Match rhetoric with delivery, chemistry chief says on eve of Budget

20 March 2012

The 2012 Budget should be an opportunity for the government to match its business growth rhetoric with delivery, according to the chief executive of the Royal Society of Chemistry.

Dr Robert Parker said an increase in the science budget - a path other countries are following as they strive for growth - makes economic sense.

He added: "Incentives for growth, such as capital allowances for enterprise zones, would be a welcome boost to SMEs as the UK economy continues to pull away from the recession. Industries reliant on chemistry enables the UK to generate 258 billion each year, or 21% of the nation's GDP. A sustained, broadly-based economic recovery depends on the UK's strengths in these areas. 

"Any inducements for SMEs to engage with the 21 new enterprise zones around the UK, announced in last year's budget, would be applauded by the RSC. If the government is serious about creating and helping companies to create products and export them around the world, they must provide the investment and incentive to do so starting from tomorrow."

Dr Parker said it is also vital there is adequate funding to cover education and research costs in science, as well as assisting the transfer from academic concept to industrial reality.

He added: "Overall, investment in R&D was 1.7% of UK GDP in 2009, which is well below levels of our international competitors: Germany (2.7%), US (2.8%) and Japan (3.3%). The funding landscape in the UK must be structured to ensure that it is both supportive in the long term of fundamental research and agile enough in the short term to capitalise upon scientific breakthroughs.

"It is time for the chancellor to match rhetoric with delivery. That is the only way the UK's employment figures will start to rise."

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