Engineering giants warn George Osborne not to cut R&D funding

Britain’s biggest engineering firms have issued an open letter to Chancellor George Osborne warning that any potential cuts to UK research and development in the Government’s next spending review could drive foreign investment elsewhere.

R&D funding engineering

Among the high profile firms who have supported the Royal Academy of Engineering’s open letter are the likes of Jaguar Land Rover, GKN and Weir Group. All of whom are calling for the Chancellor to continue support for the development of new UK innovations and products for the sake of the country’s continued economic expansion.

Doom-mongering reports of funding rethink

Some doom-mongering reports have suggested that the Government could be considering a major rethink into the way it funds research. At the moment Innovate UK (formerly the Technology Strategy Board) receives £600m a year of public funding and this filters though to industry via grants. However, ministers are could be about to scrap these in favour of loans.

Industry bosses claim that half of the UK’s productivity growth between 2000 and 2008 was due to inventing new products. They also suggest that every £1 of public investment in R&D spend, attracts £1.60 of private money – a return on investment akin to £6 for every £1 put in.

Clear strategies for promoting innovation needed

Public investment is a critical factor in this success and government has recognised this through welcome investment and support through financially stringent times,” the companies spell out in the letter.

“The UK has a strong track record in attracting inward investment into its research and innovation activities. However, many countries, including Germany, China, Singapore and South Korea have clear strategies for promoting innovation across priority areas.

The UK puts at risk its ability to attract private investment – from within the UK and overseas – if it does not adopt a long-term industrial approach which gives business and others the confidence to invest,

The Chancellor is due to outline the full extent of budget cuts over the next five years when he delivers his spending review on November 25.

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