Budget sees tech and innovation spending

Written by Peter Walker
11/03/20

The new chancellor has unveiled a range of new funding initiatives for technological and innovative businesses in the UK.

In his maiden Budget speech, Rishi Sunak announced that overall research and development investment would rise to £22 billion annually by 2024/25.

As part of his ‘levelling up’ plans to distribute money more evenly across the country, £5 billion was pledged to get superfast broadband into rural areas, along with £510 million for a shared rural mobile phone network.

The Science Institute in Weybridge, Surrey is set to get a £1.4 billion funding boost, with a an extra £900 million for research into nuclear fusion, space and electric vehicles.

Sunak said at least £800 million will be invested in a new ‘blue sky’ research agency, modelled on the US Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA) – an obsession of Dominic Cummings, the prime minister’s chief adviser.

On the environmental front, carbon capture and storage (CCS) “is exactly the sort of technology where the UK should be excelling”, with £800 million to be spent to establish two or more CCS clusters by 2030.

The government will also increase the roll-out of rapid charging hubs, so that drivers are never more than 30 miles away from one.

However, the lifetime limit for Entrepreneurs' Relief is set to be reduced from £10 million to £1 million – saving taxpayers' £6 billion. Elsewhere though, there was £130 million of new funding promised to extend startup loans and £5 billion of new export loans for businesses.

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