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UK set to take centre stage in world science

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Business Secretary Andrea Leadsom welcomes a significant boost for UK science in the government’s Spending Round, committing to support investment in research and development.

  • Government affirms commitment to increase research and development (R&D) investment to at least 2.4% of GDP by 2027
  • Chancellor also confirms further funding to support action to tackle climate change and meet net zero emissions target
  • reaffirms existing cash to tackle unruly employers who fail to pay National Minimum and Living Wages

Business Secretary Andrea Leadsom has welcomed a significant boost for UK science in the government’s Spending Round, committing to significantly support investment in research and development (R&D).

In his Spending Round statement on Wednesday, Chancellor Sajid Javid confirmed the government’s ambition to achieve at least 2.4% of UK gross domestic product (GDP) by 2027.

The UK has long led the world in scientific breakthroughs, and this commitment will demonstrate that the UK will continue to hold its own on the global stage in research and innovations after Britain leaves the European Union.

In the autumn, the government will set out plans to significantly boost public R&D funding. This will enable us to support excellent research, and will build on achievements of recent years through our renowned universities and other institutions such as the Laboratory for Molecular Biology and The Alan Turing Institute, and back high-tech sectors which have the potential to boost our economy and benefit people across the country.

This also follows plans for a new fast-track visa process for highly-skilled scientists, encouraging the world’s brightest and best to choose the UK to study and work on the latest scientific innovations and breakthroughs.

In addition, Ms Leadsom welcomed an additional £30 million over the next year to support the UK’s world-leading efforts to tackle climate change, helping to meet the country’s legally binding target to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2050.

The UK was among the first countries to put this clear target into law – and recently doubled support to help developing countries reduce their greenhouse gas emissions through the UN Green Climate Fund. This new funding also comes on top of the £3 billion already being spent on low-carbon innovations.

Business Secretary Andrea Leadsom said:

“Leaving the European Union will offer the UK a wealth of opportunities, and the measures in the Spending Round will ensure we can make the most of them.

“From Rosalind Franklin to Alan Turing, our scientific heritage is second to none, and our renewed commitment to invest at least 2.4% of our GDP in research and development will ensure this continues long into the future. The additional £30 million for tackling climate change will also ensure we continue to lead the world in tackling this critical issue.

“And alongside investing in maintaining our global position in these fields, I’m proud that we’re also investing to improve people’s everyday lives and tackling head-on that small minority of firms that underpay their workers – ensuring that people get the pay they are entitled to.”

Read the full list of announcements

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