back to article MPs would love to hear all about how plans to ratchet R&D spend to 3% of GDP

The House of Commons' Science and Technology Committee has called on UK government to publish its long-overdue plans for upping investment in research and development. In the 2017 "Industrial Strategy", the government committed to raise total R&D spend to 2.4 per cent of GDP by 2027, and to reach 3 per cent of GDP in the …

  1. BebopWeBop Silver badge

    No one has told them that the government's magic money tree is fiction and not even science fiction.

  2. John Robson Silver badge


    Intends to achieve this by ramping down the GDP, therefore every budget gets a raise...

    from the same group that brought us "everyone should be above average in maths"

  3. werdsmith Silver badge

    I would like to think that the R&D is an investment and it will yield results that will lead to revenue gain that will more than cover the cost of the R&D.

    I also take part in the national lottery.

    1. Any other name

      I would like to think that the R&D is an investment and it will yield results that will lead to revenue gain that will more than cover the cost of the R&D.

      Over several decades, and looking at the entire economy it often does. This is one of the reasons (but obviously not the only reason) why good many people on this forum enjoy the historically high standards of living: we happen to be reaping the benefits of the R&D spending boom of the second half of the 20th century. There are obviously counterexamples as well: countries have been known to sink enormous resources into R&D (e.g. weapons R&D - see e.g. the case of the late and mostly unlamented USSR) without any discernible benefit to the economy and its citizens.

      1. Cederic Silver badge

        Didn't the USSR defence budget focus primarily on volume rather than innovation, in accordance with their doctrine?

        They did design and create some very interesting and advanced hardware but primarily they were nicking the ideas from others; I'm not convinced they put terribly much investment into developing their own (relatively speaking).

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          ... but primarily they were nicking the ideas from others; I'm not convinced they put terribly much investment into developing their own ...

          This point of view certainly appears to be the canonical dogma in the West.

          I do not have any hard evidence to claim otherwise, but it does seem inconsistent with my personal, anecdotal experience. While I am a little too young to having experienced the full joy of the Soviet military-industrial complex, both my parents made their living designing aircraft and missile systems. From what they were willing to share about their work - which in retrospect wasn't as much as I would have liked to know now - their work was far from nicking somebody else's ideas and designs.

          Later, when I was about to graduate from the uni and started sniffing around for science-related work, most of what was on offer was connected to the defence research in one way or another. Whether that means anything or not I can't say.

    2. Filippo

      It does, but a lot of the potential yield is in pure research, and that's too hit-and-miss for the private sector; also, far too long-term. The public can afford to both diversify and wait for decades, though. Do that, and you're bound to hit a few gold mines that will more than make up for everything else. It's a shame that governments tend to think no further than the next eelction, but I honestly wouldn't know how to fix that.

      1. Roland6 Silver badge

        > It's a shame that governments tend to think no further than the next election, but I honestly wouldn't know how to fix that.

        Well going back a few decades, a UK government decided it was much better to get someone else, who wasn't subject to the vagaries of Westminster politics and emotive UK tabloid reporting, to oversee such funding. Naturally, if people complained the Westminster government could wring their hands and say "we have no control" we have to do what they tells us to do. And so the myth of losing our sovereignty to the EU bogeyman was born and fed...

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Foreign aid!

    I believe you'd at least get 0.7% GDP from Foreign Aid if you got rid of it... but then that's been set in UK law since 2015.

    I find it strange minimum spending on Infrastructure, Police and Health isn't set in law, rather than money you give away to other countries when you are already 2 trillion in debt....


    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Foreign aid!

      Yup should scrap the cap, it was political virtue signalling when it was done anyway.

    2. BebopWeBop Silver badge

      Re: Foreign aid!

      I suspect that in part it is designed to protect foreign aid budgets which are easy targets for a politician seeking some lection pleasing spending (unless they make up the money of course)

    3. Nick Kew Silver badge

      Re: Foreign aid!

      The key to the foreign aid slush fund becomes clearer when you spell it Foreign Influence.

  5. Tom 7 Silver badge

    Its quite simple

    Keep research funding where it is and massively reduce GDP. Brexit - the gift that keeps giving.

    1. phuzz Silver badge

      Re: Its quite simple

      By the end of the year a budget of £4.36 will be 5% of UK GDP.

      Or possibly it will be a budget of £5,000,000,000 but by then the pound will be worth less than loo-roll.

      1. Sgt_Oddball Silver badge

        Re: Its quite simple

        Bleh... I for one would not like to economise by replacing the loo roll with the new fivers after everything hits hyper inflation. Pretty sure it'd be worse than the old medicated shiny paper primary school used to inflict on me in its capability in just moving stuff around...

  6. juice Silver badge

    So what we're saying is...

    We need to commit to creating a plan to produce a date for the completion of a plan to complete a study on the feasibility of creating a timeline to action a review to pick a date...

    1. Chris G Silver badge

      Re: So what we're saying is...

      Yeah but, when do you plan to start committing?

      1. 's water music Silver badge

        Re: So what we're saying is...

