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Academy responds to Autumn Budget and Spending Review

Responding to today’s Budget and Spending Review, the President of the Royal Academy of Engineering, Sir Jim McDonald FREng FRSE, said:

“Investing in innovation is investing in the future—this budget makes that a reality. The comprehensive package of investment for R&D announced today, from an increase in the core R&D budget to regional investment incentives, will grow our knowledge and innovation-led economy across the UK and give much needed confidence to businesses that the UK is a great place to invest in R&D. It is important that the interdependencies within the UK research and innovation system have been acknowledged as this is key to maximise the opportunity for us to become a science and technology superpower.

“I am particularly delighted to see the multi-year and increasing settlement for Innovate UK and emphasis on late-stage R&D that the engineering community has long called for. We hear time and again from entrepreneurs and businesses how much they value Innovate UK’s support. This much needed increase in funding will enable Innovate UK to realise its full potential and drive innovation in businesses around the country.

“We acknowledge that against a challenging fiscal context, the target date to reach £22 billion invested in R&D has been delayed. Nevertheless, the measures outlined by the Chancellor today will stimulate innovation for a better, faster and more resilient recovery, building a more sustainable and inclusive economy that works for everyone and supports the delivery of net zero.”

Commenting on the implications of the Budget announcement for the forthcoming COP26 summit, he added:

“This settlement restates the government’s ambition to deliver its Net Zero Strategy, published last week, and to decarbonise the UK by 2050. I was pleased to see the government set out a plan embracing a systems approach to net zero policymaking, which the Academy and the National Engineering Policy Centre have advocated for. This is an important step forward. There is much still to do, and with COP26 just a few days way, we must seize this critical moment for global society and agree concrete international action and collaboration to accelerate the energy transition and keep the goal of 1.5 degrees alive.

“The government’s ambitions for the UK to be a high-wage net-zero economy cannot be achieved however unless we create the right talent base and provide more people from all backgrounds with the right engineering and technical skills.”

In September the National Engineering Policy Centre set out a number of priorities it wished to see reflected in today’s Autumn Budget and Spending Review—Six engineering ambitions for the UK Spending Review.

Notes for Editors

1. The Royal Academy of Engineering is harnessing the power of engineering to build a sustainable society and an inclusive economy that works for everyone. In collaboration with our Fellows and partners, we’re growing talent and developing skills for the future, driving innovation and building global partnerships, and influencing policy and engaging the public. Together we’re working to tackle the greatest challenges of our age.

2. National Engineering Policy Centre We are a unified voice for 43 professional engineering organisations, representing 450,000 engineers, a partnership led by the Royal Academy of Engineering. We give policymakers a single route to advice from across the engineering profession. We inform and respond to policy issues of national importance, for the benefit of society

Media enquiries to: Pippa Cox at the Royal Academy of Engineering Tel. +44 207 766 0745; email: [email protected]

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