To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on levels of private sector research and development; and whether that effect will impact on the Government's 2.4 per cent research and development spending target.
15 March 2021
The Government is monitoring the impact of COVID-19 on private sector research and development through surveys - such as the Enterprise Research Centre’s work on the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on the status of Innovate UK award holders, published at https://www.enterpriseresearch.ac.uk/publications/assessing-the-impact-of-covid-19-on-innovate-uk-award-holders-survey-and-case-study-evidence-wave-2-october-november-2020/ .
Office for National Statistics data on R&D performed in UK Businesses in 2020 is planned for release toward the end of 2021. This will help us to assess the effect of the pandemic on R&D investment levels.
We remain committed to increasing UK investment in R&D to 2.4% of GDP by 2027. The Government set out plans at Spending Review to invest £14.6 billion in R&D in 2021/22.
Leveraging investment from the private sector will be vital to reach the 2.4% target and achieve our ambitions for innovation. The Government has already set out at Budget a range of measures to boost private investment in research and development, including a review of R&D tax reliefs, supported by a consultation with stakeholders, and £375 million to introduce Future Fund: Breakthrough, a new direct co-investment product to support the scale up of the most innovative, R&D-intensive businesses. These developments will complement our existing incentives for private R&D investment.
As set out in ‘Building Back Better: our Plan for Growth’, we are developing an Innovation Strategy, which will be published in the summer. The Strategy will consider how we can boost innovation across the UK economy to increase productivity and tackle our biggest social and economic challenges.