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CaSE responds to the 2019 Spending Review

04 Sep 2019

CaSE has today responded to the Government’s 2019 Spending Review, with announcements on public R&D investment, departmental budgets and skills.

Public investment in R&D

CaSE welcomes the Government’s re-commitment to the target of investing 2.4% of GDP in R&D by 2027, which we called for in our submission to the spending review. 

Commenting, CaSE Executive Director Dr Sarah Main said:

“The Government’s promise to significantly increase public investment in R&D is good news. CaSE’s members have told us that leadership and long-term R&D investment from Government enables them to plan for the future and gives industry the confidence to keep on investing in research and innovation. The Government’s re-commitment to the 2027 R&D investment target today provides reassurance. Delivery of the promised investment plan in the autumn will turn that reassurance in to confidence.”

“Public money can be used to capitalise on the unique strength of UK science, delivering the benefits of discovery to people more quickly, growing the capacity and breadth of UK science, and attracting international partners and business investment.” 

The Government should now coordinate action and delivery across Whitehall by setting out a plan and long-term budget as soon as possible towards reaching the 2027 target. CaSE has developed a model for public and private R&D investment to reach an intensity of 2.4% of GDP by 2027 and 3% in the long term (2034/35).  This model is taken from our new report, ‘Building on Scientific Strength; The Next Decade of R&D Investment’, on how the Government can meet theeir research goal.

Departmental R&D

The Government has today announced a growth in departmental spending of 4.1% in real terms from 2019-20 to 2020-21. 

Commenting, CaSE Executive Director Dr Sarah Main said:    

“With the increases in departmental budgets announced today by the Chancellor there is an opportunity to increase departmental R&D investment to adopt innovation faster and deliver better and more efficient public services.” 

Despite the potential of departmental R&D budgets in helping to achieving Government objectives, from 2005 to 2016 overall civil departmental R&D spending fell 30% in real terms, excluding BEIS and its predecessors and the NHS (NIHR). There is great potential for R&D investment to directly benefit delivery of public services by government, supporting more effective and efficient policymaking and public service delivery, and in assessing policy outcomes against objectives. 

Departmental R&D budgets can be used to mitigate risk and use resources more efficiently, for example by identifying policy interventions that reduce the severity of road traffic incidents in cities or help prevent and respond to adverse weather conditions and disease outbreaks.


Commenting, CaSE Executive Director Dr Sarah Main said:    

“I am pleased to see an increase in investment for Further Education (FE), supporting skills development through a time of transition in the FE sector. With STEM-related roles due to increase at double the rate of other occupations by 2023, increasing the number of young people studying these subjects will be vital in meeting the needs of UK science and engineering, while also enhancing the earning power and social mobility of young people.”

CaSE is also pleased to see the recognition of the international nature of research as the Chancellor reiterated plans to introduce a ‘fast-track’ visa for science. As set out in our original response, are looking forward to working with the Government and government departments as they develop these proposals.