Science spending in perspective

In October, the Guardian published an interactive guide to 2010-2011 public spending by UK government department. Their analysis showed that the £5.9 billion devoted to science constituted only 0.85% of the £691.7 billion spent in total.

Although the Guardian’s definition of ‘science spending’ was slightly different to the ‘research base funding’ figure used in recent CaSE reports, the resulting £300m difference  between the two figures is tiny relative to the overall sums in this comparison.

The graphs below use the Guardian’s data to directly compare 2010-2011 support for science and engineering with other selected areas of public spending. Percentage change from 2009-2010, accounting for inflation, is provided in brackets.

Science and engineering are critical for the UK’s economy and society, so we were interested to see what the spending support would look like when we put it in a broader perspective – especially when we’re currently seeing cuts to research investment…

*This figure was taken from July’s National Audit Office report on UK financial stability interventions. It can be broken down into £123.9bn of net cash injections and loans advanced since 2007, and £332.4bn of guaranteed provisions in the event of further hard times. Know of a more appropriate figure we should be using? Leave a comment.



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