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Could a hung parliament be good for science?

09 Jun 2017

CaSE responds to the result of the 2017 General Election.

With a lot to lose from Brexit, the moderating force of a hung parliament could be good for science​,​​ but confidence is key.​

​Commenting on the election result, ​CaSE Executive Director, Dr Sarah Main, said:

“Science has a lot to lose from a hard Brexit. So the prospect of a minority Government yielding a softer Brexit is likely to appeal to science leaders who have been pushing to retain a range of EU benefits.​ But confidence and certainty is key, and Parliament will need to work together to deliver that confidence, to support our scientific businesses and academia in delivering benefits to the economy and society.

There is unprecedented cross party support for major investment in R&D but materially different approaches to policies that underpin its success, such as immigration. The Conservative’s ​commitment to reduce migration to the tens of thousands ​could be​ hugely problematic for science, particularly coupled with the prospect of loss of access to collaborative EU research ​networks and disruption to regulation for scientific trials and trade. 

With the Conservatives in a minority Government we could see the DUP’s insistence on a soft Brexit, Labour’s pledge for ‘fair rules and reasonable management’ of the migration system, and the Lib Dem’s commitment to ‘retain access’ to EU R&D programmes bring welcome dialogue that could benefit science and maximise the fruits of the​ Government’s investment ​in R&D.​”

To coincide with the election result, CaSE has today published its vision for UK science and engineering, setting out six priority areas for the new Government; on education, immigration, collaboration, investment, regulation, and evidence.

Commenting on the priorities, Dr Sarah Main said:​

“The Conservatives have pledged to increase in investment in R&D to 2.4% of GDP over ten years, equivalent to doubling the science budget. This could be the catalyst to transform the UK’s productivity and competitiveness in the world and deliver great benefits to Britons’ wellbeing and prosperity. It will only deliver these benefits if it is supported by domestic policies and Brexit negotiation priorities that align; on education, migration, collaboration and regulation.

CaSE has set out today it’s priorities for the new Government in six key policy areas. We will work with the new Government, in whatever form it takes, to ensure that the UK’s strength in science, and the Government’s investment, brings benefits across the UK.”

You can read all of CaSE’s election work, including our manifetso analysis and responses from party leaders to our election leader here.