        That would be an ecumenical matter

        1. Korev Silver badge

          Re: So what we're saying is...


    2. Roland6 Silver badge

      Re: So what we're saying is...

      Getting a littel ahead of yourself there, no point in committing to create a plan, if there is no funding for the creation of said plan...

      Aside: For a real world example of this I refer you to this article: and the comment from "Roger".

  7. Cuddles Silver badge

    How far overseas?

    "the rest coming from areas such as overseas investment"

    It's a good job none of that funding comes from the EU, otherwise it might be a problem keeping investment at the same level, let alone increasing it, post-brexit.

    1. Roland6 Silver badge

      Re: How far overseas?

      Well I'm sure some bright spark will be able to monetise the two year visa extension to overseas students and using Sir Humphrey logic, explain how that is both overseas aid and investment in R&D and so shift figures around to show the government really is investing more in R&D...

    2. Tom Paine Silver badge

      Re: How far overseas?

      €8.8 bn over five years, according to the Royal Society*:

      * a well-known nest of unelected traitors, fifth columnists and marxists, oh yes

  8. Zog_but_not_the_first Silver badge


    Just lie.

    It's the new normal.

    1. Nick Kew Silver badge

      Re: Easy!

      You may jest, but I came here to post the time-honoured formula for increasing R&D spending.

      Namely, re-classify what qualifies as R&D investment.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Simple way to generate lots of money at Westminster

    All politicians, regardless of political affiliation or Europhile/Europhobe tendencies, promised to abide by the result of the Leave/Remain Referendum - and all said so in the last General Election.

    Any who are now blocking us leaving are therefore guilty of (electoral) fraud so ineligible to stand for election as, or to be, Members of Parliament.

    Once you remove their salaries and expenses from the budget, there will be lots of money to go around.

    On a related note, the Scots don't exactly have a good history when it comes to respecting English laws so is anyone at all surprised that they find the shutting of the *UK* Parliament to be "illegal"? Last I checked, Scottish law was supposed to be limited to Scotland - but at least it proves just how far the two-faced lying oxygen-wasters in Westminster are prepared to go to pi** on the electorate; about 400 miles.

    Brussels must be breathing a sigh of relief that their lapdogs in Edinburgh answered their calls for help in trying to screw us over again.

    1. 's water music Silver badge

      Re: Simple way to generate lots of money at Westminster

      Welp, whilst that might be an effective, if splatter gun, troll in many places today you really need to focus on feminism (or addressing any structural discrimination really) to farm downvotes and troll the commentards round here. Strong opinions on Linux distros might also hit the spot

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Simple way to generate lots of money at Westminster

        Not a Troll, I am serious. There is something in the rules that says politicians are supposed to be truthful, honest people and they did all support the writing into law the minor inconvenience about we would have to leave the EU 2 years after the Referendum.

        Why "inconvenience"? Because it was written into law that we WOULD leave 2 years after Article 50 was invoked - no ifs, no buts, the (UK) Law now says we WILL leave. Except, of course, we didn't. There is also something about it being a "one-time only vote" but again that seems to be non-applicable since we had the temerity to vote Leave.

        And now we have Scotland - or their legal system - trying to dictate how the whole UK should be run. Not only is Scottish law different to English law, but they are also being highly selective over which parts they will support - and we're back to that minor inconvenience again. Either they support ALL English laws (in which case they are no longer necessary as they wouldn't have a separate legal system) or they should stop interfering.

        The almost laughable thing about it - if it wasn't so f***ing annoying - is the way MPs have redefined 'Democracy'. "Boris can't close Parliament! That's undemocratic!" they cry (ignoring the fact that they are ignoring the majority in the biggest vote for years - who voted Leave). So Boris says "If you think I'm being undemocratic, let's allow the people to decide if I am - we'll have an Election." But instead of jumping at the chance to show how much they truly value democracy they say no.

        Or maybe that DOES demonstrate perfectly their attitude to Democracy.

        And if the Scottish courts had decided to keep out of it then what would the MPs have done? Only one course of action would have been open to them - appeal to the European Court in Brussels. Scotland is hardly a disinterested party in all of this but nobody - well, nobody who voted Remain - seems to care about this. Imagine how much more obvious their contempt for the voters would be if they'd had to go to Brussels to get the answer they wanted!

  10. J.G.Harston Silver badge

    They should be investigating plans, not plans. We're not part of the USA.

    1. Sulky

      We're not part of the USA.


    2. Roland6 Silver badge

      >They should be investigating plans, not plans.


      The USA spent $553 billion on R&D in 2018.

      The total UK GDP was $2,828 billion

      Thus 553/2828*100 = 19.55%

      Try this the other way round: 42/20,513*100 = 0.2%

      I conclude they were looking at the correct figures...

  11. batfink Silver badge

    I've committed to a Roadmap

    I've committed to a Roadmap to increase my income to £2Bn within the next two years.

    Of course I have no fucking idea about how this might be possible, but I've committed to the Roadmap. That's the important thing.

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