the next decade, with planned annual increases for public investment in R&D
- Make the UK a partner of choice for international collaborations, including with the EU
- An immigration system that works for Science and Engineering
- Our R&D ask is taken from our report published earlier this year, 'Building on Scientific Strength; The Next Decade of R&D Investment', on how the Government can stimulate a rise in the UK’s research intensity and meet the goal of investing 2.4% of GDP in R&D by 2027.
- In the election campaign, CaSE and other senior organisations in the sector organised a hustings event for representatives from the political parties to answer questions on science and engineering.