The Chancellor has missed an opportunity to propel long-term economic growth in today’s Budget. Technological advancement is rapidly transforming the world and the UK’s short-termism risks putting us on the backfoot, says the National Centre for Universities and Business (NCUB).

Dr Joe Marshall, Chief Executive of NCUB said: “In today’s Budget, the Chancellor rightly acknowledged that research, innovation and skills are central to leading the UK into a more optimistic, prosperous age. However, there were no bold, new announcements to truly shift the dial and drive growth through a more innovative, highly skilled economy. Previous commitments to grow public research funding and release more private sector investment are critical, but further intervention is needed to put university funding on a more sustainable footing. Only then will we build, grow and attract further private investment into the UK.”

Marshall continued: “Last week revealed that business research and development (R&D) investment in the UK dropped by 0.4% in real terms between 2021 and 2022. It is therefore clear that existing measures alone do not go far enough to realise the UK’s Science Superpower ambitions and for the nation to reap the rewards of more jobs, more innovative and productive industries, as well as greater prosperity, security and sustainability. The UK’s Science Superpower ambition is not an obscure or remote vision but represents the UK’s fundamental plan for growth intended to deliver a tangible, positive impact on peoples’ lives, and prepare for a radically different future in the fourth industrial revolution.”

Marshall concluded: “To unlock economic growth, it is vital that the Government sets an ambitious target and plan to raise private R&D investment. The Government must not forget their commitment to making the UK a Science Superpower. We need action now if we are to continue to build and secure a central role in the age of innovation.”