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CaSE responds to 2021 Spending Review

27 Oct 2021

CaSE has today welcomed the announcements on science, research and innovation set out in the Chancellor’s Spending Review, but cautioned that more work needs to be done.

Commenting on the commitment to invest £20 billion in R&D by 2024/25, CaSE Assistant Director Dr Daniel Rathbone said:

“Today’s Spending Review is a positive outcome for UK science and engineering. The Chancellor has shown that he gets the powerful arguments being made by the sector that a high skill, innovative economy is the ‘only route’ to securing prosperity and well-being for the entire UK. He has rightly placed research and innovation at the heart of his plan for growth.”

Commenting on missing the £22bn figure, Dr Daniel Rathbone said:

“The rest of the world is still powering ahead on R&D, so it is disappointing that the Chancellor has had to delay the £22bn target to 2026. To achieve their stated ambition of investing 2.4% of GDP in R&D by 2027, the government will need to re-double its efforts to maintain business confidence and investment to ensure this goal becomes a reality.” 

On other details announced in the review, Dr Daniel Rathbone said:

“Today’s review sets out a series of steps towards the Prime Minister and Chancellor’s aspiration for the UK to become a ‘science superpower’. This includes confirming increases to funding for core research, a significant increase in R&D budgets for some UK Government departments and confirmation that additional money will be made available to pay the costs required to associate to Horizon Europe. The new Office for Science and Technology Strategy will have a vital role to play in joining up these efforts across Government.”

“Looking ahead we want to see more detail on the role of R&D in levelling-up and the UK Shared Prosperity Fund. We hope to hear more about the scheme on publication of the Levelling Up White Paper before the end of the year. We look forward to working with the Government as it develops its plans to ensure the investment in R&D benefits communities across the UK.”

Based on today’s figures, CaSE’s updated projection shows that the UK’s research intensity would reach 2.33% in 2027, just short of the government’s target of investing 2,4% of GDP in R&D.  

You can read further analysis of the Spending Review here. We’ve also taken the opportunity to rate the review against our five-point roadmap for making the UK a ‘science superpower’. 


  • CaSE’s analysis has shown that if the Government delays reaching the £22bn target by three years, the UK would lose out on over £11bn of private R&D investment between now and 2027.
  • CaSE has published analysis showing that the UK has stagnated on R&D over last 20 years as comparator nations have rushed forward, and that the UK target for the next five years is least ambitious of comparator nations.
  • Earlier this month CaSE joined 32 other leading organisations, including Cancer Research UK, The Royal Society and The Francis Crick Institute to call on the Chancellor to commit to the Government’s public R&D investment targets at the Spending Review.
  • In the run-up to the Spending Review CaSE published its five-point roadmap for making the UK a ‘science superpower’. We will shortly be grading the Government’s efforts on how it meets each of these five milestones.
  • Back in June the government announced plans for a new Office for Science and Technology Strategy, headed by the Chief Scientific Adviser Sir Patrick Vallance and based in the Cabinet Office, as well as a new National Science and Technology Council chaired by the Prime Minister. 
  • You can read about all our work on the Spending Review.