This being Budget day, I couldn’t help but feel that the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Alastair Darling, must have woken this morning and felt some empathy with the dung beetle with whom he was sharing the news headlines.
Those who missed this particular item on the BBC will want to know that, after months of study, the dung beetle has attained fame for showing that it can pull a load 1,141 times its own body weight – the equivalent of an average person pulling six fully laden double decker buses. My my.
Whether the Chancellor has pulled off the same trick in terms of the economy we shall no doubt read in tomorrow’s newspapers.
I digress as usual; budget highlights on science and research that you might be interested in (and captured neatly by our Policy and Public Affairs Manager here) include the Chancellor:
….mentioning the UK’s world-class bioscience sector and that he is working with the business secretary to promote research, innovation and enterprise, invest in key national infrastructure and skills and provide financial support for small and medium enterprises.
….emphasising the value and success of cross-sector co-operation, singling out the success of the life sciences sector as employers of over 120,000 people in the UK.
….reiterating the need to tighten spending in universities – “universities must make efficiency savings while focusing their funds rigorously on quality teaching and research”
….and recognising the importance of developing key skills with the announcement of a one-off University Modernisation Fund of £270 million in 2010-11 to help universities identify efficiencies and create 20,000 more university places, largely in key subjects like science, technology, engineering and maths, starting in September this year.
He also mentioned the Hauser review, which will be published on 25 March 2010, and which, I quote: ‘has identified a strategic gap in commercialising this knowledge. It recommends that the Government should capitalise on the UK’s research strengths by providing focused investment in a new model for Technology and Innovation Centres. These centres aim to research, prove and develop technologies where the UK has world-leading expertise and which provide the greatest opportunity for future growth. The Government will take forward this recommendation and develop a strategy by the 2010 Pre-Budget Report that identifies key strategic technologies and outlines a 10 year vision for the UK.’
Charities will also have noted that the Gift Aid Review Group will be reporting with recommendations by the Autumn of 2010.
If you wish to see the main Budget headlines you can do so on BBC Online here.
My life is more about waiting for buses than carrying them. But I do share some of the aforementioned dung beetle’s pain in that they tend to come six at a time.