9th September 2015

Government urged to protect the UK science budget

Charities sign letter to the Chancellor George Osborne

Pound coinsThe Migraine Trust has joined almost 200 organisations in signing a cross life sciences letter to the Chancellor George Osborne.

The letter urges the government to cement the UK as a global leader in research and development.  The research community are calling on the government to confirm strong, predictable and sustained government funding for medical research, infrastructure and skills.

The letter argues that long-term public funding provides the foundation for the country’s world-leading multidisciplinary research base, delivers wide-ranging improvements to people’s health and wellbeing, underpins the development and retention of a highly skilled workforce, and drives economic growth and productivity.

The letter was sent to the Chancellor by Jeremy Farrar, Director of The Wellcome Trust, on Monday 7th September 2015 and was published along with an article in the Financial Times.  A full list of signatures is available on The Wellcome Trust website.

The Migraine Trust has also joined colleagues at the Association of Medical Research Charities (AMRC) in co-badging a response to the Science & Technology (Commons) Select Committee inquiry into the science budget, ahead of the Spending Review.  The deadline for submitting representations to the Spending Review 2015 closed on Friday 4 September; the Review is due to conclude on Wednesday 25 November.

In addition to the Financial Times article, the letter was featured on the BBC Radio 4 Today programme.


The Letter

Sirs,

The UK is a scientific superpower. Strong, predictable and long-term Government investment provides the foundation for this country’s outstanding, multidisciplinary research base. Diverse public funding is critical to maintain the UK’s world-leading position, and improve the health and wellbeing of the population. It drives economic growth and attracts a wealth of global corporations, investors and charities.

As representatives of almost 200 organisations from across the life sciences, we urge the Government to reinforce its commitment to science in the 2015 Spending Review and cement the UK as a global leader in research and development. Our investment and support depend upon it.

The UK pharmaceutical, biotechnology, medical technology and diagnostics sectors generate an estimated annual turnover of £56 billion, and employ 183,000 people, even more in supply chains. Venture capitalists and specialist investors back early-stage innovative companies as they grow and flourish. Medical research charities attract support from millions of individual donors, investing £1.3 billion a year and funding the salaries of over 12,000 researchers in universities and institutes. None of this would be possible without strong Government support.

Securing public funding for cross-disciplinary research will deliver benefits to patients, increase private sector confidence, and deliver productivity gains, not least through the development and retention of a highly skilled workforce. In recent years, Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne has made it clear that science is a personal priority. We ask the Government to deliver its vision for this area by protecting its essential investment.