Industry Responds to UK Government 2020 Budget

March 13, 2020
Pharmaceutical Technology Editors

On March 11, 2020, Chancellor Rishi Sunak delivered the 2020 Budget to the government of the United Kingdom, revealing the proposed spending and tax plans for the conservative government for the coming year.

On March 11, 2020, Chancellor Rishi Sunak delivered the 2020 Budget to the government of the United Kingdom, revealing the proposed spending and tax plans for the conservative government for the coming year.

Amid the main theme of COVID-19, preparative measures for which were confirmed by Sunak to take the form of a £30 billion (US$38 billion) package to support those affected, plans to invest in research and development were also unveiled. The plans set out by Sunak in the budget were to increase public R&D investment by £22 million (US$28 million) per year by 2024–2025. Additionally, to be able to achieve this ambitious increase in R&D investment, the government will also increase the rate of R&D tax credits for private sector investors, and will also consult on including data and cloud computing into the definition of qualifying expenditure.

“Given the difficult circumstances this Budget is delivered in, we’re pleased to see the chancellor’s commitment to science and research,” said Richard Torbett, chief executive of the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry, in a March 11, 2020 press release. “Increasing science investment and raising R&D tax credits are important steps to reaching the goal of 2.4% of GDP spent on research, and will be critical to the future success of our industry. We look forward to working with government on a shared ambition to attract global investment to the UK’s thriving life sciences sector.”

“We welcome the government’s commitment to ‘Invest in Ideas’ with the announcement of an extra £22 billion a year for R&D,” said Steve Bates OBE, CEO of the UK BioIndustry Association in a March 11, 2020 press release. “For our sector, the £200 million life sciences scale-up fund now becomes a reality. We will work with the government so they can realize their aim of securing £400 million worth of additional private sector funding … On COVID-19, we welcome the chancellors’ commitment to do whatever it takes. The UK biotech sector has come together to support the scale up and manufacture of emerging COVID-19 vaccines. Our capacity and expertise will work alongside the extra financial resources announced in today’s Budget to turn novel candidates, which emerge from research laboratories, into usable products.”

Sources: Gov.ukABPIBIA