Monday, 16 July 2007

Government responds to UK Science Funding petition

8,623 people signed the petition to the UK Government on the £68 million funding reduction to science. The Government has just published a response. After some phrases indicating that the science budget continues to rise, the key paragraph is:
"The Department of Trade and Industry had been facing a number of new and historic budgetary pressures which required action to keep within its budgets. Non-ring-fenced budgets had been reduced as far as possible, so the Department then had to consider its ringfenced budgets, including the Science Budget. It was decided to use part of the underspends in the Science budget that had been accumulated in previous years. This decision did not affect either the 2006-07 budget allocations, or the 2007-08 budget allocations , nor did it affect the commitments set out in the 10 Year Science and Investment Framework."
I suppose accumulated underspends might be in neither the 2006-07 budget nor in the 2007-08 budget, but the impact of the reduction has definitely been felt in the 2007-08 year!

The original petition asked the Government to "revise research funding via the DTI", or alternatively "I wish the Government to review its recent decision outlined [in the text]...". I guess that's a NO to the first but perhaps a yes to the second (a review doesn't necessarily mean a change).


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