Spending pledge

July 8, 2005

You claim the Government is backtracking on its commitment to increase public spending on science ("Scientists fear broken pledge", June 24).

There is no truth in this. The Government set out its commitment in paragraphs 1.6-1.9 of the ten-year framework - to grow investment in the public science base at least in line with economic growth. As, I think, the scientific community recognises, few spending programmes enjoy such commitment.

The framework sets out the Government's ambition to see R&D spending rise from 1.9 per cent today to 2.5 per cent in 2014. This involves private and public funding rising by 5.7 per cent a year on average over a decade. But there was no commitment to back public funding at this level annually, in spite of a speculative story by The Times Higher .

David Sainsbury
Department of Trade and Industry.

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