CBI: Government must prioritise innovation spending

Posted on 19 Oct 2015 by Callum Bentley

The CBI is pressing the Government to prioritise innovation and science funding in the forthcoming Comprehensive Spending Review (CSR).

Raising total research and development spending to 3% of GDP will help achieve this, buttressed by a dedicated and long-term industrial strategy. Both are growth-enhancing measures that contribute to increased productivity.

The CBI is calling on ministers to double the budget for Innovate UK after new research by the employers’ group revealed that the Government spends just 0.49% of GDP on R&D – the lowest among the G8 nations.

John Cridland, director general, CBI.
John Cridland, director general, CBI.

John Cridland, CBI director-general, commented: “Our research shows that innovation investment has never been more important, given its effect on enhancing productivity.

“While our economy is doing well, we must not be complacent, as we cannot afford to rest on our laurels while our peers pace ahead.

“Instead we need to build on our research excellence by fuelling the UK’s innovation ecosystem with investment, fresh ideas and skills.

“With the UK’s research and development spending the lowest among the G8, we are falling ever further behind our international competitors and must take action so that we lead from the front.”

More broadly, in its Autumn Statement submission to the Treasury, the CBI is calling on the Government to:

  • Set out a coherent framework so innovation boosts the capacity of the economy to produce more in the long term
  • Deliver a package on business rates reform that makes the regime, simpler, fairer and more competitive.
  • Fix the funding ladder for medium-sized businesses to ensure they can grow and contribute more to the economy
  • Ring-fence revenue from the apprenticeships levy and introduce an independent ‘Levy Board’ to set the rate based on sound economic evidence
  • Avoid further restrictions on skilled migration, which would harm the UK’s ability to attract investment and compete globally
  • Continue cross-government efforts to promote exports