Science Funding in UK Spared In New Budget Projections

Perhaps foreshadowing America’s financial future, United Kingdom finance chief George Osborne today announced that funding for scientific research will remain flat at £4.6 billion (~$7 billion) for the length of the current parliament (until 2014).  Presented as part of the U.K.’s Comprehensive Spending Review that ultimately will cut expenditures by £81 billion (~$128 billion), the science budget was one of the few areas not to have its spending levels reduced: The average overall budget cut to government departments was 19 percent.

Describing scientific research as “vital to our future economic success,” Osborne insisted that, despite the need for spending and deficit reductions, the U.K. should “ruthlessly” prioritize areas of public spending that are “most likely to support economic growth.”

Though the budget projection ultimately will result in an approximate decrease of 10 percent in real spending power due to inflation, UK scientists were generally appreciative of the budget, having earlier forecast cuts of up to 30 percent.  Groups saw the budget as a reward for their recent vigorous lobbying efforts of Parliament, which included rallies and petitions on behalf of scientific research.

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