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UK sees stagnating business R&D investment

29 Feb 2024

This week the Office for National Statistics (ONS) released the latest business enterprise research and development (BERD) data for the UK in 2022. The estimates in this release are based on new sample design and results methodologies, superseding the approach used in the previous release.

Total UK business expenditure on research and development has stagnated

The ONS data shows that expenditure on research and development (R&D) performed by UK businesses was £49.9 billion in 2022. While this represents an increase in cash terms from 2021 and is consistent with annual cash increases in recent years, high inflation means business R&D investment in real terms (constant prices) has broadly stagnated since 2018. This is concerning when approximately two-thirds of R&D in the UK is carried out by businesses and is crucial to meeting ambitions of a more research-intensive UK.

CaSE is currently undertaking a piece of work on the environment for business R&D in the UK, identifying key barriers to investment and developing recommendations to address these challenges. This ONS data release reinforces the timeliness of CaSE’s work, due to be published later this year. This will be a critical issue for any new Government to address after the general election, and CaSE calls for a renewed focus from all political parties on enabling an environment that supports businesses to perform R&D and leverages public spending to generate increases in private R&D investment.

Find out more about CaSE's Business Investment work