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Policy and funding

Institute of Physics response to the 2019 Spending Round

4 September 2019

Commenting on the 2019 Spending Round, Professor Paul Hardaker, CEO of the Institute of Physics, said:

“Given the Government’s repeated statements on the importance of science and engineering to the economy, it is a little disappointing not to see more on this in today’s announcement. However, what was welcome was to see the commitment to Further Education which plays such a key role in the development of our apprentices and technicians.

“A one year Spending Round was never likely to provide the game-changing policies needed to unlock the UK’s science and innovation potential. Our hope is that when we hear more later this year, the government will have a clearer view of its roadmap to deliver on the 2.4% R&D target and an immigration system that is not just about points but also reflects the skills and competencies we need to remain a place for world-class science.”

Key points from today’s Spending Round announcement (4 September 2019):

  • An increase for the Scottish Government of £1.1 billion, 2.1% real terms growth.
  • An increase for the Welsh Government of £0.6 billion, 2.3% real terms growth.
  • An increase for the Northern Ireland Administration of £0.4 billion, 1.8% real terms growth.

The Government reaffirmed its commitment to “boost public R&D funding, provide greater long-term certainty to the scientific community, and accelerate its ambition to reach 2.4 per cent of GDP”. 

It announced an additional £30m to meet the UK’s net zero target with further detail to be provided in autumn’s National Infrastructure Strategy.  A further £83m was earmarked for Official Development Assistance (ODA) funding to help developing countries decarbonise, and £250 million will be committed to international climate and environment funds, including the Green Climate Fund to help developing countries prepare for the impacts of climate change. Defra is set to receive a £30 million increase in funding for air quality. 

£191 million was set out for Brexit-related activities, including the development of a UK Global Navigation Satellite System.

£250m was earmarked to help grow the role of artificial intelligence in healthcare. 

The schools budget will increase by £7.1bn by 2022-23 – rising by £2.6bn in 2020-21, £4.8bn in 2021-22 and £7.1bn in 2022-23.  The Chancellor announced that per pupil funding will rise in line with inflation (1.8%) in 2020-21. For schools already on their National Funding Formula allocation, the per pupil values in the formula will increase by at least 4% in nominal terms in 2020-21 and the minimum per pupil amount for 2020-21 will increase to £3,750 for primary schools and £5,000 for secondary schools.