UK biomedical organisations warn against research cuts 

Rishi Sunak presenting the UK budget

Ahead of the UK Government’s Autumn Statement on Thursday, leading biomedical research companies, charities and institutions have called for the Chancellor to place medical and health research at the heart of plans for growth. 

The letter has been signed by the Academy of Medical Sciences, Pfizer, Wellcome, the BioIndustry Association, and Cancer Research UK, amongst others. It states that “For the nation’s growth, security, stability and wellbeing, this Government must place medical and health research at the heart of its economic plans.” 

The letter emphasises the critical role played by biomedical and health research in recovering from the Covid-19 pandemic and its importance in addressing further threats to our health and economic security. It also calls for “internationally competitive R&D tax incentives that will leverage further private investment”. 

A world-leading hub for life sciences 

In 2021, in the document Saving and Improving Lives: The Future of UK Clinical Research Delivery the UK Government set out an ambition to create a world-leading UK clinical research environment that is more efficient, more effective and more resilient.  

The policy paper said: “A digitally enabled, pro-innovation and people-centred clinical research environment is key to realising our ambitions to make the UK a world-leading hub for life sciences that delivers improved health outcomes for our citizens and attracts investment from all over the world.” 

However, now with increasing fiscal pressures, it is feared that investment in medical research will take a back seat in economic planning.  

Vital for health and the economy

Professor Dame Anne Johnson, President of the Academy of Medical Sciences, said: “Medical and health research is one of the UK’s biggest assets and is vital for the health of the public and the nation’s economy.  

“It’s fuelled by an ecosystem of talented people, world-class universities, a thriving life sciences industry, patient-centred medical research charities and the unrivalled research potential of the NHS bringing health benefits to patients and the public. Moreover, it delivers economic returns to the country of 25p per pound investment, each year, forever. 

“Investment in research isn’t a tap you can turn on and off, and we cannot afford to be complacent. We therefore call on the Government to provide the stability needed to drive innovation, create high-skilled jobs in high-growth industries and improve the nation’s health.” 

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